Yah et al v. Midland Properties, LLC
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that: Plaintiff will have 30 days from the date of this Memorandum and Order to amend his Complaint to set forth a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction. Failure t o file an amended complaint in accordance with this Memorandum and Order will result in dismissal of this matter without further notice to Plaintiff. The court reserves the right to conduct further review of Plaintiff's claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) after Plaintiff addresses the matters set forth in his Memorandum and Order. The Clerk of the court is directed to set a pro se case management deadline in this matter with the following text: July 24, 2014: deadline for Plaintiff to amend. Plaintiff must keep the court informed of his current address at all times while this case is pending. Failure to do so may result in dismissal of this matter without further notice. Ordered by Judge Joseph F. Bataillon. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(TCL )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
M, A, YAH,
MIDLAND PROPERTIES, LLC,
Plaintiff M, A, Yah (“Plaintiff”) filed his Complaint in this matter on February
3, 2014. (Filing No. 1.) The court has given Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. (Filing No. 5.) The court now conducts an initial review of Plaintiff’s
Complaint to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. §
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
Plaintiff filed his Complaint against Midland Properties, LLC. Plaintiff
generally alleges that he and Defendant are involved in a dispute over rent monies
owed to Defendant. These disputes have been the subject of state court proceedings.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant’s owner, Jerry Morgan, has attempted to “extort”
Plaintiff out of rent money, he has breached a “lease/contract” between them, and he
has disturbed Plaintiff’s peace. Plaintiff alleges that he is “entitled to justice by
having these issues heard in Federal Court.” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 3.)
APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW
The court is required to review in forma pauperis complaints to determine
whether summary dismissal is appropriate. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The court must
dismiss a complaint or any portion thereof that states a frivolous or malicious claim,
that fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Pro se plaintiffs must set forth enough factual allegations to “nudge their
claims across the line from conceivable to plausible,” or “their complaint must be
dismissed” for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for
the misconduct alleged.”). Regardless of whether a plaintiff is represented or is
appearing pro se, the plaintiff’s complaint must allege specific facts sufficient to state
a claim. See Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985). However, a pro
se plaintiff’s allegations must be construed liberally. Burke v. North Dakota Dep’t of
Corr. & Rehab., 294 F.3d 1043, 1043-44 (8th Cir. 2002) (citation omitted). Pro se
litigants must comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Burgs v. Sissel,
745 F.2d 526, 528 (8th Cir. 1984) (“[P]ro se litigants are not excused from failing to
comply with substantive and procedural law.”).
Liberally construed, Plaintiff here alleges federal constitutional claims. To state
a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a Plaintiff must allege a violation of rights protected
by the United States Constitution or created by federal statute and also must show that
the alleged deprivation was caused by conduct of person acting under color of state
law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Buckley v. Barlow, 997 F.2d 494, 495 (8th
DISCUSSION OF CLAIMS
In evaluating Plaintiff’s claims, the court must determine whether subject-matter
jurisdiction is proper. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3) (“If the court determines at any time
that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”)
Furthermore, the plaintiff must sufficiently state a claim for relief that contains, “a short
and plain statement of the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction, unless the court has
jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(1).
Here, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant has “violated his Rights under the Constitution
of the United States.” (See Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 1.) However, as discussed
below, the court cannot determine whether jurisdiction is proper based on the
information set forth in the Complaint.
Diversity of Citizenship Jurisdiction
Subject-matter jurisdiction may be proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332,
commonly referred to as “diversity of citizenship” jurisdiction. For purposes of 28
U.S.C. § 1332, “diversity of citizenship” means that “the citizenship of each plaintiff
is different from the citizenship of each defendant.” Ryan v. Schneider Nat’l Carriers,
Inc., 263 F.3d 816, 819 (8th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted). In addition, the amount in
controversy must be greater than $75,000.00 for diversity of citizenship jurisdiction.
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
Here, Plaintiff has provided a Nebraska address for himself and a Nebraska
address for Defendant. Thus, the citizens are not diverse, and subject-matter
jurisdiction is not proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Federal Question Jurisdiction
Subject-matter jurisdiction is also proper where a plaintiff asserts “[a] nonfrivolous claim of a right or remedy under a federal statute,” commonly referred to as
“federal question” jurisdiction. Northwest South Dakota Prod. Credit Ass’n v. Smith,
784 F.2d 323, 325 (8th Cir. 1986). The mere suggestion of a federal question is not
sufficient to establish the jurisdiction of federal courts, rather, the federal court’s
jurisdiction must affirmatively appear clearly and distinctly. Bilal v. Kaplan, 904 F.2d
14, 15 (8th Cir. 1990). Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation
of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States and must show that
the deprivation of that right was committed by a person acting under color of state law.
West, 487 U.S. at 48. Courts have held that a private party’s actions can be considered
state action, or actions under color of state law, if the private party is a willful
participant in joint activity with the State to deny constitutional rights. See Magee v.
Tr. of Hamline Univ, Minn., 747 F.3d 532, 536 (8th Cir. 2014).
Here, Plaintiff does not set forth any allegation that could be liberally construed
to violate any federal statute. While Plaintiff asserts a claim that Defendant has
violated his civil rights, the Complaint lacks any indication that Defendant is a state
actor. Moreover, even construing the Complaint liberally, it simply does not contain
allegations reasonably suggesting he might have a valid discrimination claim under one
of the Fair Housing Laws.1 See Wiles v. Capitol Indem. Corp., 280 F.3d 868, 870 (8th
Cir. 2002) (reiterating a district court may ignore unwarranted inferences and sweeping
legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations). Accordingly, Plaintiff’s
allegations do not establish that federal-question jurisdiction exists in this matter.
However, on the court’s own motion, Plaintiff will have 30 days from the date of this
Memorandum and Order to file an amended complaint that sets forth the grounds for
this court’s jurisdiction.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
Plaintiff will have 30 days from the date of this Memorandum and Order
to amend his Complaint to set forth a short and plain statement of the grounds for the
court’s jurisdiction. Failure to file an amended complaint in accordance with this
E.g., The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the terms, conditions, or privileges
of rental of a dwelling based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin or handicap.
42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(b) and (f).
Memorandum and Order will result in dismissal of this matter without further notice
The court reserves the right to conduct further review of Plaintiff’s
claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) after Plaintiff addresses the matters set
forth in his Memorandum and Order.
The Clerk of the court is directed to set a pro se case management
deadline in this matter with the following text: July 24, 2014: deadline for Plaintiff
Plaintiff must keep the court informed of his current address at all times
while this case is pending. Failure to do so may result in dismissal of this matter
without further notice.
DATED this 2nd day of June, 2014.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Joseph F. Bataillon
United States District Judge
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