United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. HORNSBY U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Allsbrook (“Plaintiff”), who is self-represented,
filed this civil action against Brian C. Osbourn. The
complaint does not assert a federal claim, and the amount in
controversy is not sufficient for diversity jurisdiction. For
the reasons that follow, it is recommended that the complaint
be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
complaint was filed on the Pro Se 1 form provided by the
courts for filing a complaint in a civil case. The form
explained that federal courts are of limited jurisdiction and
asked Plaintiff to check a box to indicate whether he invoked
federal question or diversity of citizenship as a basis for
subject-matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff did not check either
portion of the complaint asked that, if the basis for
jurisdiction is diversity of citizenship, the plaintiff
provide certain information. Plaintiff wrote that he was a
citizen of Louisiana and that the only defendant is a citizen
of Florida. The form asked for the amount in controversy, and
Plaintiff wrote: $30, 000. Plaintiff was asked to write a
short and plain statement of his claim to provide facts that
show why he is entitled to damages or other relief. He wrote
only: “Misuse of fund - stole my back pay
2006-2007.” No. other facts were provided.
is proceeding in forma pauperis, and this court is authorized
by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) to review IFP complaints and
dismiss them if they are frivolous. The court also has a duty
to examine the basis for subject matter jurisdiction.
Torres v. Southern Peru Copper Corp., 113 F.3d 540,
542 (5th Cir. 1997). If subject matter jurisdiction over the
complaint is lacking, dismissal is appropriate for that
reason and pursuant to § 1915. Humphries v. Various
Federal U.S. INS Employees, 164 F.3d 936, 941 (5th Cir.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.”
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 114 S.Ct.
1673, 1675 (1994). “They possess only that power
authorized by Constitution and statute.” Id.
There is a presumption that a suit lies outside that limited
jurisdiction. Howery v. Allstate Ins. Co., 243 F.3d
912, 916 (5th Cir. 2001). The burden of establishing grounds
for jurisdiction rests on the party who seeks the federal
forum. Settlement Funding, LLC v. Rapid Settlements,
Limited, 851 F.3d 530, 537 (5th Cir. 2017).
basis for original jurisdiction is diversity jurisdiction
under 28 USC § 1322. For diversity jurisdiction to
exist, the amount in controversy must exceed $75, 000, and
there must be complete diversity of citizenship. There is
complete diversity of citizenship between Plaintiff and Mr.
Osbourn, but Plaintiff alleges that the amount in controversy
is only $30, 000, so there is no factual basis for the
exercise of diversity jurisdiction under Section 1332.
other basis for jurisdiction typically invoked in civil cases
is federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
The existence of jurisdiction under the statute is tested by
the well-pleaded complaint rule. It provides that a federal
court does not have federal question jurisdiction unless a
federal question appears on the face of the plaintiff's
well-pleaded complaint. Elam v. Kan. City S. Ry.
Co., 635 F.3d 796, 803 (5th Cir. 2011). Plaintiff's
complaint has not invoked any federal laws or asserted claims
that would appear to state a colorable claim under any
federal statutes. Plaintiff did not so much as check the box
to indicate that he asserted a federal law claim.
Accordingly, there is no basis for the exercise of federal
complaint does not satisfy his obligation of presenting facts
that permit this court to exercise subject-matter
jurisdiction over his claim. The proper remedy is dismissal
without prejudice, which will allow Plaintiff to litigate the
claim in a court that does have jurisdiction. That said, it
is likely that the claim is untimely. Plaintiff alleges that
funds were taken from him in 2006-07. A claim under Louisiana
law for conversion or other tort must be brought within one