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ALLEN v. REHMAN
December 8, 2000
CARLOS ALLEN, PLAINTIFF,
MIKE REHMAN AND WILLIAM PANOS, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Urbina, District Judge.
DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION
The plaintiff brings this breach-of-contract action based on an alleged
investment he made in a nightclub owned by the defendants. The
plaintiff; Carlos Allen ("the plaintiff" or "Mr. Allen"), proceeding pro
se, alleges that the defendants, Mike Rehman and William Panos ("the
defendants"), violated a verbal agreement to give the plaintiff a
10-percent equity share and a management role in a Washington, D.C.
nightclub in exchange for the plaintiffs $30,000 investment. Because the
amount in controversy is less than $75,000, the court lacks diversity
jurisdiction. Accordingly, the court will dismiss the plaintiff's
complaint sua sponte for lack of diversity jurisdiction under Title
28 U.S.C. § 1332 ("section 1332").
Carlos Allen, a Maryland resident, claims that on July 1, 2000 at 9:30
p.m., he entered into a verbal agreement with Washington, D.C. residents
Mike Rehman and William Panos to invest in their nightclub called "Club
Element." See Compl. at 1. Mr. Allen alleges that the deal called for him
to invest $30,000 in Club Element in exchange for a 10-percent equity
share and a management role. See id. According to the complaint:
The defendants were in desperate need for the cash
flow and plaintiff Carlos Allen provided the funds
they needed. Plaintiff Carlos Allen wrote out a blank
check and did not write a check out to the night club
on the advice of co defendant [sic] William Panos who
suggested not to place the check into their club's
name because the banks will deduct [sic] the funds
because of all the bad checks they had written. . . .
The check was post dated for 7/11/2000 and was cashed
5 days before it was officially supposed to be cashed
on 7/6/2000. None of the defendants came back to the
plaintiff and declined the verbal agreement, until all
the funds were deplited [sic].
A district court shall have original jurisdiction over a civil action
"where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000,
exclusive of interests and costs," and is between, among other things,
"citizens of different states." See 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The Supreme
Court has held that a district court should dismiss a case for failure to
meet the jurisdictional amount requirement only if it is a "legal
certainty" that the plaintiff cannot recover more than the minimum
jurisdictional amount. See St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Co. v. Red Cab
Co., 303 U.S. 283, 288, 58 S.Ct. 586, 82 L.Ed. 845 (1938). The St Paul
The rule governing dismissal for want of jurisdiction
in cases brought in the federal court is that, unless
the law gives a different rule, the sum claimed by the
plaintiff controls if the claim is apparently made in
good faith. It must appear to a legal certainty that
the claim ...
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