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Okechuku v. Sharp Mgmt.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

December 19, 2014

MICHAEL OKECHUKU, Plaintiff,
v.
SHARP MANAGEMENT, Defendant

For MICHAEL I. OKECHUKU, Plaintiff: ANTHONY SODONO, III, LEAD ATTORNEY, TRENK DIPASQUALE et. al., WEST ORANGE, NJ; MICHELE M. DUDAS, LEAD ATTORNEY, TRENK, DIPASQUALE, DELLA FERA & SODONO, PC, WEST ORANGE, NJ.

For SHARP MANAGEMENT, Defendant: DANIEL M. ELIADES, LEAD ATTORNEY, FORMAN HOLT ELIADES RAVIN & YOUNGMAN LLC, PARAMUS, NJ.

Page 763

OPINION & ORDER

CLAIRE C. CECCHI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court upon motion of Defendant Sharp Management (" Defendant" ) to dismiss Plaintiff Michael Okechuku's (" Plaintiff') complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). [ECF No. 3.] Plaintiff opposes the motion. [ECF No. 4.] No oral argument was heard. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 78. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is granted.

II. BACKGROUND

Norman Sheet Metal & Mechanical Corp. (" NSM& M" ) is a New Jersey corporation with its principal place of business in New Jersey. On October 5. 2010. NSM& M filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code and, the next day, Plaintiff was appointed Chapter 7 trustee for NSM& M. Plaintiff alleges that NSM& M provided goods and/or services totaling $122,297.68 to Defendant without compensation and, accordingly, demanded this amount from Defendant via letter dated September 12, 2012. On January 9,2013, Plaintiff filed an adversary complaint in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey seeking, inter alia, the turnover of accounts receivable by Defendant. In June 2013. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's adversary complaint in the Bankruptcy Court on permissive abstention and jurisdictional grounds. Plaintiff opposed that motion.

Defendant had also filed a motion to withdraw--which Plaintiff did not oppose--seeking entry of an order by this Court withdrawing reference to the Bankruptcy Court of the adversary proceeding. On March 25, 2014, the Court granted Defendant's motion to withdraw and concomitantly transferred the case to this Court. Defendant then filed the instant motion to dismiss, alleging that the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear this suit.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal courts have only limited jurisdiction to entertain certain lawsuits and therefore the party seeking to invoke federal court jurisdiction bears the burden of proving subject matter jurisdiction. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). Federal courts may examine, sua sponte, whether subject matter jurisdiction exists in a particular suit, Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 94, 130 S.Ct. 1181, 175 L.Ed.2d 1029 (2010), or a party may challenge subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). Here, pursuant to 12(b)(1), Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Under Rule 12(b)(1), " the [C]ourt's jurisdiction may be challenged either facially (based on the legal sufficiency of the claim) or factually (based on the sufficiency of a jurisdictional fact)." Ezeiruaku v. Bull, 2014 WL 5587404, at *3 (D.N.J. Nov. 3. 2014) (citing Gould Electronics Inc. v. United States,

Page 764

220 F.3d 169, 178 (3d Cir.2000)), " The substantive distinction between a facial attack and a factual attack is that in a facial attack the defendant contests the sufficiency of the complaint, while a factual attack challenges the existence in fact of federal subject matter jurisdiction." LaLoup v. United States, 29 F.Supp.3d 530, 2014 WL 3361804, at *3 (E.D. Pa. July 10, 2014). In considering a facial challenge to subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1), as here, the Court considers " the allegations of the complaint and documents referenced therein and attached thereto, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Gould, 220 F.3d at 176; Taliaferro v. Darby Twp. Zoning Bd., 458 F.3d 181, 188 (3d Cir.2006). Accordingly, the complaint must be dismissed if the allegations on the face ...


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