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Holdren v. The W VA Coalition to End Homelessness

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Martinsburg

May 31, 2018

DANIEL HOLDREN, Plaintiff,
v.
THE W VA COALITION TO END HOMELESSNESS, Defendant.

          GROH, JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ROBERT W. TRUMBLE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Daniel Holdren's (“Plaintiff”) pro se Motion [ECF No. 2] for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis.[1] Because Plaintiff seeks to proceed without prepaying fees, the undersigned must conduct a preliminary review to determine whether Plaintiff's pro se Complaint [ECF No. 1] sets forth any viable claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Although Plaintiff's Complaint is far from clear, the undersigned nevertheless concludes that this Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over his claims. Accordingly, the undersigned recommends that Plaintiff's complaint be dismissed without prejudice and that Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis be denied as moot.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. The Facts

         April 30, 2018, the West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness (“Defendant”) filed a complaint in the Magistrate Court of Berkeley County, West Virginia, arguing that Plaintiff-having been given thirty days' notice-should be removed from the property and not allowed to return because Plaintiff is not eligible for the housing program and has not signed a lease for the property. ECF No. 1-2 at 4. On May 9, 2018, Plaintiff filed an answer to the complaint denying the allegations and arguing that he is in compliance under “Federal Guidelines.” On May 25, 2018, the Berkeley County Magistrate Court notified Plaintiff to appear for a hearing, which would be held on May 31, 2018. ECF No. 1-1 at 1.

         B. The Complaint

         Five days later, on May 30, 2018, Plaintiff filed the instant pro se Complaint in this Court arguing that he is entitled to relief because he is in compliance with “Federal Guidelines.” ECF No. 1 at 1. On his Civil Cover Sheet, under “Basis of Jurisdiction, ” Plaintiff checked the boxes indicating that both the plaintiff and the defendant are the U.S. Government. ECF No. 1-8 at 1. In addition, under “Citizenship of Principal Parties, ” Plaintiff notes that both Plaintiff and Defendant are citizens of “This State, ” meaning West Virginia. Id.

         The undersigned addresses the merits of Plaintiff's complaint below.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         If a “court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3); see also Brickwood Contractors, Inc. v. Datanet Eng'g, Inc., 369 F.3d 385, 390 (4th Cir. 2004) (stating that “questions of subject-matter jurisdiction may be raised at any point during the proceedings and may (or, more precisely, must) be raised sua sponte by the court”). Subject-matter jurisdiction in federal courts must be based on diversity jurisdiction or federal-question jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332. Diversity jurisdiction has two requirements: First, there must be complete diversity of citizenship, meaning that each plaintiff is a citizen of a different state than each defendant. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Second, the amount in controversy must exceed $75, 000.00. Id. By contrast, federal-question jurisdiction only requires that the action “aris[e] under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Pursuant to the well-pleaded complaint rule, “a federal question must appear on the face of [the] plaintiff's . . . complaint.” Sharp v. AT & T Commc'ns, 660 F.Supp. 650, 650 (N.D. W.Va. 1987).

         B. The Court Lacks Subject ...


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