United States District Court, D. Minnesota
ARTHUR A. PATTERSON, Plaintiff,
BOB BONO and BARB JEANETTA, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
N. Leung United States Magistrate Judge
Arthur A. Patterson initiated this action by filing a
complaint that was nearly blank. See ECF No. 1.
Because Patterson had applied for in forma pauperis
(“IFP”) status, his complaint was subject to
review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
See ECF No. 2. Upon conducting that review, this
Court informed Patterson that his pleading, such as it was,
did not state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
See ECF No. 3. Rather than recommend dismissal of
this action, however, this Court afforded Patterson an
opportunity to submit an amended complaint. Id. This
Court has since received a document that has been docketed as
a letter to the Court, but which may fairly be interpreted as
an amended pleading. See ECF No. 4. That document is
now before the Court for review.
Rule 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
“[i]f the court determines at any time that it lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the
action.” The complaint alleges, speaking broadly, that
Patterson was mistreated as a tenant while renting property
from the defendants. In his original pleading, Patterson
contended that this Court had jurisdiction over this matter
because it presented a federal question of law. See
ECF No. 1 at 3 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1331). But neither
the original nor the amended pleading cite a specific federal
statute or cause of action. Patterson does allege
that he was discriminated against on the basis of his race by
the defendants, and the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”),
42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., prohibits racial
discrimination in the rental of housing. But Patterson does
not include allegations demonstrating that the defendants
fall within the ambit of the FHA, and Patterson's
allegations that the actions of the defendants were motivated
by racial animus are conclusory; there is no basis from the
complaint from which a factfinder could conclude, even taking
each of the non-conclusory allegations as true, that
Patterson's race was a motivating factor in the events at
allegations are more suggestive of claims arising under state
law related to breach of contract, harassment, and
tenants' rights. Section 1331, however, does not provide
a basis for subject-jurisdiction over these state-law claims.
Moreover, there is no reason from either the original or
amended pleading to believe that the parties are of diverse
citizenship, and thus 28 U.S.C. § 1332 cannot provide a
basis for subject- matter jurisdiction either. By all
indications, this matter belongs in state court, not federal
plaintiff to this action, Patterson has an affirmative
obligation to establish the subject-matter jurisdiction of
the Court. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(1). Because
Patterson has failed to do so, this Court now recommends that
the matter be dismissed without prejudice. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3).
on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and
proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED THAT:
matter be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for lack of
application to proceed in forma pauperis of
Plaintiff Arthur A. Patterson [ECF No. 2] be DENIED AS MOOT.
Objections: This Report and Recommendation is not an
order or judgment of the District Court and is therefore not
appealable directly to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Local Rule 72.2(b)(1), “a party may file and serve
specific written objections to a magistrate judge's
proposed finding and recommendations within 14 days after
being served a copy” of the Report and Recommendation.
A party may respond to those objections within 14 days after
being served a copy of the objections. See Local
Rule 72.2(b)(2). All objections and responses must comply
with the word or line limits set forth in Local Rule 72.2(c).