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Long & Foster Real Estate v. Smith

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

September 13, 2017

LONG & FOSTER REAL ESTATE, Plaintiff,
v.
ED SMITH, Defendant.

          Michael S. Greenblatt Greenblatt & Lieberman, LLC On behalf of Plaintiff

          Ed Smith Pro Se Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         This matter having come before the Court by way of Defendant's application to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP application”) [1-2] in this action submitted on September 5, 2017 as an exhibit to Defendant's Notice of Removal [1] submitted to the Court on the same date; and

         The Court recognizing that when a non-prisoner seeks permission to file a Notice of Removal in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, [1] the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) requires the person[2] to submit an application that includes a statement of all assets and that the person is unable to pay such fees or give security, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a); and The Court recognizing that the decision to grant or deny an IFP application is based solely on the economic eligibility of the petitioner, see Sinwell v. Shapp, 536 F.2d 15, 19 (3d Cir. 1976); and

         The Court having reviewed Defendant's IFP application, and Defendant having signed the application declaring under penalty of perjury that he is unable to pay the costs of these proceedings; and

         Accordingly, based on this information, the Court hereby grants Defendant's application to proceed in forma pauperis in this case and directs the Clerk to file the Notice of Removal in this action; and

         The Court noting that under the PLRA the Court, prior to docketing or as soon as practicable after docketing, must also review the Notice of Removal in a civil action in which a defendant is proceeding in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The PLRA requires the Court to sua sponte dismiss any claim if the Court determines that it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id.; and

         The Court further noting that a “document filed pro se is ‘to be liberally construed, ' . . . and ‘a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, '” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citations omitted); see also Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); and

         The Court recognizing that federal courts also have an independent obligation to address issues of subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte and may do so at any stage of the litigation, see Adamczewski v. Emerson Elec. Co., No. 10-4862, 2011 WL 1045162, at *1 (D.N.J. Mar. 22, 2011) (citing Meritcare Inc. v. St. Paul Mercury Ins. Co., 166 F.3d 214, 217 (3d Cir. 1999), overruled on other grounds by Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Svcs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546 (2005)); see also Zambelli Fireworks Mfg. Co. v. Wood, 592 F.3d 412, 418 (3d Cir. 2010) (“Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and when there is a question as to our authority to hear a dispute, ‘it is incumbent upon the courts to resolve such doubts, one way or the other, before proceeding to a disposition on the merits.'” (citing Carlsberg Res. Corp. v. Cambria Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 554 F.2d 1254, 1256 (3d Cir. 1977))); and

         The Court noting that “[t]he removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441, generally keys removal jurisdiction to original jurisdiction” PAAC v. Rizzo, 502 F.2d 306, 313 (3d Cir. 1974); and

         The Court noting that “[f]ederal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction” which “possess only that power authorized by Constitution and statute.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994); and

         The Court noting that “[o]ne category of cases over which the district courts have original jurisdiction are ‘federal question' cases; that is, those cases ‘arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.'” Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 481 U.S. 58 (1987) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1331); and

         The Court noting that where “removal is predicated upon the assertion of a federal question, . . . the federal question must appear as an essential element of the plaintiff's ...


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