Williams v. Ohio Department of Medicaid
ENTRY AND ORDER DISMISSING PRO SE PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT WITHOUT PREJUDICE ON INITIAL REVIEW UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1915, ORDERING THAT SERVICE OF PROCESS NOT ISSUE, AND DIRECTING THE CLERK TO TERMINATE THIS CASE ON THE DOCKET. Signed by Judge Thomas M. Rose on 4/26/2021. (srb)(This document has been sent by regular mail to the party(ies) listed in the NEF that did not receive electronic notification.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
WESTERN DIVISION AT DAYTON
TRAVIS LANIER WILLIAMS,
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAID,
Case No. 3:21-cv-125
Judge Thomas M. Rose
ENTRY AND ORDER DISMISSING PRO SE PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT
WITHOUT PREJUDICE ON INITIAL REVIEW UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1915,
ORDERING THAT SERVICE OF PROCESS NOT ISSUE, AND DIRECTING THE
CLERK TO TERMINATE THIS CASE ON THE DOCKET
This case is before the Court on pro se Plaintiff’s complaint filed in forma pauperis. (Doc.
1-2.) In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2), the Court must, sua sponte, perform an initial
review of the instant action and dismiss any case that is “frivolous or malicious,” fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); see also Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324
In conducting this initial review under Section 1915, the Court accepts pro se Plaintiff’s
allegations as true and construes them liberally in his favor. See Donald v. Marshall, No. 84-3231,
762 F.2d 1006 (table), 1985 WL 13183, at *1 (6th Cir. Apr. 5, 1985). However, while pro se
pleadings are “to be liberally construed” and are “held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers,” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), pro se plaintiffs must
still satisfy basic pleading requirements. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989).
In addition to the review required by Section 1915, “federal courts have a duty to consider
their subject matter jurisdiction in regard to every case and may raise the issue sua sponte.”
Answers in Genesis of Ky., Inc. v. Creation Ministries Int’l, Ltd., 556 F.3d 459, 465 (6th Cir. 2009).
In fact, courts must “determine whether [they] have subject-matter jurisdiction over a case before
proceeding at all.” In re Lee, 880 F.3d 242, 243 (6th Cir. 2018).
“Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Therefore, federal courts must presume “that a cause lies outside
this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting
jurisdiction.” Farmer v. Fisher, 386 F. App’x 554, 556 (6th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted). Thus,
“[a] plaintiff in federal court has the burden of pleading sufficient facts to support the existence of
the court’s jurisdiction.” Vaughn v. Holiday Inn Cleveland Coliseum, 56 F. App’x 249, 250 (6th
Cir. 2003). “Generally speaking, the Constitution and Congress have given federal courts
authority to hear a case only when the case raises a federal question or when diversity of citizenship
exists between the parties.” EBI-Detroit, Inc. v. City of Detroit, 279 F. App’x 340, 344 (6th Cir.
2008) (citing Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987)); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1331
(“The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States”); 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1) (“The district courts
shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum
or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between -- citizens of different States”).
Here, citing various portions of the Ohio Revised Code and the United States Code, it
appears Plaintiff is asserting an action based on his alleged interest in his great-grandmother’s
home on which Defendant had previously filed a lien. (Doc. 1-2 at PageID 7.) Plaintiff’s filings
assert differing bases for the Court’s jurisdiction over his action, at one point indicating diversity
jurisdiction (see Doc. 1-1) while at another indicating federal question jurisdiction (see Doc. 1-2
at PageID 9).
First, Plaintiff sets forth no allegations showing that this Court possesses diversity
jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Second, Plaintiff points to a federal statute
to assert federal question jurisdiction: 50 U.S.C. § 4305(b)(2). (Doc. 1-2 at PageID 9.) However,
based on Plaintiff’s allegations, there is no indication the statute is applicable to this action or
would provide Plaintiff with a private right of action. See, e.g., Dunlap v. Land Rover Fin. Grp.,
No. Civ. H-18-0096, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74827, 2019 WL 1919121, at *3 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 21,
2019) (plaintiff had not shown that 50 U.S.C. § 4305(b)(2) gave rise to an independent cause of
action or applied to the facts at issue in the case; recommending dismissal of complaint). Instead,
that statute is part of the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, was passed during World War I,
and—as its title implies—addresses war and national defense, specifically trading with the enemy.
50 U.S.C. § 4305 (titled “Suspension of provisions relating to ally of enemy; regulation of
transactions in foreign exchanges of gold or silver, property transfers, vested interests, enforcement
and penalties.”); see also Uebersee Finanz-Korporation, A.G. v. Clark, 82 F. Supp. 602, 605
(D.D.C. 1949) (“[t]he purpose of the Trading with the Enemy Act was to reach enemy interests
which masqueraded under innocent fronts and where securities or other interests are found to be
held by a neutral but under circumstances constituting enemy taint, return of the property after
vesting by the Alien Property Custodian will be barred”).
In sum, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s pleading fails to sufficiently support the existence
of the Court’s jurisdiction. Absent a federal cause of action or diversity among the parties, the
Court lacks the jurisdiction to proceed in this matter. Plaintiff may attempt to file his action in
state court. Accordingly, this case is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to refiling in a state
court of competent jurisdiction. The Court orders that service of process not issue and that this
action be TERMINATED on the Court’s docket.
DONE and ORDERED in Dayton, Ohio, this Monday, April 26, 2021.
s/Thomas M. Rose
THOMAS M. ROSE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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