United States District Court, D. Nebraska
Gossett United States Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the court sua sponte after review
of the plaintiff’s complaint (Filing No. 1).
plaintiff, Richard Hood (“Hood”) filed this
action on June 6, 2016, in the United States District Court
for the District of Nebraska. Hood alleges he owns and lives
on 132 acres of irrigated crop ground. The complaint states
that on May 8, 2013, Hood entered into a contract
(“Cash Farm Lease”) with the defendant to farm
132 acres of corn on the property. (Filing No. 1 at pp. 1,
13). The defendant was to pay $12, 000 “upfront,
” but failed to do so. Hood alleges the defendant
“voided” the contract by failing to pay and
became a “trespass[er] on the Plaintiff[’]s
property. (Filing No. 1 at p. 1). Hood alleges the
“lease was not acknowledged or recorded” so under
a Nebraska statute, Hood was not required to give notice of
termination of the lease. (Filing No. 1 at p. 2).
alleges that on July 23, 2013, hail destroyed the
defendant’s entire crop of 5, 280 bushels. Hood alleges
the defendant paid Hood $4.17 per bushel instead of the
market price of $5.65 per bushel, and owes Hood the
difference of $7, 814.40. (Filing No. 1 at pp. 1-2). Hood
also alleges that, although the contract was for corn only,
the defendant “drilled in cane, ” and harvested
the cane for forage and “hauled the baled cane off of
the leased ground.” (Filing No. 1 at p. 2). Hood
alleges he was entitled to the forage from the corn crop and
the defendant denied Hood use of cornstalk forage by planting
complaint contains further grievances against the defendant,
including that the defendant: “destroyed 3 pivot tires
and rims on the pivot by running the pivot on flat
tires;” “broke off 6 fence posts while turning
machinery around at the edge of the field;” failed to
“fill in the washouts;” “removed the end
gun from the pivot” replacing it with a “garden
sprinkler;” and cut a hole “into the well casing
to install a flow meter” causing the galvanized pipe to
overheat and rust. (Filing No. 1 at p. 2). Hood’s
complaint contains an “Itemized Table of
Expenses” for amounts he alleges the defendant owes for
the corn, cane forage, pivot damage, washout repair, attorney
fees, and interest. The total amount Hood alleges the
defendant owes is $29, 037.22. (Filing No. 1 at pp. 3-4).
Hood “prays for judgment against the Defendant for
damages and Trespass against the Plaintiffs Civil Rights in
the amount of [$27, 782.47]; plus allowable prejudgment
interest, interest on all unpaid balances due to the
Plaintiff, for the Plaintiff recover his costs as the Court
may deem just and equitable.” (Filing No. 1 at p. 5).
attachments to the complaint indicate the land, Hood, and the
defendant are all located in Lewellen, Nebraska. (Filing No.
1 at p. 6). The attachments to the complaint also reflect the
defendant in this case previously commenced an action against
Hood in Nebraska state court on September 4, 2014, alleging
Hood breached the same Cash Farm Lease at issue in this case
by failing to properly terminate it. (Filing No. 1 at pp.
federal court not only has the power but also the obligation
at any time to inquire into jurisdiction whenever the
possibility that jurisdiction does not exist arises.”
Fitzgerald v. Seaboard Sys. R.R., Inc., 760 F.2d
1249, 1251 (11th Cir. 1985) (citing Philbrook v.
Glodgett, 421 U.S. 707 (1975)). “If the court
determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3). “A party invoking federal
jurisdiction has the burden of establishing that he has the
right to assert his claim in federal court.”
281 Care Comm. v. Arneson, 638 F.3d 621,
627 (8th Cir. 2011). “It is a fundamental precept that
federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. The limits
upon federal jurisdiction, whether imposed by the
Constitution or by Congress, must be neither disregarded nor
evaded.” Owen Equip. & Erection Co. v.
Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 374 (1978). “[C]onclusory
allegations do not provide an adequate basis for determining
this court’s jurisdiction.” Jil McCorkindale
v. Am. Home Assurance Co./A.I.C., 909 F.Supp. 646, 656
(N.D. Iowa 1995).
district court can attain subject-matter jurisdiction under
federal question or diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331-32. A district court’s federal
question jurisdiction extends to “all civil actions
arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
United States.” See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Diversity
jurisdiction is limited to cases in which the
“controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs, and is between . . .
citizens of different States[.]” See 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a). “[P]ro se complaints are to be construed
liberally[.]” Stringer v. St. James R-1 Sch.
Dist., 446 F.3d 799, 802 (8th Cir. 2006).
the plaintiff’s complaint liberally, the complaint
fails to show any manner in which this court could find a
basis for jurisdiction based on either diversity of
citizenship or a federal question arising under the
Constitution, law, or treaties of the United States.
See 28 U.S.C. ' 1331, 1332. Diversity
jurisdiction is not met because the plaintiff does not seek
monetary relief in excess of the jurisdictional minimum.
Moreover, although the plaintiff does not specifically allege
the citizenship of the parties, all the documents presently
before the court reflect both parties live in Nebraska.
Additionally, the plaintiff’s claims do not
sufficiently allege a claim under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States. Hood’s conclusory
allegation that he seeks damages for the defendant’s
“Trespass against the Plaintiffs Civil Rights”
does not provide an adequate basis for determining this
court’s jurisdiction. The plaintiff’s complaint
appears to concern a contract dispute regarding a lease of
Nebraska farmland, which dispute may have been previously
litigated in Nebraska state court. Accordingly, the plaintiff
shall have an opportunity to show cause why this matter
should not be summarily dismissed for lack of subject matter
ORDERED: The plaintiff shall have to on or before July 8,
2016, to show cause why this matter should not be dismissed