United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage
RENÉE MARIE BUMB, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Frank Roy (the “Plaintiff”) has refiled
complaints previously filed in case numbers 18-11802,
18-11805, and 18-11803. In the previous cases, Plaintiff
applied for IFP status, and upon screening of the complaints,
the Court held that Plaintiff had failed to adequately
establish this Court's subject matter jurisdiction. In
the instant suits, perhaps in an attempt to avoid screening
of the complaints, Plaintiff has paid the filing fees.
Nonetheless, even when a plaintiff does not seek IFP status,
federal courts have an independent obligation to address
issues of subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte,
and may do so at any stage of the litigation. Zambelli
Fireworks Mfg. Co. v. Wood, 592 F.3d 412, 418 (3d Cir.
2010); Lincoln Ben. Life Co. v. AEI Life, LLC, 800
F.3d 99, 104 (3d Cir. 2015). Moreover, Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8(a)(1) requires that a complaint must
“contain a short and plain statement of the grounds for
the court's jurisdiction.” Failure to adequately
plead the Court's jurisdiction is grounds for dismissal.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) (“If the court
determines at any time that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”). The
Court cannot determine the basis for exercising subject
matter jurisdiction in the above-captioned cases.
Plaintiff is seeking to bring each of these matters in front
of the Court on the basis of diversity of citizenship
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, Plaintiff must properly
allege the citizenship of each defendant. Pursuant to §
1332, the matter in controversy must be between
“citizens of different states” and the
citizenship of each party must be alleged specifically.
See S. Freedman & Co. v. Raab, 180 Fed.Appx.
316, 320 (3d Cir. 2006) (holding that citizenship is to be
alleged “affirmatively and
distinctly”). The Court notes that for purposes of
diversity jurisdiction, a corporation is deemed to be a
citizen of both the state where it has been incorporated and
the state where it has its principal place of business, 28
U.S.C. § 1332 (c)(1), and the matter in controversy must
exceed “the sum or value of $75, 000. . . .”
Moreover, with respect to natural persons, the Court notes
that residency is not tantamount to citizenship. McCann
v. Newman Irrevocable Tr., 458 F.3d 281, 286 (3d Cir.
2006). Finally, while courts “generally accept a
party's good faith allegation of the amount in
controversy, ” “where . . . the court challenges
the . . . allegations regarding the amount in question, the
[party] who seeks the assistance of the federal courts must
produce sufficient evidence to justify its claims.”
Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. v. Tarbuck,
62 F.3d 538, 541 (3d Cir. 1995) (citation omitted).
Court also has subject matter jurisdiction when a federal
question is presented. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. To the extent
Plaintiff is alleging a constitutional violation, he must
allege that the defendant acted “under color” of
state law; 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is the vehicle.
“[C]onduct satisfying the state action requirement of
the Fourteenth Amendment satisfies [Section 1983's]
requirement of action under color of state law.”
Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 935 n.18
(1982). “Like the state action requirement of the
Fourteenth Amendment, the under color of state law element of
§ 1983 excludes from its reach ‘“merely
private conduct, no matter how discriminatory or
wrongful.”'” American Mfrs. Mut. Ins. Co.
v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40, 50 (1999)(quoting Blum v.
Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991, 1002 (1982)(quoting Shelley
v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, 13 (1948))). Liability under
Section 1983 “attaches only to those wrongdoers
‘who carry a badge of authority of a State and
represent it in some capacity, whether they act in accordance
with their authority or misuse it.'” National
Collegiate Athletic Ass'n v. Tarkanian, 488 U.S.
179, 191 (1988) (quoting Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 172
(1961)). “The traditional definition of acting under
color of state law requires that the defendant in a §
1983 action have exercised power ‘possessed by virtue
of state law and made possible only because the wrongdoer is
clothed with the authority of state law.'” West
v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49 (1988)(quoting United
States v. Classic, 313 U.S. 299, 326 (1941)).
“[T]o act ‘under color of' state law for
§ 1983 purposes does not require that the defendant be
an officer of the State. It is enough that he is a willful
participant in joint action with the State or its agents.
Private persons, jointly engaged with state officials in the
challenged action, are acting see [sic] ‘under
color' of law for purposes of § 1983 actions.”
Dennis v. Sparks, 449 U.S. 24, 27-28 (1980) (citing
Adickes v. S. H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 152
(1970); United States v. Price, 383 U.S. 787, 794
(1966)); see also, Abbott v. Latshaw, 164
F.3d 141, 147-48 (3d Cir. 1998). “[A]n otherwise
private person acts ‘under color of' state law when
engaged in a conspiracy with state officials to deprive
another of federal rights.” Tower v. Glover,
467 U.S. 914, 920 (1984) (citing Dennis, 449 U.S. at
27 28). Plaintiff has failed to allege joint action under
color of state law in each action.
IT IS HEREBY on this 16th
day of August 2018,
ORDERED that each Complaint is dismissed
without prejudice, but that within thirty (30) days of the
date of entry of this Order, Plaintiff shall file amended
complaints curing, if possible, the deficiencies identified
FURTHER ORDERED that if Plaintiff fails to
file such amended complaints within thirty (30) days of the
date of entry of this Order, Plaintiff's complaints in
the above-captioned matters will remain dismissed by the
Court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
 Complete diversity is required. That
is, “the citizenship of each plaintiff [must be]
diverse from the citizenship of each defendant.”
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