United States District Court, District of Columbia
February 18, 2014
Alexander Otis Matthews, Plaintiff,
Michael Richard Pauze, Defendant.
This matter is before the Court on plaintiff s pro se Complaint and application to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court will grant plaintiffs application and dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
The subject matter jurisdiction of the federal district courts is limited and is set forth generally at 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332. Under those statutes, federal jurisdiction is available only when a "federal question" is presented or the parties are of diverse citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. A party seeking relief in the district court must at least plead facts that bring the suit within the court's jurisdiction. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Failure to plead such facts warrants dismissal of the action. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3).
Plaintiff, a prisoner at the Federal Prison Camp in Berlin, New Hampshire, sues the then-Assistant United States Attorney who prosecuted him for mortgage fraud in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, prior to the case being transferred to the Eastern District of Virginia. Compl. ¶¶ 2-3. Plaintiff alleges that defendant "knew ... as early as [his] initial appearance" that plaintiffs defense counsel had also represented the plaintiffs co- defendant who "became the government's chief witness against the [plaintiff]" but failed to notify the court of the conflict. Id. ¶¶ 4, 7. Plaintiff wants this Court to "appropriately discipline the [defendant] for his actions . . . ." Id. at 9.
The complaint neither presents a federal question nor pleads the requisite amount in controversy to establish diversity jurisdiction, and the authority to discipline attorneys under the supervision of this Court (not alleged to be the case here) is conferred upon the Committee on Grievances. LCvR 83.14; see LCvR 83.12 ("Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement"); LCvR 83.16(d) (lodging a complaint of misconduct). Hence, this case will be dismissed. A separate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.