United States District Court, D. New Jersey
OPINION & ORDER
Michael Vazquez, U.S.D.J.
MATTER comes before the Court by way of
Defendant/Counter-Claimant Roland Games' notice of
removal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Special Civil
Part, in Essex County, D.E. 1, and his subsequent application
to proceed in forma pauperis. D.E. 3.
Section 1915, this Court may excuse a litigant from
prepayment of fees when the litigant "establishes] that
he is unable to pay the costs of his suit." Walker
v. People Express Airlines, Inc., 886 F.2d 598, 601 (3d
Cir. 1989). If Plaintiff sufficiently establishes his
inability to pay, and the Court grants his application to
proceed in forma pauperis without prepayment of fees
and costs. However, when allowing a plaintiff to proceed
in forma pauperis, the Court must review the
complaint and dismiss the action if it determines that the
action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against
a defendant who is immune. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
threshold matter, Plaintiff has not set forth a basis for the
Court's subject matter jurisdiction. "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.'" Zambelli Fireworks Mfg. Co. v.
Wood, 592 F.3d 412, 418 (3d Cir. 2010) (quoting
Carlsberg Res. Corp. v. Cambria Sav. & Loan
Ass'n, 554 F.2d 1254, 1256 (3d Cir. 1977)).
"Federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction over a
case if it satisfies federal question jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1331, or diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332." Hines v. Irvington Counseling
Ctr., 933 F.Supp. 382, 387 (D.N.J. 1996). Pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1331, "[t]he district courts shall have
original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States."
"[A] claim arises under federal law if federal law
creates the cause of action." Empire Healthchoice
Assur., Inc. v. McVeigh, 547 U.S. 677, 706 (2006)
(quoting Merrell Dow Pharm. Inc. v. Thompson, 478
U.S. 804, 808 (1986)). To establish diversity jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), "the party
asserting jurisdiction must show that there is complete
diversity of citizenship among the parties" as well as
an amount in controversy exceeding the statutory threshold.
Schneller ex rel Schneller v. Crozer Chester Med.
Ctr., 387 Fed.App'x 289, 292 (3d Cir. 2010).
matter, Games invokes federal question jurisdiction. D.E. 1
at 2; D.E. 1-3. As to his alleged causes of action, Games
refers to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and indicates a lack of
"Due Process, theft by deception, intrinsic and
extrinsic fraud." D.E. 1-3. Thus, it appears that Games
is invoking federal question jurisdiction pursuant to Section
noted, the matter was removed from the Superior Court of New
Jersey, Special Civil Part, in Essex County. D.E. 1-2 at 1.
The underlying matter appears to center around Plaintiff
holding a tax sale certificate for a property located in East
Orange, New Jersey. Id. at 9, 11. According to
Plaintiff, no one offered to pay (or paid) the outstanding
balance due on the tax certificate for more than two years
after Plaintiff acquired the tax certificate. Id. at
9. Defendant Games appears to be claiming that in connection
with the Essex County court proceedings, a false verification
was filed by Plaintiff so that any judgment obtained would be
fraudulent and "void on its face." Id. at
invoking jurisdiction pursuant to Section 1983, Defendant
Games' allegations are clearly deficient. For example,
there is no "state actor" as required by Section
1983; instead the case seems to involve a dispute among a
private entity (Plaintiff) and private citizens (including
Defendant Games). Moreover, neither theft by deception nor
common law fraud raise federal questions. Because there is no
federal question, the Court lacks subject matter
and for good cause shown, IT IS on this 28th day
of September, 2017;
this matter is REMANDED to Superior Court of
New Jersey, Essex County, because this Court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction; and it further
that the Clerk's Office shall mail a copy of this Opinion
and Order to Defendant Games by certified mail return
receipt; and it is further
that the Clerk's Office shall close the above-captioned
 Although not raised by Defendant
Games, there also appears to be no basis for diversity
citizenship. Citizenship of an LLC, like Plaintiff, is
determined by the respective citizenship of its members.
Zambelli Fireworks Mfg. Co., Inc. v. Wood, 592 F.3d
412, 420 (3d Cir. 2010). Defendant Games makes no showing
that every member of the LLC is not domiciled in New Jersey.
Yet, even if no member of the LLC was domiciled in New
Jersey, the amount in controversy does not satisfy the
statutory minimum of $75, 000. 28 ...