Jeon v. The Pavilion at Queens Rehab
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: Accordingly, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action. For these reasons, the case is dismissed for want of subject matter jurisdiction. Ordered by Judge Carol Bagley Amon on 11/22/2017. (Fernandez, Erica)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
^ y 20;
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
CHAN MIN JEON,
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
THE PAVILION AT QUEENS FOR
REHABHABILITATION & NURSING,
AMON,United States District Judge:
Pro se plaintiff Chan Min Jeon brought this discrimination action against The Pavilion at
Queens for Rehabilitation & Nursing("Queens Rehab"), alleging that he was demoted from a fiilltime position to a part-time position in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42
U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (D.E.# 1 ("CompL")at 1-4.) Based on Jeon's failure to allege that he is
a member of a protected class or any circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination
on the basis ofsuch membership,this Court issued a Memorandum and Order on March 24,2017,
dismissing the case but granting Jeon 30 days to amend his complaint to properly state a cause of
action. (D.E.#17("M&O")at 4.) Jeon timely filed a declaration in response to the M&O,which,
given his pro se status,this Court construes as an amended complaint. (D.E.#18("Am.Compl.").)
In his amended complaint, Jeon disclaims any allegation that Queens Rehab discriminated
against him based on a characteristic protected by Title VII, but rather complains that Queens
Rehab discriminated against him by violating the terms of a "Conciliation Agreement" that Jeon
and Queens Rehab had entered into to settle a prior complaint that Jeon brought before the New
York City Commission on Human Rights. (Id. at 3.) The amended complaint asserts no other
claims or bases for this Court's jurisdiction over this matter. (See id)
On August 31,2017,this Court ordered Jeon to submit a memorandum explaining why the
Court has subject matter over this action. (D.E. # 19 ("Mem.").) Jeon responded to this request
with a memorandum dated September 28,2017. (D.E.# 20.) Jeon again disclaimed any Title VII
claim and confirmed that his claims arise under state law. (See jd (describing a breach ofcontract
action and citing Section 8-107(8) of the Administrative Code of the City of New York).) Jeon's
memorandum does not argue diversity or any other grounds for federal jurisdiction.(^jd} For
the reasons stated below,this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and accordingly dismisses the
The Court "may examine subject matter jurisdiction, sua sponte, at any stage of the
proceeding." Adams v. Suozzi. 433 F.3d 220, 224(2d Cir. 2005)(quoting F.D.I.C. v. Foirr Star
Holding Co.. 178 F.3d 97, 100 n.2(2d Cir. 1999)). "If subject matter jurisdiction is lacking, the
action must be dismissed." Lvndonville Sav. Bank & Trust Co. v. Lussier, 211 F.3d 697, 700-01
(2d Cir. 2000). By statute, a district court's subject matter jurisdiction typically may be exercised
only when:(1) a federal question is presented; or(2)when the parties have complete diversity of
citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331-32. Where a party is proceeding pro se,the court must"construe [the] pleadings broadly,
and interpret them to raise the strongest arguments they suggest." Cruz v. Gomez,202 F.3d 593,
597(2d Cir. 2000)(citation omitted). Although courts accordingly hold pro se complaints "to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers," Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9
(1980), pro se litigants must nonetheless establish subject matter jurisdiction, see, e.g.. Rene v.
Citibank N.A..32 F.Supp.2d 539,541^2(E.D.N.Y. 1999). Even when construed broadly,Jeon's
pleadings do not support subject matter jurisdiction.
This action does not present a federal question. Although styled as a discrimination claim,
Jeon's amended complaint states a single claim based on the breach of a state-law agreement
entered into between him and Queens Rehab. He asserts that "Section 8-107(8) of the
Administrative Code ofthe City of New York provides that it shall be an unlawful discriminatory
practice for any party to a conciliation agreement ... to violate the terms of such agreement."
(Am. Compl. at 2.) However,a state-law cause of action will present ajusticiable federal question
only where "the vindication of a right under state law necessarily tum[s] on some construction of
federal law." Bracev v. Bd. of Educ. of Citv of Bridgeport. 368 F.Sd 108, 114 (2d Cir. 2004)
(quoting Franchise Tax Bd. of State of Cal. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Tr. for S. Cal.. 463 U.S.
1,9(1983)). Having disclaimed any reliance on Title VII and without asserting any other federal
basis for his claims,(s^ Am. Compl.; Mem.), Jeon's breach of contract claim does not present a
federal issue. See, e.g.. Brovm v. Annie Inc.. No. 17-CV-369(MKB),2017 WL 1331254, at *3
(E.D.N.Y. Apr. 11, 2017) ("Plaintiff has not and cannot invoke the Court's federal question
jurisdiction because he only alleges a claim for breach of contract.").
Nor does this Court havejurisdiction based on diversity ofcitizenship. As applicable here,
a district court has diversity jurisdiction over an action if the parties are "citizens of different
States." 28 U.S.C § 1332(a)(1). "An individual's citizenship for diversity purposes is determined
by his or her domicile, as opposed to residence." See Palazzo ex rel. Delmaee v. Corio. 232 F.3d
38,42(2d Cir. 2000). "In general, the domicile of an individual is his true, fixed and permanent
home and place of habitation"—
"the place to which, whenever he is absent, he has the
intention of returning." Martinez v. Bvnum. 461 U.S. 321, 331 (1983). The party seeking to
invoke diversityjurisdiction "bears the burden ofdemonstrating that the grounds for diversity exist
and that diversity is complete." Advani Enters.. Inc. v. Underwriters at Lloyds. 140 F.3d 157, 160
(2d Cir. 1998). Plaintiff has failed to carry this burden.
Nothing in Jeon's pleadings suggest citizenship affiliations that would support complete
diversity. As alleged in Plaintiffs initial complaint, he resides in New York, and Queens Rehab
is located in New York. (See Am. Compl. at 2.) Plaintiff also alleges that he worked for Defendant
in Queens until his termination in 2011, that he litigated in the New York City Commission on
Human Rights from his termination in 2011 to his reinstatement in 2013, and that he has worked
for Defendant in Queens since his reinstatement in 2013. (See id at 4.) These allegations strongly
suggest that Plaintiff is a domiciliary of New York. See Johansen v. Confederation Life Ass'n,
447 F.2d 175,180(2d Cir. 1971)(considering a party's permanent residence and business contacts
when determining domicile). In any event, Jeon's "failure to allege [his] citizenship in a particular
state is fatal to diversity jurisdiction." Universal Reinsurance Co. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins.
Co.. 224 F.3d 139, 141 (2d Cir. 2000). (See also Am. Compl.; Mem.)
Accordingly, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action.
For these reasons, the case is dismissed for want of subject matter jurisdiction.
Brooklyn, New York
s/Carol Bagley Amon
Carol Bagl|ey Am^
United States District Judge
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