United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON JUDGE
October 16, 2018, plaintiff Chris DeLeon, proceeding pro
se, filed an application for a temporary restraining
order (“TRO”), see Superior Court
Complaint [Dkt. # 1-1] at 6 (“Sup. Ct. Compl.”),
with the judge in chambers in the District of Columbia
Superior Court. The attached complaint against Elton Artis,
II, in his official capacity as Acting Chief of Police of the
United States Department of Veterans Affairs, stated:
“Plaintiff ha[s] filed a criminal complaint with MPD
and alleges that defendant is a co-conspirator in that
action. Plaintiff ha[s] retained counsel who will file an EEO
and other claims under civil rights & disabilities act
statutes . . . . Defendant seeks to physically confront
plaintiff because plaintiff ha[s] filed the above
actions.” Sup. Ct. Compl. at 5. In response to the
question on the complaint form, “what relief are you
requesting from the Court” plaintiff answered only:
“Plaintiff seeks a restraining order against defendant
not to contact . . . no contact at all. . . .”
Id. No other claim was filed in the action, and
defendant removed the action to this Court on October 19,
2018 on the grounds that he is a federal officer.
See Notice of Removal [Dkt. # 1] (“Notice of
Removal”). On October 31, 2018, the Court ordered
plaintiff to inform the Court if he intends to pursue the TRO
and if so, to show that the requirements of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 65 and D.C. Local Rule 65.1 have been
satisfied. Min. Order (10/31/2018). On November 16, 2018,
plaintiff indicated that he will no longer be pursuing a TRO.
See Pl.'s Resp. to Min. Order [Dkt. # 5]
(“Pl.s' Resp.”). Therefore, there is nothing
pending before the Court to resolve, and the matter must be
dismissed, without prejudice, for lack of subject matter
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only
that power authorized by Constitution and statute, which is
not to be expanded by judicial decree.” Kokkonen v.
Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994).
“It is to be presumed that a cause lies outside this
limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the
contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction.”
Id. In addition, “[i]t is axiomatic that
subject matter jurisdiction may not be waived, and that
courts may raise the issue sua sponte.”
NetworkIP, LLC v. FCC, 548 F.3d 116, 120 (D.C. Cir.
2008), quoting Athens Cmty. Hosp., Inc. v.
Schweiker, 686 F.2d 989, 992 (D.C. Cir. 1982). Indeed, a
federal court must raise the issue because it is
“forbidden - as a court of limited jurisdiction - from
acting beyond [its] authority, and ‘no action of the
parties can confer subject-matter jurisdiction upon a federal
court.'” Id., quoting Akinseye v.
District of Columbia, 339 F.3d 970, 971 (D.C. Cir.
2003). Therefore, a district court may dismiss a complaint
sua sponte when it is evident that the court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3); see
Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006)
(“[W]hen a federal court concludes that it lacks
subject matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the
complaint in its entirety”).
Court generally derives its subject matter jurisdiction from
two federal laws, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332.
“Section 1331 provides for
‘[f]ederal-question' jurisdiction, § 1332 for
‘[d]iversity of citizenship' jurisdiction.”
Arbaugh, 546 U.S. at 513. “A plaintiff
properly invokes § 1331 jurisdiction when she pleads a
colorable claim ‘arising under' the Constitution or
laws of the United States. She invokes § 1332
jurisdiction when she presents a claim between parties of
diverse citizenship that exceeds the required jurisdictional
amount, currently $75, 000.” Id. (internal
the Court is mindful that complaints filed by pro se
litigants must be held to less stringent standards than those
applied to formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, see
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Brown v.
District of Columbia, 514 F.3d 1279, 1283 (D.C. Cir.
2008), plaintiff's allegations in this case neither
present a “federal question suitable for decision,
” Best v. Kelly, 39 F.3d 328, 330 (D.C. Cir.
1994), nor complete diversity of citizenship. Plaintiff's
complaint does not seem to assert any claims against
defendant, let alone any claims that arise under a federal
law or the Constitution. Although plaintiff has indicated
that he intends to file equal employment opportunity claims
and other claims under civil rights and disability laws, no
other complaint has been filed that would provide a basis for
action by this court. See Sup. Ct. Compl. at 5. As
for diversity of citizenship, while plaintiff and defendant
currently reside in different states, id., plaintiff
has not presented any claim that exceeds the required
a complaint that fails to comply with rule 8(a) may also be
dismissed sua sponte. See Brown v. WMATA,
164 F.Supp.3d 33, 35 (D.D.C. 2016) (dismissing case sua
sponte for failure to state a claim for relief under
Rule 8); see also Ciralsky v. CIA, 355 F.3d 661,
668-69 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (finding no abuse of discretion where
district court dismissed a claim for failure to comply with
Rule 8). Rule 8(a) requires “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). The allegations in
plaintiff's complaint do not explain or state a cause of
action under which plaintiff sues. Sup. Ct. Compl. at 5.
Furthermore, the relief that he has requested, a TRO, has
been withdrawn, and no other relief has been requested.
See Pl.'s Resp. at 1.
the Court will dismiss this case sua sponte, without
prejudice, pursuant to Rule 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure for lack of subject ...