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Richardson v. Phipps

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

April 14, 2015

BERNARD RAY RICHARDSON, Plaintiff,
v.
L. PHIPPS, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

MICHAEL F. URBANSKI, District Judge.

Bernard Ray Richardson, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed this "motion for a federal injunction restraining order" against a nurse, a doctor, and grievance coordinator at Red Onion State Prison, seeking "immediate medical treatment" for back and neck pain. In his motion, Richardson states that he "WANT[S] TO MAKE IT ABSOLUTELY CLEAR' THAT THIS MOTION FOR A FEDERAL INJUNCTION RESTRAINING ORDER FOR IMMEDIATE MEDICAL TREATMENT' IS NOT TO BE TAKEN AS A 42 U.S.C. [§] 1983' CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT AS THIS COURT HAS DID SO BEFORE!'"[1] (emphasis in original). Upon review of Richardson's motion, the court concludes that it has no jurisdiction over this action and, therefore, will dismiss it without prejudice pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1).

In order for the court to hear and decide a case, it must first have jurisdiction over the subject matter of the litigation. Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, "constrained to exercise only the authority conferred by Article III of the Constitution and affirmatively granted by federal statute." In re Bulldog Trucking, Inc., 147 F.3d 347, 352 (4th Cir. 1998). Because federal courts have limited subject matter jurisdiction, there is no presumption that the court has jurisdiction. Pinkley, Inc. v. City of Frederick, 191 F.3d 394, 399 (4th Cir. 1999). The burden of proof rests with plaintiff to establish that such jurisdiction exists. Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365, 370-71 (4th Cir. 2012). Accordingly, a federal court is required, sua sponte, to determine if a valid basis for its jurisdiction exists and "to dismiss the action if no such ground appears." Bulldog Trucking, 147 F.3d at 352; see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) ("Whenever it appears... that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter, the court shall dismiss the action.").

Richardson's pleading provides no basis for either federal question jurisdiction, under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, or diversity jurisdiction, under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, in light of his explicit instruction that the court not construe the motion as commencing an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Accordingly, I will dismiss this action without prejudice pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1).


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