United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
August 1, 2019, pro se plaintiff Quan Liu filed a
complaint against Stephenson Development, LLC. Compl. [Dkt. #
1]. The complaint is one page and only states that an unnamed
individual “did not pay to live [at] my house. He did
not buy my house. He will not leave my house. How do I make
him leave?” Compl. at 1. Plaintiff attached a number of
documents to the complaint, including a real estate sales
contract, an order from the Court of Special Appeals of
Maryland, real estate property tax invoices, and more.
Id. at 2-55. On October 29, 2019, plaintiff provided
the Court with an affidavit, averring that he owns property
in Maryland, and the property had changed ownership without
his consent or knowledge. See Aff. of Quan Liu [Dkt.
# 2] (“Liu Aff.”) ¶¶ 1-6. On November
7, the Court ordered plaintiff to show cause why the Court
has subject matter jurisdiction over the action by December
2, 2019. Order [Dkt. # 3]. As of December 13, 2019, plaintiff
has not responded.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and the law
presumes that “a cause lies outside this limited
jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994); see also Gen.
Motors Corp. v. EPA, 363 F.3d 442, 448 (D.C. Cir. 2004)
(“As a court of limited jurisdiction, we begin, and
end, with an examination of our jurisdiction.”).
Subject matter jurisdiction may not be waived, and
“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 . . . from acting beyond [its] authority,
and ‘no action of the parties can confer subject-matter
jurisdiction upon a federal court.'” Id.,
quoting Akinseye v. Dist. of Columbia, 339 F.3d 970,
971 (D.C. Cir. 2003).
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 v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 513
(2006). “A plaintiff properly invokes § 1331
jurisdiction when she pleads a colorable claim ‘arising
under' the Constitution or laws of the United States. He
invokes § 1332 jurisdiction when he presents a claim
between parties of diverse citizenship that exceeds the
required jurisdictional amount, currently $75, 000.”
Id. (internal citations omitted).
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 complaint fails to allege facts to
support either diversity of citizenship jurisdiction or
federal question jurisdiction.
the caption of the complaint shows that the parties are all
residents of Maryland. See Compl. at 1. The
diversity statute requires that no two opposing parties on
opposing sides of an action may share states of citizenship.
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1); Caterpillar Inc. v.
Lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 68 (1996). A plaintiff seeking the
exercise of diversity jurisdiction “bears the burden of
pleading the citizenship of each and every party to the
action.” Naartex Consulting Corp. v. Watt, 722
F.2d 779, 792 (D.C. Cir. 1983). Thus, plaintiff has not
alleged facts to establish the existence of diversity
plaintiff does not currently assert any federal questions. In
his affidavit, plaintiff states that he bought a house in
Baltimore, and in 2014 and 2015, he paid taxes and other
bills on the property. Liu Aff ¶¶ 1-2. He then
stopped receiving any bills, and in 2019, found out that the
property had changed ownership. Id. ¶¶
3-6. While plaintiff may have a claim under state property
law, he does not raise a claim under federal law.
the Court will dismiss this case sua sponte pursuant
to Rule 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ...