Coleman v. Silver
ORDER ADOPTING 8 Memorandum and Recommendations by US Magistrate Judge Robert B. Jones, Jr. This action has been dismissed without prejudice. The clerk is directed to enter judgment and close the file. Signed by US District Judge Terrence W. Boyle on 3/19/2014. Copy mailed to pro se plaintiff via US Mail to his Washington, D.C. address and his North Carolina address. (Fisher, M.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
This matter is before the Court on the Memorandum and Recommendation ("M&R") of
United States Magistrate Judge Robert B. Jones [DE 8]. For the following reasons, the Court
ADOPTS the M&R. The matter is DISMISSED.
Plaintiff filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP motion") and initial proposed
complaint on August 28, 2013. Plaintiffs complaint consists of state law tort claims of
defamation and alienation of affections against defendant. On October 25, 2013, the Court
allowed plaintiffs IFP motion, but directed plaintiff to file a particularized complaint within
twenty-one days of entry ofthe Court's order. The Clerk docketed the Court's October 25,2013
order, but held the complaint in abeyance pending plaintiffs particularization of his complaint.
Rather than particularize his complaint however, plaintiff filed a motion to amend on November
19,2013. [DE 4].
The Court entered an order on December 9, 2013, whereby the Court declined to rule on
the frivolity of plaintiffs amended complaint and directed plaintiff, for a second time, to
particularize. [DE 5]. The Court directed plaintiff to particularize his complaint as to two
identified deficiencies, including the specific dates of the alleged defamatory statements and the
specific facts establishing diversity jurisdiction as the basis for the Court's subject matter
jurisdiction. 1 Plaintiffs particularized complaint response was due December 31, 2013. Plaintiff
filed a motion to transfer on January 2, 2014 [DE 7] which the Court denied as moot in its
January 16, 2014 order. [DE 9]. On the same day, Magistrate Judge Robert B. Jones entered a
M&R to this Court which recommends that the complaint be dismissed without prejudice for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. [DE 8]. Plaintiff filed an objection to the M&R, which,
although late, 2 will be considered by the Court. [DE 11].
A district court is required to review an M&R de novo if the defendant specifically
objects to it or in cases of clear error. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 14950 (1985). The district court is only required to make a de novo determination of those specific
findings to which the defendant has actually objected. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 200
(4th Cir. 1983). Here, the plaintiff has filed a brief objection memorandum which quarrels with
the entire procedure of frivolity review and also argues that plaintiff resided in Washington, D. C.
at the commencement of this action and therefore this Court's diversity jurisdiction is preserved.
No matter how much plaintiff may object to frivolity review, the process is directed by
statute. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). However, the Court notes that the process is not triggered by
plaintiffs pro se status, but rather by the filing of his motion to proceed in forma pauperis. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915 (titled "Proceedings in forma pauperis"). Frivolity review is not a result of pro
se bias as plaintiff alleges, but "to prevent abuse of the judicial system by parties who bear none
of the ordinary financial disincentives to filing a meritless claim." Adams v. Rice, 40 F.3d 72, 84
Plaintiff's prose filing, captioned as a motion to amend, is more appropriately construed as an amendment to his
froposed complaint as a matter of course because his complaint has not yet been filed. See FED. R. Crv. P. 15(a).
Plaintiff's objections were due on February 2, 2014 and were not received by the Court until February 14,2014.
(4th Cir. 1994). Further, the Court afforded plaintiff two separate opportunities to particularize
his complaint before recommending dismissal. [DE 3 and 5].
Examining the issue of diversity jurisdiction, the Court concludes that Magistrate Judge
Jones is correct in that there is not diversity of citizenship here. Although plaintiff is correct in
stating that "[t]he citizenship of the parties at the time of commencement of the action
determines whether the requisite diversity exists," Rowland v. Patterson, 882 F.2d 97, 98 (4th
Cir. 1989), an action does not commence until the Clerk has filed the complaint. Here, the
complaint has not been filed because plaintiff has not yet cleared the hurdle of frivolity review as
is required of plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis. Plaintiff freely admits that he is now a
resident ofNorth Carolina and that defendant is also believed to be a resident ofNorth Carolina.
Plaintiffs residence at the time he filed his IFP motion is of no consequence in determining
whether diversity jurisdiction exists. Seeing no basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction over
the claims in plaintiffs proposed complaint, the Court adopts the M&R and dismisses this case
without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's recommendations,
and DISMISSES this action without prejudice. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment
accordingly and close the file.
day of March, 2014.
JRRENCE W. BOYLE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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