Smith v. Serengeti
Judge Richard G. Stearns: ORDER entered. MEMORANDUM AND ORDER. This action is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. [Copy of order mailed to plaintiff on 9/26/2017.] (PSSA, 3)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
CIVIL ACTION NO. 17-11832-RGS
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
September 26, 2017
For the reasons stated below, the court dismisses this action without
prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
On September 9, 2017, Charmane Smith filed an “Application for
Injunction” against Serengeti, a retailer. According to the filing, Ms. Smith
resides in Tennessee and Serengeti is located in Massachusetts.
Ms. Smith represents that in June and July 2017, Serengeti
mishandled an order that she placed for a dress. She claims that as a result
of Serengeti’s errors, she was overcharged for her original purchase, was
wrongfully charged for a second dress, and incurred $140.00 in insufficient
funds fees from her bank.
She asks for a refund of $108.88 for her
purchases, reimbursement for the $140.00 in insufficient funds fees, a
$100.00 gift card, postage to return the dresses, and reimbursement of all
court costs and litigation expenses.
Ms. Smith does not specify her cause of action or identify the basis of
the court’s jurisdiction. She did not pay the filing fee. Per her request, the
Clerk has sent her an Application to Proceed in District Court without
Prepayment of Fees and Costs.
“Federal courts, as courts of limited jurisdiction, may not presume
the existence of subject matter jurisdiction, but rather, must appraise their
own authority to hear and determine particular cases.” Calderon-Serra v.
Wilmington Trust Co., 715, F.3d 14, 17 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Cusumano
v. Microsoft Corp., 162 F.3d 708, 712 (1st Cir. 1998)).
“If the court
determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court
must dismiss the action.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3).
Upon review of the Ms. Smith’s application for an injunction, which
the court will treat as a complaint, the court concludes that it does not have
subject matter jurisdiction over this case.
Federal district courts may
exercise jurisdiction over civil actions arising under federal laws, see 28
U.S.C. § 1331 (“§ 1331”), and over certain actions in which the parties are of
diverse citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, see 28
U.S.C. § 1332 (“§ 1332”). “For purposes of diversity, a person is a citizen of
the state in which he is domiciled.” Padilla-Mangual v. Pavia Hosp., 516
F.3d 29, 31 (1st Cir. 2008).
Here, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action.
Ms. Smith does not identify, nor can the court discern, a claim arising
under federal law. Thus, jurisdiction does not exist under § 1331.
Similarly, § 1332 does not provide a basis for subject matter
jurisdiction. While the parties may be of diverse citizenship, the amount in
controversy must exceed $75,000 for diversity subject matter jurisdiction
to exist. Here, Ms. Smith seeks $348.88 in damages, postage to mail back
the dresses, and the costs of this litigation. Her prayer for relief indicates
that the amount in controversy is well beneath the $75,000 threshold.
In the absence of subject matter jurisdiction over this case, this
court—a federal court—must dismiss the action.
However, any such
dismissal would not prevent Ms. Smith from pursuing her claim in the
appropriate state court.
Accordingly, this action is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
/s/ Richard G. Stearns
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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