MATTHEWS v. PRINCETON HOUSE (P.H.C.S.) et al
OPINION filed. Signed by Judge Brian R. Martinotti on 4/27/2017. (mmh)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
DAVID S. MATTHEWS,
: Civ. Action No.: 16-9535-BRM-DEA
MARTINOTTI, DISTRICT JUDGE
Before this Court is Plaintiff David S. Matthews’s (“Plaintiff”) Complaint asserting “very
sensitive records were sent to [Plaintiff’s] mothers [sic] business (A Creative Touch)” without
Plaintiff’s release. Because Plaintiff has been granted in forma pauperis status (ECF No. 3), this
Court is required to sua sponte screen Plaintiff’s Complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A. Additionally, the Court has an independent obligation to raise
subject-matter jurisdiction concerns. See Nesbit v. Gears Unlimited, Inc., 347 F.3d 72, 77 (3d Cir.
2003). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff’s Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice.
“Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only that power authorized
by Constitution and statute.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994).
Consequently, federal courts have an “independent obligation to satisfy themselves of jurisdiction
if it is in doubt.” Nesbit, 347 F.3d at 77. In such circumstances, courts can sua sponte raise subjectmatter jurisdiction concerns, and may dismiss the case if not satisfied that jurisdiction is proper.
Id. “The party asserting jurisdiction bears the burden of showing that at all stages of the litigation
the case is properly before the federal court.” Samuel-Bassett v. KIA Motors America, Inc., 357
F.3d 392, 396 (3d Cir. 2004). Original subject-matter jurisdiction is established by meeting the
requirements of either diversity of citizenship, coupled with satisfying the requisite amount in
controversy, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332; or by pleading a violation of a federal statute, the
United States Constitution, or federal law, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
In this case, Plaintiff’s Complaint does not expressly plead a basis for federal subjectmatter jurisdiction. (ECF. No. 1 at 2-4.) Plaintiff alleges “very sensitive records were sent to
[Plaintiff’s] mothers [sic] business (A Creative Touch)” without his release. (ECF No. 1 at 3.) It is
unclear on the face of the Complaint whether that claim arises under a federal statute, federal law,
or the United States Constitution. Furthermore, there is no diversity of citizenship among the
parties, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, because, according to the pleadings, all parties are citizens
of the state of New Jersey. Accordingly, Plaintiff does not allege a basis for federal subject-matter
jurisdiction, and his Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice. Plaintiff may amend his
complaint as set forth in the accompanying order.
Date: April 27, 2017
/s/ Brian R. Martinotti___________
HON. BRIAN R. MARTINOTTI
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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