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Bedi v. Price

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

December 12, 2019

BRYAN BEDI
v.
MELINDA PRICE

         SECTION: “D” (3)

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

         The District Court has referred this matter to this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) for a determination of whether federal subject-matter jurisdiction exists. [Doc. #4]. Pro se defendant Melinda Price removed the above-captioned matter to this Court in which she raises various domestic claims against her ex-husband, plaintiff Bryan Bedi, before, during, and after divorce and child-custody proceedings. She further alleges violations of her civil and due process rights on the part of her ex-husband and - although it is unclear - the state courts.

         On October 28, 2019, this Court ordered Melinda Price to show cause by Friday, November 22, 2019 as to why this case should not be summarily dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i-iii). On November 13, 2019, Price responded. [Doc. #6]. On November 22, 2019, she filed an Addendum Answer to Rule to Show Cause. [Doc. #7].

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) provides for summary dismissal sua sponte, should the Court determine that a case is frivolous. Section 1915(e)(2)(B) provides in pertinent part as follows:

(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that -
(B) the action or appeal -
(i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii) (emphasis added). In plain language, Section 1915 requires dismissal if the Court is satisfied that the case fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. [1]

         The Court has permitted the plaintiff to proceed in forma pauperis in the instant proceeding under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §1915(a). However, summons has not issued in order to allow the Court to review plaintiff's complaint to determine whether it satisfies the requirements of the federal in forma pauperis statute. On its face, plaintiff's complaint fails to meet the requirements of the statute. There exists no absolute right to proceed in forma pauperis in federal civil matters; instead, it is a privilege extended to those unable to pay filing fees when it is apparent that the claims do not lack merit on their face. [2]

         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. "Subject matter jurisdiction may not be waived, and the district court 'shall dismiss the action' whenever 'it appears by suggestion of the parties or otherwise that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter.'" Avitts v. Amoco Prod. Co., 53 F.3d 690, 693 (5th Cir.1995) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3)). Price premises federal jurisdiction on “[f]ederal violations of such gross negligence of your movers' civil rights and right to due process that this case warrants these proceedings be removed from the lower courts .. . . .” [Doc. #1 at p. 1]. But a review of the complaint reveals that no federal question exists here. Disputes arising in state-court divorce and child-custody proceedings do not necessarily raise sufficient federal questions so as to confer upon a federal district court subject matter jurisdiction. See Brown v. Hammonds, 747 F.2d 320, 321 (5th Cir. 1984). [3]

         And even were Price to allege violations of her civil rights and due process, such claims arise under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which necessarily must be committed by a state actor. The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has noted:

To state a claim under section 1983, a plaintiff must allege facts tending to show (1) that he has been deprived of a right secured by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and (2) that the deprivation was caused by ...

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