United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division
K. MOON, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court sua sponte on the
question of subject matter jurisdiction.It appears
Plaintiff is attempting to raise claims of fraud,
“fiduciary abuse, ” breach of contract,
negligence, misappropriation, and misrepresentation. (Dkt.
2). Plaintiff seeks estimated damages of around $200 million.
Even construing the Complaint liberally, I find that the
Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
claims, and I will dismiss the action.
Standard of Review
determination of whether the Court has subject matter
jurisdiction is a threshold matter. Under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(h)(3), “[i]f the court determines at
any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court
must dismiss the action.” “Federal courts are not
courts of general jurisdiction; they have only the power that
is authorized by Article III of the Constitution and the
statutes enacted by Congress pursuant thereto.”
Bender v. Williamsport Area Sch. Dist., 475 U.S.
534, 541 (1986). See, e.g. 28 U.S.C. §§
1331, 1332. “When a requirement goes to subject-matter
jurisdiction, courts are obligated to consider sua
sponte issues that the parties have disclaimed or have
not presented.” Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S.
134, 141 (2012). The requirement of subject-matter
jurisdiction cannot be waived or forfeited by the parties.
Id. However, a pro se complaint is to be
“liberally construed” and “must be held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
Federal Question Jurisdiction is Lacking
district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil
actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of
the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. “The
presence or absence of federal-question 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
plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint.”
Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392
(1987); see also Martin v. Lagualt, 315 F.Supp.2d
811 (E.D. Va. 2004) (applying the well-pleaded complaint rule
in the context of a pro se complaint). Plaintiff has
filed a twenty page Complaint asserting federal question
jurisdiction is present, but has failed to state a federal
cause of action. (Dkt. 2). Plaintiff purports to bring claims
under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8, 9(b), (d), (g); 42
U.S.C. 2000h-4 (a provision dealing with preemption); 28
U.S.C. § 1652 (The Rules of Decision Act); and other
sundry Virginia state statutes.
none of the rules or statutes referenced by Plaintiff in his
Complaint is sufficient to support federal question
jurisdiction. See Pineville Real Estate Operation Corp.
v. Michael, 32 F.3d 88, 90 (4th Cir. 1994) (recognizing
that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not provide an
independent ground for subject matter jurisdiction under
§ 1331); Johnson v. Bonaventura, No.
2:13-CV-524 JCM CQH, 2013 WL 2319089, at *3 (D. Nev. May 28,
2013) (finding no federal question jurisdiction when a party
has pled state law theories that do not turn “on the
answer to a federal question” in light of 42 U.S.C.
2000h-4); Pendergraph v. Crown Honda-Volvo, LLC, 104
F.Supp.2d 586, 589 (M.D. N.C. 1999); Richardson v.
L'Eggs Brands Inc., Div. of Sara Lee Corp., 89 F.3d
829 (4th Cir. 1996) (“The Rules of Decision Act, 28
U.S.C. § 1652, requires federal courts sitting in
diversity to apply the forum state's substantive law and
federal procedural law.”). Therefore, the Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Diversity of Citizenship Jurisdiction is Lacking
Federal courts possess original subject matter jurisdiction
over all civil actions, including solely state law claims,
when the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, exclusive
interests and costs, and the parties' citizenship is
completely diverse. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Lincoln Prop.
Co. v. Roche, 546 U.S. 81, 89 (2005) (“Since
Strawbridge v. Curtiss . . . we have read the
statutory formulation ‘between . . . citizens of
different States' to require complete diversity between
all plaintiffs and all defendants.”). A corporation is
deemed to be a citizen of every state in which it is
incorporated and the state where it has its principal place
of business. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1).
does not assert that the Court has jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1332. But even if he did: the parties lack
complete diversity. Plaintiff is a citizen of Virginia. (Dkt.
2 at ECF 1-2; dkt. 2-2). Plaintiff alleges that Region Ten
CSB, the only Defendant in this case, is a citizen of
Virginia. (Dkt. 2 at ECF 1). Indeed, Region Ten CSB is
incorporated in Virginia,  and has its principal place of business
in Virginia. Id. Thus, the parties lack
diversity and the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 to hear the state law claims.
Plaintiff fails to put forth any federal cause of action, and
because the parties in this case are not completely diverse,
Plaintiffs Complaint will be dismissed for lack of subject
Clerk of the Court is directed to send a certified copy of
this memorandum opinion and ...