Hodge v. Tenenbaum Berger & Shivers, LLP
ORDER: The Complaint is dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3). Although Plaintiff paid the filing fee to bring this action, if she requests in forma pauperis status for any appeal, 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 the purpose of an appeal. SO ORDERED by Judge William F. Kuntz, II, on 7/3/2014. C/mailed to pro se Plaintiff. (Latka-Mucha, Wieslawa)
* JUL 0 3
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
DECISION AND ORDER
14-CV -4031 (WFK)
- against TENENBAUM BERGER & SHIVERS, LLP,
WILLIAM F. KUNTZ, II, United States District Judge
Plaintiff Patricia Hodge brings this pro se action against the law firm that previously
represented her in a state court action, seeking declaratory relief and monetary damages.
Plaintiff paid the requisite filing fee to bring this action. For the reasons discussed below, the
Complaint is dismissed.
Although Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, and her Complaint is held to less stringent
standards than pleadings drafted by lawyers, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), she
must establish that the court has subject matter jurisdiction over her action. See. e.g., Rene v.
Citibank NA, 32 F. Supp. 2d 539, 541-42 (E.D.N.Y. 1999) (Spatt, J.) (dismissing prose
complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction).
The subject matter jurisdiction of the federal courts is limited. The basic statutory grants
of federal court subject matter jurisdiction are contained in 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332.
Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 513 (2006). Section 1331 provides for federal question
jurisdiction, and § 1332 provides for diversity of citizenship jurisdiction. Id A plaintiff properly
invokes § 1332 jurisdiction when she presents a claim between parties of diverse citizenship that
exceeds the required jurisdictional amount of $75,000. Id. (citing§ 1332(a)).
Here, Plaintiff cannot invoke diversity jurisdiction because both parties are alleged to be
citizens of the State of New York. Compl. at 1. Further, Plaintiff fails to present a federal
question: her factual allegations state a claim for legal malpractice, which is a matter of state law
over which this Court does not have federal question jurisdiction. See Fine v. City of New York,
529 F.2d 70, 74 (2d Cir.1975) ("Whatever cause of action [the plaintiff] might have against his
lawyer, whether sounding in professional malpractice, tort, or otherwise, is one of state law
insufficient to vest a federal court with jurisdiction over the subject matter."); Chery v. Law
Office of Felix Kozak, P.C., No. 11CV3471, 2011WL4056069, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 28,
2011) (Feuerstein, J.) (federal district courts do not have subject matter jurisdiction over legal
Accordingly, the Complaint is dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant
to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3). Although Plaintiff paid the filing fee to bring this action, if she
requests informa pauperis status for any appeal, 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 informa
pauperis status is denied for the purpose of an appeal. Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438,
/S/ Judge William F. Kuntz, II
-WILLIAM F. K~~0(11
United States Dis/ udge
Dated: July 3, 2014
Brooklyn, New York
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