Lafayette v. State of Nevada et al
ORDER. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that 15 , 18 , 21 , 22 the defendants' motions to dismiss are GRANTED with leave to amend. If Lafayette can file an amended complaint curing the jurisdictional defects in his original complaint, he must file that amended complaint by 5/8/2017. If he fails to do so, the case will be closed. Signed by Judge Andrew P. Gordon on 4/24/17. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - MR)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEVADA
STATE OF NEVADA et al.,
Case No. 2:16-cv-02935-APG-VCF
ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO
(ECF Nos. 15, 18, 21, 22)
Plaintiff Robert Lafayette brings this case for “trespass” and “trespass on the case”
against the defendants, contesting a home foreclosure carried out in 2015. Although the exact
grievance is mostly inscrutable, it fits most closely with a claim for wrongful foreclosure, and
possibly also a claim for intentional or negligent misrepresentation. The defendants move to
dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Because the complaint presents no
federal question and the parties are not completely diverse, I lack jurisdiction over the matter and
therefore grant the defendants’ motions to dismiss.
United States district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life
Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). The Court has original jurisdiction over cases
“arising under the Constitution, treaties or laws of the United States,” or when the amount in
controversy exceeds the sum of $75,000 and the citizenship of each plaintiff is different from
that of each defendant. 28 U.S.C. § 1331; 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a); see also Caterpillar Inc. v. Lewis,
519 U.S. 61, 68 (1996) (“complete diversity of citizenship” is required). The party asserting that
this Court has jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing it. See Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377.
The complaint appears to assert claims for wrongful foreclosure and misrepresentation
(each of the seven causes of action is entitled “trespass on the case,” but the claims do not
present seven coherent, distinct causes of action). These claims do not arise under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. Section 1331 therefore does not provide
subject matter jurisdiction because a federal question is not presented on the face of the
plaintiff’s complaint. See Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987).
Lafayette describes himself as a “sovereign citizen,” but asserts he is “a people of
Nevada,” which I understand to mean he is a citizen of Nevada for purposes of diversity
jurisdiction analysis. One basis on which the defendants move to dismiss the complaint is that
complete diversity is destroyed by defendants Clark County and the State of Nevada. See Nevada
ex rel. Colorado River Comm’n of Nevada v. Pioneer Cos., Inc., 245 F. Supp. 2d 1120, 1129 (D.
Nev. 2003) (quoting Missouri Water Users’ Ass’n v. Montana Power Co., 139 F.2d 998, 999
(9th Cir.1944) (“Absent a federal question, the district courts are not possessed of jurisdiction of
suits by or against a state.”)). Lafayette offers no response in rebuttal. He therefore has not met
his burden of establishing that subject matter jurisdiction exists in this Court. He may pursue his
claims in state court but not in federal court as he has presented them in his complaint.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the defendants’ motions to dismiss (ECF Nos. 15,
18, 21, 22) are GRANTED with leave to amend. If Lafayette can file an amended complaint
curing the jurisdictional defects in his original complaint, he must file that amended complaint by
May 8, 2017. If he fails to do so, the case will be closed.
DATED this 24th day of April, 2017.
ANDREW P. GORDON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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