United States District Court, D. Columbia.
JUDITH BERTHA DIAZ, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.
For NEIGHBORS CONSEJO, MILTON SANCHEZ, Defendants: David Reese Warner, LEAD ATTORNEY, VENABLE LLP, Tysons Corner, VA.
ROSEMARY M. COLLYER, United States District Judge.
Judith Bertha Diaz, who is proceeding pro se, sues Neighbors Consejo and Milton Sanchez for breach of contract, claiming a loss of $24,000. She asserts jurisdiction on the basis of diversity. Defendants have moved to dismiss, arguing that there is no diversity of citizenship between Ms. Diaz and the Defendants and that the amount of damages is below the jurisdictional threshold. For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant the motion and dismiss the Complaint.
Ms. Diaz was employed at Neighbors Consejo between 2008-2012, during which time the non-profit experienced financial difficulties. Compl. [Dkt. 1] at 1. At some point, Ms. Diaz agreed to make a personal loan to Neighbors Consejo in the maximum amount of $24,000. Id. She was terminated in March 2012, at which point the loan was still outstanding. Id. at 2. Neighbors Consejo repaid $7,500 and agreed make monthly installment payments in the amount of $500, which it did until June 2013. Id. Ms. Diaz has repeatedly attempted to contact Milton Sanchez, Interim Executive Director of Neighbors Consejo, and John Steren, chairman of the board, about the loan but has not heard back from them. Id. She seeks damages of " $24,000 for the remainder of the loan, emotional distress and damages." Id.
Ms. Diaz is a resident of the District of Columbia. Id. at 1. The address for Neighbors Consejo and Milton Sanchez is identified as 3118 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20010. Id.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
A. Motion to Dismiss
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), a defendant may move to dismiss a complaint, or any portion thereof, for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). When reviewing a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1), a court must review the complaint liberally, granting the plaintiff the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged. Barr v. Clinton, 370 F.3d 1196, 1199, 361 U.S.App.D.C. 472 (D.C. Cir. 2004). Nevertheless, " the court need not accept factual inferences drawn by plaintiffs if those inferences are not supported by facts alleged in the complaint, nor must the Court accept plaintiff's legal conclusions." Speelman v. United States, 461 F.Supp.2d 71, 73 (D.D.C. 2006).
No action of the parties can confer subject matter jurisdiction on a federal court because subject matter jurisdiction is an Article III and a statutory requirement. Akinseye v. District of Columbia, 339 F.3d 970, 971, 358 U.S.App.D.C. 56 (D.C. Cir. 2003). The party claiming subject matter jurisdiction bears the burden of demonstrating that such jurisdiction exists. Khadr v. United States, 529 F.3d 1112, 1115, 381 U.S.App.D.C. 408 (D.C. Cir. 2008); see Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am.,
511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994) (noting that federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and " [i]t is to be presumed that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party ...