McCoy v. Transport International Pool, Inc.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: The Court grants plaintiff's 2 request to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), solely for the purpose of this Order, and directs plaintiff to submit an amended complaint within 30 days of the date of this Order that properly sets forth her claim and a basis for this Court's jurisdiction. No summons shall issue at this time and all further proceedings shall be stayed for 30 days. If plaintiff fails to amend his compl aint within 30 days as directed by this Order, the Court shall dismiss this complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and judgment shall enter. If submitted, the amended complaint will be reviewed for compliance with this Order and for suf ficiency under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court certifies pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (a)(3) that any appeal from this Order would not be taken in good faith and therefore in forma pauperis status is denied for purpose of an appeal. SO ORDERED by Senior Judge Allyne R. Ross, on 2/28/2012. C/mailed by Chambers. (Latka-Mucha, Wieslawa)
IN CLERK'S OFFICE
U.S. DISTRICT COURT E.D. . . ___
* FEB 2 '8 2012 *
" UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
, EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
NOT FOR PRINT OR
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
-againstTRANSPORT INTERN ATIONAL POOL, INC.,
ROSS, United States District Judge:
On January 18, 2012, plaintiff, appearing pro se, brought this action alleging breach of a
contract by defendant. The Court grants plaintiffs request to proceed informa pauperis pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), solely for the purpose of this order, and directs plaintiff to submit an
amended complaint within thirty (30) days of the date of this order that properly sets forth her
claim and a basis for this Court's jurisdiction.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(2)(B), a district court shall dismiss an in forma pauperis
action where it is satisfied that the action is "(1) frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune
from such relief." However, a court must construe a pro se litigant's pleadings liberally, see
Chavis v. Chappius, 618 F.3d 162, 171 (2d Cir. 2010), especially when those pleadings allege
civil rights violations. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,94 (2007); Sealed Plaintiffv. Sealed
Defendant #1,537 F.3d 185, 191-93 (2d Cir. 2008). A pro se complaint should not be dismissed
without granting a pro se plaintiffleave to amend "at least once when a liberal reading of the
complaint gives any indication that a valid claim might be stated." Gomez v. USAA Fed. Sav.
Bank, 171 F.3d 794, 795 (2d Cir. 1999) (per curiam).
Although courts must read pro se complaints with "special solicitude" and interpret them
to raise the "strongest arguments that they suggest," Triestman v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 470
F.3d 471,474-76 (2d Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks omitted), a complaint must plead
enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, -
U.S. - , 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citation
omitted). While "detailed factual allegations" are not required, "[a] pleading that offers 'labels
and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements ofa cause of action will not do.'" Id.
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Similarly, a complaint is insufficient to state a claim "ifit
tenders 'naked assertion[ s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 557).
McCoy must establish that the court has subject matter jurisdiction over the action. See,
e.g., Rene v. Citibank NA, 32 F. Supp. 2d 539,541-42 (E.D.N.Y. 1999) (dismissing pro se
complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction). The subject matter jurisdiction of the federal
courts is limited. Federal jurisdiction is available only when a "federal question" is presented, 28
U.S.C. § 1331, or when the plaintiff and defendant are of diverse citizenship and the amount in
controversy exceeds $75,000.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. "[S]ubject-matter jurisdiction, because it
involves the court's power to hear a case, can never be forfeited or waived." United States v.
Cotton, 535 U.S. 625, 630 (2002). Federal courts "have an independent obligation to determine
whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, even in the absence of a challenge from any party."
Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006) (citing Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co., 526
U.S. 574, 583 (1999)). When a federal court concludes that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction,
the court must dismiss the complaint in its entirety. Id, see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3).
Plaintiff states that this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to "Section 1331," Complaint at ~
2, federal question jurisdiction, but the complaint does not present a federal question. The sole
issue raised by the complaint concerns a "lease agreement" by which plaintiff maintains he is
permitted to periodically inspect the property, and defendant maintains inspections are not
permitted. Beyond this limited information, and the date March 10, 2009 on which something
relevant to this contract or plaintiffs claim happened in the Supreme Court of the State of New
York, Kings County, plaintiff provides no further information. Nothing in the complaint suggests
any basis for this Court's federal question jurisdiction, it merely presents, at best, a state law
breach of contract claim. Thus, this Court, in exercising its independent obligation to determine
whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, Arbaugh, 546 U.S. at 514, finds no basis for the
exercise of its subject-matter jurisdiction within the four comers of the complaint,
notwithstanding its liberal reading of the pleadings. However, plaintiff is afforded thirty days to
file an amended complaint in which he alleges a basis for this Court's subject-matter jurisdiction.
Further, the complaint fails to comply with the dictates of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
8. Pursuant to Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, plaintiff must provide a short, plain
statement of claim against each defendant named so that they have adequate notice of the claims
against them. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (Rule 8 "demands more than an
unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation."). Plaintiff must provide facts
sufficient to allow each defendant to have a fair understanding of what the plaintiff is complaining
about and to know whether there is a legal basis for recovery. See Twombly v. Bell, 425 F.3d 99,
106 (2d Cir. 2005) (defining "fair notice" as " 'that which will enable the adverse party to answer
and prepare for trial, allow the application of res judicata, and identify the nature of the case so
that it may be assigned the proper form of trial.' ") (quoting Simmons v. Abruzzo, 49 F.3d 83, 86
(2d Cir. 1995)); Ricciuti v. New York City Transit Auth., 941 F.2d 119, 123 (2d Cir. 1991). Here,
the complaint does not comply with Rule 8. However, plaintiff is afforded thirty days to file an
amended complaint in which he complies with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8.
Finally, to the extent plaintiff may be seeking to bring this action to challenge a result in
New York state court with which he is dissatisfied, such an action would likely be barred by the
Rooker-Feldman Doctrine. An action is barred by the doctrine of Rooker-Feldman if it is"brought
by [a] state-court loser[ ] complaining of injuries caused by state court judgments rendered before
the district court proceedings commenced and inviting district court review and rejection of those
judgments." Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus., 544 U.S. 280 (2005). In Hoblock v.
Albany County Bd of Elections, the Second Circuit set forth four factors to determine whether the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine applies: (l) plaintiff lost in state court; (2) plaintiff complains of the
injury caused by the state court order; (3) plaintiff wants this court to review the state court's
process and rejection of the determinations, and (4) the state court determinations in question
were rendered before this action was commenced. 422 F.3d 77,83 (2d Cir. 2005).
Accordingly, although the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the
complaint as currently presented, in light of this Court's duty to liberally construe pro se
complaints, plaintiff is given 30 days leave to file an amended complaint. Cruz v. Gomez, 202
F.3d 593 (2d Cir. 2000). Plaintiff is directed that his amended complaint must provide a basis for
this Court's subject matter jurisdiction and comply with Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil
The amended complaint must be captioned as an "Amended Complaint" and bear the same
docket number as this Order. No summons shall issue at this time and all further proceedings
shall be stayed for 30 days. If plaintiff fails to amend his complaint within 30 days as directed by
this order, the Court shall dismiss this complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and
judgment shall enter. If submitted, the amended complaint will be reviewed for compliance with
this Order and for sufficiency under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court certifies pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915 (a)(3) that any appeal from this order would not be taken in good faith and
therefore in forma pauperis status is denied for purpose of an appeal. See Coppedge v. United
States, 369 U.S. 438, 444-45 (1962).
/Signed by Judge Ross/
Allyne R. Ross
United States D
Dated: February ;B>,2012
Brooklyn, New York
1486 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11216
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