United States District Court, D. Nebraska
Richard Hood, Plaintiff, Pro Se.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
D. THALKEN, Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the court sua sponte. The plaintiff
filed this action on June 6, 2016. See Filing No. 1. On June
14, 2016, the court entered an order requiring the plaintiff
to show cause why his action against the defendant should not
be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. See
Filing No. 4. The plaintiff did not respond to the
case arises from an alleged 2013 agreement between neighbors
for the defendant to farm 132 acres of corn on the
plaintiff's property. See Filing No. 1 - Complaint. The
plaintiff alleges the following facts in the complaint. The
defendant failed to pay an up-front payment prior to
planting, but nevertheless planted corn, which was ultimately
hailed out. Rather than paying the plaintiff the agreed upon
price, the defendant paid a lower price, resulting in a
balance of $7, 814.40 still owing. Also, in violation of the
agreement, the defendant drilled cane into the property, then
harvested the cane, hauling it off the property with the
cornstalk forage, which the plaintiff was entitled to use
under the terms of the agreement. The defendant caused other
damage to the plaintiff's property including destroying
three pivot tires and rims, six fence posts, and a garden
sprinkler. The plaintiff seeks total damages in the amount of
$29, 037.22. Additional evidence in the records shows the
plaintiff and the defendant both live in Lewellen, Nebraska.
See Filing No. 1 at p. 6 - Reminder of Termination of Lease.
Finally, the record shows the plaintiff filed a lawsuit in
the District Court of Garden County, Nebraska, on September
4, 2014. Id. at 10. The Garden County lawsuit
relates to the 2013 agreement between the parties, a hay
delivery agreement, and certain repair costs, and seeks
damages for breach of contract and "compensation"
an amount over $100, 000. Id. at 11-12.
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)); see Amnesty
Int'l, USA v. Battle, 559 F.3d 1170, 1176-77 (11th
Cir. 2009). "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); Knudson v. Sys. Painters, Inc., 634 F.3d
968, 975 (8th Cir. 2011) (noting burden of establishing
federal subject-matter jurisdiction is by a preponderance of
the evidence); Keene Corp. v. United States, 508
U.S. 200, 207-08 (1993) (noting "subject-matter
jurisdiction turns on the facts upon filing" in federal
court); James Neff Kramper Family Farm P'ship v. IBP,
Inc., 393 F.3d 828, 834 (8th Cir. 2005) (The court
judges "the legitimacy of the amount in controversy
based on information known to the court at the time
jurisdiction [is] challenged.'").
federal district court enjoys limited subject-matter
jurisdiction generally referred to as federal question or
diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 1331-1332. 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. Â§ 1331.
By contrast, diversity jurisdiction may include other types
of claims, such as a breach of contract, but applies only to
cases in which the controversy is between citizens of
different States and the potential damages "exceed the
sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and
costs." See 28 U.S.C. Â§ 1332(a).
though "pro 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 fails to sufficiently allege
subject-matter jurisdiction. The facts, as alleged, indicate
there is no diversity jurisdiction as the parties live in the
same state and the amount in controversy is far less than the
jurisdictional prerequisite. Additionally, the plaintiff
alleges the violation of no federal statute and none can be
fairly assumed from the facts. Instead the complaint appears
to allege a breach of contract, which was litigated in
Nebraska state court. The plaintiff failed to respond to the
court's order seeking additional information about
jurisdiction. For these reasons the case should be summarily
dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Upon
RECOMMENDED TO SENIOR JUDGE ROBERT F. ROSSITER, JR. that: The
plaintiff's complaint (Filing No. 1) be dismissed.
to NECivR 72.2 any objection to this Findings and
Recommendation shall be filed with the Clerk of the Court
within fourteen (14) days after being served with a copy of
this Findings and Recommendation. Failure to timely object
may constitute a waiver of any objection. The brief in
support of any objection shall be filed at the time of filing