United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
KATHLEEN KAY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court is a complaint filed in forma pauperis by
pro se plaintiff Wanda Stewart. As best construed by
this court, plaintiff's complaint alleges workplace
retaliation, hostile work environment, and harassment. Doc.1.
Order issued on December 15, 2016 plaintiff was granted leave
to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C.
§1915. Doc. 3. This statute imposes a screening
responsibility on the court to dismiss the complaint without
service of process when the court makes a determination that
the complaint is frivolous, fails to state a claim, or seeks
monetary relief against someone immune from such relief.
Further, under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(h)(3)
“if the court determines at any time that it lacks
subject matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the
action.” Consequently, this court will conduct a
preliminary review of the complaint before it orders service
of the Complaint
complaint is filed on a form entitled “Complaint for
Violation of Civil Rights (Non-Prisoner Complaint).”
This form is available in order to assist individuals who
wish to file a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for
actions which allege 1) a violation of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) show that
the alleged deprivaton was committed by a person acting under
color of state law. Whitley v. Hanna, 726 F.3d 631,
638 (5th Cir.2013).
in the section of the form entitled “Basis for
Jurisdiction, ” plaintiff does not allege that she is
bringing her suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Instead she
alleges that she experienced “systematic
misappropriation” of her pay and was “harassed,
threaten [sic] and intimidated by Sears management and
employees in retaliation” for “reporting the
truth of work-place misappropriation.” Doc. 1, p. 4. In
her prayer for relief plaintiff requests monetary damages for
her alleged financial hardship, unnecessary and unwanted
stress, mental anguish, and hostile work environment.
Id. at p. 5. Plaintiff fails to set forth any basis
for federal court jurisdiction in her complaint.
should be aware that “[f]ederal courts are courts of
limited jurisdiction. They possess only that power authorized
by Constitution and statute, which is not to be expanded by
judicial decree.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins.
Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (citations
omitted). Further, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule
8(a)(1) provides that a party filing a complaint must state
“a short and plain statement of the grounds for the
court's jurisdiction.” The two most common methods
of invoking federal subject matter jurisdiction are federal
question and diversity. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 &
1332. For diversity jurisdiction to exist, the parties to the
action must be citizens of different states and the amount in
controversy must exceed $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
Plaintiff's allegations do not establish the parties'
citizenship and/or diversity. Accordingly, diversity
jurisdiction is lacking.
jurisdiction is governed by the 'well-pleaded complaint
rule, ' which provides that federal jurisdiction exists
only when a federal question is presented on the face of the
plaintiffs properly pleaded complaint." Rivet v.
Regions Bank of Louisiana, 522 U.S. 470, 474, 118 S.Ct.
921, 925 (1998) (citations omitted).
pro se complaints are generally held to less stringent
standards, pro se litigants must follow the same
procedural rules as other litigants and the court may not
assume role of advocate for apro se litigant.
See generally Fed. Express Corp. v. Holowecki, 552
U.S. 389, 402 (2008). Therefore, in order to more fully
understand the basis for plaintiffs complaint, plaintiff
should amend her complaint to set forth the basis for this
court's jurisdiction. See Eason v. Thaler, 14