United States District Court, D. Minnesota
March 26, 2014
BRIAN TISDELL and TAMMY TISDELL, on behalf of Minor Child GLT, Plaintiffs,
SENIOR CLASS CARE, ANGELGA SANDLIN, SANDLIN LAW OFFICE, ATTORNEY PAUL SANDLIN, ALL SENIOR CLASS CARE PARTNER(S PAST AND PRESENT, JOHN DOE, and JOHN DOE, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
LEO I. BRISBOIS, Magistrate Judge.
This matter came before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge upon the routine supervision of cases that pend before us, and upon an assignment made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). Having concluded that there is no basis for Federal jurisdiction of this case as it currently stands, this Court recommends that the case be DISMISSED without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Brian Tisdell and Tammy Tisdell, on behalf of Minor Child GLT ("Plaintiffs"), proceeding pro se,  initiated this case on or about September 13, 2013, by filing their Complaint. [Docket No. 1]. The Complaint alleges a personal injury claim, and names as Defendants the following: Senior Class Care, Angelga Sandlin,  Sandlin Law Office, Attorney Paul Sandlin, all Senior Class Care Partner(s) Past and Present, and various John and Jane Does. ( Id. at 1). The Complaint alleges: (1) that Minor Child GLT "had a finger severed due to a faulty door at the Senior Class Care building"; (2) that Defendant Paul Sandlin "fail[ed] to follow thru [sic] after receiving the medical bills" and "fail[ed] to respond to the request for the video from the door that would show the accident"; (3) that Angelga Sandlin "call[ed] to give condolences for the child's injury than [sic] apparently den[ied] the incident happened"; and (4) that Senior Class Care's past and present partners "ha[d] a faulty door at the facility." (Id.).
As of the date of this Order, none of the Defendants have answered the Complaint.
"Subject matter jurisdiction... is a threshold requirement which must be assured in every case." Turner v. Armontrout , 922 F.2d 492, 493 (8th Cir. 1991). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that "[i]f the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3). "The burden of proving subject matter jurisdiction falls on the plaintiff.'" Kopecko v. GMAC Mortgage, LLC, No. 11-cv-3310 (JRT/AJB), 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40778, at *2-3 (D. Minn. Mar. 26, 2010) (Tunheim, J.) (quoting V S Ltd. P'ship v. Dep't of Hous. & Urban Dev. , 235 F.3d 1109, 1112 (8th Cir. 2000)). Additionally, "a court has an independent obligation to determine whether subject matter jurisdiction exists." Kopecko, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40778, at *2 (citing Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp. , 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006). "[W]here jurisdiction does not exist the court... shall dismiss the action sua sponte." Singh v. Hannuman, No. 08-cv-1255 (DWF/SRN), 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115655, at *5 (D. Minn. Dec. 10, 2008) (Nelson, M.J.) (quoting Williams v. Rogers , 449 F.2d 513, 518 (8th Cir. 1971) (citing, in turn, Louisville & Nashville R.R. Co. v. Motley , 211 U.S. 149, 152 (1908))), adopted by 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7191 (D. Minn. Feb. 2, 2009) (Frank, J.).
Plaintiffs assert that this Court has jurisdiction to hear their claims pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C. §§ 1343, 2201 and 2202. (Compl. [Docket No. 1], at 1). However, even construing Plaintiffs' Complaint liberally, as this Court is required to do, see fn.1, supra, these statutes do not confer jurisdiction upon this Court to hear Plaintiffs' claims.
A. 28 U.S.C. § 1343
Plaintiffs first assert that this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1343(a), which provides that the U.S. District Courts have original jurisdiction in certain civil rights actions. See 28 U.S.C. § 1343(a). However, although Plaintiffs invoke various civil rights statutes, (see Compl. [Docket No. 1], at 1 (citing 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1992)), they neither allege any civil rights claims that would be governed by any of those statutes, nor allege any facts that would support such claims.
A complaint that fails to allege a deprivation of civil rights also fails to establish jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1343. Cf. Charland v. Little Six, Inc. , 112 F.Supp.2d 858, 866 (D. Minn. 2000) (Mason, M.J.) (complaint that failed to allege deprivation of civil rights under color of state law failed to establish jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1343), adopted by 112 F.Supp.2d 858 (D. Minn. 2000) (Doty, J.). In the present case, Plaintiffs' Complaint completely fails to allege any such deprivation of civil rights. (See Compl. [Docket No. 1]). Consequently, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate that 28 U.S.C. § 1343 provides this Court with jurisdiction to hear their claims.
B. 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202
Plaintiffs also assert, presumably because their Complaint seeks declaratory judgment, that this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2202, which provides that the U.S. District Courts may hear causes of action for declaratory relief.
However, "declaratory-judgment claims provide no independent basis for subject-matter jurisdiction." CFMOTO Powersports, Inc. v. United States , 780 F.Supp.2d 869, 877 (2011) (Kyle, J.); see also Rueth v. U.S. Env't Protection Agency , 13 F.3d 227, 231 (7th Cir. 1993) ("The Declaratory Judgment Act... is not an independent grant of jurisdiction, rather jurisdiction must be predicated on some other statute."). Where, as here, "the Court lacks jurisdiction over all of the... claims in this action, ... there is no claim to which the remedy created by the Declaratory Judgment Act can attach." CFMOTO Powersports , 780 F.Supp.2d at 877 (emphasis added).
Because the Declaratory Judgment Act is not an independent grant of jurisdiction upon this Court, and because Plaintiffs have established no independent basis for subject matter jurisdiction to which they might attach their plea for a declaratory remedy, this Court concludes that Plaintiffs have failed in their burden of establishing that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear their claims. Furthermore, because this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear Plaintiff's claims, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) requires that this Court dismiss their case.
Based on the foregoing, and all the files, records and proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that this case be DISMISSED without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.