United States District Court, D. Minnesota
December 10, 2014
Selina Miller, Plaintiff,
Tyler Perry Production, Kanye West, and Kim Kadisian, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
HILDY BOWBEER, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff Selina Miller has filed a complaint alleging various state-law causes of action against the named defendants in this matter. Miller did not pay the filing fee, but instead filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP") in this litigation [Doc. No. 2]. This matter is before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for consideration of Miller's IFP application.
An IFP application will be denied, and the action will be dismissed, when an IFP applicant has filed a complaint that fails to state a cause of action on which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); Atkinson v. Bohn, 91 F.3d 1127, 1128 (8th Cir. 1996) (per curiam). In reviewing whether a complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted, this Court must accept as true all of the factual allegations in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Aten v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., 511 F.3d 818, 820 (8th Cir. 2008). Although the factual allegations in the complaint need not be detailed, they must be sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level...." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The complaint must "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. In assessing the sufficiency of the complaint, the court may disregard legal conclusions that are couched as factual allegations. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). Pro se complaints are to be construed liberally, but they still must allege sufficient facts to support the claims advanced. See Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004).
Miller's complaint is nearly unintelligible. To the extent that the Court can comprehend the allegations, it appears that Miller believes various celebrities have spread rumors among themselves that Miller received a check for one billion dollars, when she has received no such check. Based on those allegations, Miller brings claims of "Neglect of Hollywood Check" (a cause of action with which this Court is unfamiliar) and breach of contract. ( See Compl. at 1 [Doc. No. 1].) The complaint can also fairly be read as bringing a claim of defamation, although Miller does not specifically mention such a claim in her complaint.
Needless to say, the factual allegations in Miller's complaint are wildly implausible. Moreover, critical elements of each cause of action brought or suggested by the complaint are lacking. Miller has not shown how any of the defendants were negligent, nor has she adequately alleged the existence of a contract between her and the defendants or pleaded facts showing how she was harmed by the defendants' allegedly defamatory statements. Further, this District appears to have no connection to the events at issue in this litigation, all of which seem to have taken place in California. It is therefore doubtful that Miller has filed her complaint in the correct venue. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).
But this action must be dismissed for a still more fundamental reason: Miller has not alleged an adequate basis for the Court's subject-matter jurisdiction over this lawsuit. No federal question is presented by Miller's complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Moreover, Miller has not alleged the citizenship of the parties to this action-indeed, she has not even identified her own citizenship-and thus the Court cannot conclude that 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) provides a basis for jurisdiction. The Court cannot proceed without jurisdiction, and an action must be dismissed without prejudice when jurisdiction is lacking. See Erickson v. U.S. Post Office, 250 F.Appx. 757, 758 (8th Cir. 2007) (per curiam) (noting that "Article III deprives federal courts of power to dismiss [a] case with prejudice where subject matter jurisdiction does not exist").
Finally, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), the Court must dismiss a case for which an IFP application has been submitted if the Court finds that the action "is frivolous or malicious." Even if Miller could show that the Court has jurisdiction over this matter, this Court would recommend that the action be dismissed under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). The allegations brought in Miller's complaint range from fanciful to incomprehensible, and it appears the action was brought simply to ensnare certain cynosures in federal litigation. Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) requires that vexatious litigation such as this be dismissed at the outset, even where jurisdiction is otherwise present. And as explained above, Miller has not stated a viable cause of action in any event.
For these reasons, the Court recommends that this action be dismissed, and that Miller's IFP application be denied.
Accordingly, based on all the files, records, and proceedings herein IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that:
1. Plaintiff Selina Miller's application to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. No. 2] be DENIED; and
2. The complaint [Doc. No. 1] be SUMMARILY DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).