U.S. BANK NATIONAL v. HAMILTON
OPINION AND ORDER : Defendant's application to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED; This action is REMANDED to the Superior Court of New Jersey, EssexCounty; The Clerk of the Court mail a copy of the Opinion and Order to Defendant by regular mail and by certified mail return receipt, etc. Signed by Judge John Michael Vazquez on 04/12/2018. (ek)
Not for Publication
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
U.S. BANK NATIONAL,
Civil Action No. 18-5218 (JMV)(MF)
OPINION & ORDER
John Michael Vazguez, U.S.D.J.
Defendant Henry Hamilton seeks to bring this removal action informa pauperis pursuant
to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915. D.E. 1. for the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s
application to proceed informapatiperis but the underlying action is REMANDED to the Superior
Court of New Jersey, Essex County because Defendant has failed to show a proper basis for
removal to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
§ 1915, this Court may excuse a litigant from prepayment of fees when the litigant
“establish[es] that he is unable to pay the costs of his suit.” Walker v. People Express Airlines,
Inc., 886 f.2d 598, 601 (3d Cir. 1989). Defendant sufficiently establishes his inability to pay, and
the Court grants his application to proceed informapauperis without prepayment of fees and costs.
However, when allowing a litigant to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court must review
the application and dismiss the action if it determines that the action is frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant
who is immune. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2). When considering dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)
for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted, the Court must apply the same standard
of review as that for dismissing a complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Schreane v. Seana, 506 Fed. App’x 120, 122 (3d Cir. 2012). Because Defendant is proceeding
pro se, the Court construes the pleadings liberally and holds them to a less stringent standard than
those filed by attorneys. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). “The Court need not,
however, credit a pro se [litigant’s] ‘bald assertions’ or ‘legal conclusions.” D ‘Agostino v.
CECOMRDEC, No. 10-4558, 2010 WL 3719623, at *1 (D.N.J. Sept. 10, 2010).
Here, instead of a plaintiff having brought a complaint that must be screened under the
Rule 1 2(b)(6) standard, Defendant is instead seeking to remove a state court action to the United
States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Thus, the Court will perform the requisite
jurisdictional analysis it would under the motion to dismiss standard. “[T]he party asserting
jurisdiction must satisfy the ‘well-pleaded complaint rule,’ which mandates that the grounds for
jurisdiction be clear on the face of the pleading that initiates the case.” Goldman v. Citigroup
Global Markets Inc., 834 F.3d 242, 249 (3d Cir. 2016) (citing franchise Tax 3d. OfState of Cal.
v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Tr. for S. CaL, 463 U.S. 1, 9-11 (1983). “In short, ‘a well-pleaded
complaint establishes either that federal law creates the cause of action or that the plaintiffs right
to relief necessarily depends on resolution of a substantial question of federal law.” Id. (internal
citations omitted). Here, the original Complaint concerns Defendant’s eviction, and does not raise
a federal question.
This would ordinarily end the analysis, but the Court will also address
Defendant’s argument, as he is proceedingpro se.
“federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction over a case if it satisfies federal question
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331, or diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.” Hines v.
Irvington Counseling Ctr., 933 F. $upp. 382, 387 (D.N.J. 1996). Pursuant to 2$ U.S.C.
“[t]he district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” To establish diversity jurisdiction pursuant to
§ 1332(a), “the party asserting jurisdiction must show that there is complete diversity of
citizenship among the parties” as well as an amount in controversy exceeding the statutory
threshold. Schneller ex rel Schneller v. Crozer Chester Med. Ctr., 387 Fed. App’x 289, 292 (3d
Cir. 2010). Complete diversity is lacking if a plaintiff and any defendant are citizens of the same
state. Id. Further, a plaintiff must “specifically allege each party’s citizenship,” and the Court
may dismiss a complaint for lack ofjurisdiction “where the plaintiff fails to allege sufficient facts
for the court to evaluate whether diversity of citizenship exists.” Phillip v. Ati. City Med. Ctr., 861
F. Supp. 2d 459, 467 (D.N.J. Mar. 20, 2012).
Defendant appears to allege both federal subject matter and diversity jurisdiction. He
claims violations of the federal and state constitutions. D.E. 1 at 4. To allege a violation of the
federal constitution, a litigant may bring his claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983. 42 U.S.C.
provides in relevant part:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation,
custom, or usage, of any State or Territory
subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the
jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or
immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party
injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
Section 1983 does not provide substantive rights; rather, it provides a vehicle for vindicating
violations of other federal rights. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989). In order to
state a valid claim for relief under
§ 1983, a litigant must first allege a violation of a right secured
by the Constitution or laws of the United States and, second, must contend that the violation was
caused or committed by a person acting under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
(1988). However, Defendant has failed to allege what right has been violated or any state actor
who has violated that right. Plaintiff is a private corporation, and any actions taken against
Defendant would not implicate § 1983. As for diversity jurisdiction, Plaintiff is a citizen of both
Ohio and New Jersey. D.E. 1 at 3. Defendant is a citizen of New Jersey. Id. Because both parties
are citizens of New Jersey, there is not complete diversity of citizenship.
This is the third lawsuit Defendant and related parties have attempted to file in this District
that pertains to the underlying eviction. See Henry Hamilton v. US. Bank National, et at. (2:17cv-12303); US. Bank National v. Hill, et at (2:17-cv-12639). Should Defendant continue to file
applications seeking essentially the same relief, the Court will continue to dismiss and/or remand
them, and may bar Defendant from further filings in this District.
Accordingly, and for good cause shown,
IT IS on thisday of April, 2018,
ORDERED that Defendant’s application to proceed informapauperis is GRANTED;
and it is further
ORDERED that this action is REMANDED to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex
County; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court mail a copy of the Opinion and Order to
Defendant by regular mail and by certified mail return receipt.
John Michael VazqueU.S.D.J.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?