King v. Northwest Trustee Services Inc et al

Filing 10

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE regarding subject matter jurisdiction; the court ORDERS Ms. King to provide additional information regarding the basis for the court's subject matter jurisdiction; response must be no longer than five (5) pages and filed within fourteen (14) days of the entry of this order. Signed by Judge James L. Robart. (SWT) (cc: Plaintiff via USPS)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 8 9 10 BARBARA M. KING, Plaintiff, 11 v. 12 13 CASE NO. C17-1448JLR ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE REGARDING SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION NORTHWEST TRUSTEE SERVICES INC., et al., 14 Defendants. 15 The court has reviewed pro se Plaintiff Barbara M. King’s complaint (Compl. 16 (Dkt. # 3)) and finds that it inadequately demonstrates the court’s subject matter 17 jurisdiction. The “court may raise the question of subject matter jurisdiction, sua sponte, 18 at any time during the pendency of the action.” Snell v. Cleveland, Inc., 316 F.3d 822, 19 826 (9th Cir. 2002). Although the court must liberally construe Ms. King’s complaint 20 because she is proceeding pro se, she “must allege facts that establish the court’s subject 21 matter jurisdiction.” Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61 (1992). The 22 ORDER - 1 1 court therefore ORDERS Ms. King to file a response within fourteen (14) days of the 2 entry of this order providing further information as described below. Ms. King asserts that the court’s subject matter jurisdiction is based on federal 3 4 question jurisdiction. (Compl. at 3.) Section 1331 provides that federal question 5 jurisdiction exists when a plaintiff’s claim arises under the Constitution, laws, or treaties 6 of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 1331; see also Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 7 386, 392 (1987) (“[A] federal question [must be] presented on the face of the plaintiff’s 8 properly pleaded complaint.”). Although Ms. King vaguely states that her constitutional 9 rights have been violated, she does not identify—and the court cannot infer from the 10 complaint—whether those constitutional rights arise from the federal constitution or the 11 state constitution. (Compl. at 5.) Moreover, Ms. King asserts claims for fraud, 12 negligence, and misrepresentation, all of which are state law claims. (See id. at 5.) 13 In addition, although she does not invoke diversity jurisdiction, the court notes that 14 Ms. King also fails to provide a basis for that form of subject matter jurisdiction. Section 15 1332 provides that the district courts “shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions 16 where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000 . . . and is between 17 citizens of different states.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Federal diversity jurisdiction therefore 18 requires complete diversity of citizenship between the parties—that is, each of the 19 plaintiffs must be a citizen of a different state than each of the defendants. See Morris v. 20 Princess Cruises, Inc., 236 F.3d 1061, 1067 (9th Cir. 2001). Ms. King’s complaint 21 alleges that she is a citizen of Washington and that at least one defendant is a citizen of 22 // ORDER - 2 1 Washington. (Compl. at 3-4.) Thus, the complaint fails to demonstrate the requisite 2 complete diversity of citizenship. 3 If subject matter jurisdiction is lacking, the court must dismiss the case. Fed. R. 4 Civ. P. 12(h)(3) (“If the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter 5 jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”). Accordingly, the court ORDERS Ms. 6 King to provide additional information regarding the basis for the court’s subject matter 7 jurisdiction. Ms. King’s response must be no longer than five (5) pages and filed within 8 fourteen (14) days of the entry of this order. If Ms. King does not timely comply with 9 this order or fails to demonstrate a basis for the court’s subject matter jurisdiction, the 10 court will dismiss this matter without prejudice. Any of the defendants may, but are not 11 required to, respond to this order subject to the same deadline and page limitation. 12 Dated this 18th day of October, 2017. 13 14 A 15 JAMES L. ROBART United States District Judge 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 ORDER - 3

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