United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Richard G. Kopf Senior United States District Judge.
matter is before the court on initial review of
Plaintiff’s Complaint. (Filing No. 1.) For the
reasons that follow, the court finds it does not have subject
matter jurisdiction over this suit. Therefore, this action
will be dismissed.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
a non-prisoner, alleges that while he was incarcerated,
Defendant cashed two of his social security checks. The
checks totaled $1, 466.00. Plaintiff seeks reimbursement from
STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW
court is required to review in forma pauperis complaints to
determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The court must dismiss
a complaint or any portion of it that states a frivolous or
malicious claim, that fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
plaintiffs must set forth enough factual allegations to
“nudge their claims across the line from conceivable
to plausible, ” or “their complaint must be
dismissed.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 569-70 (2007); see also Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged”).
essential function of a complaint under the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure is to give the opposing party ‘fair
notice of the nature and basis or grounds for a claim, and a
general indication of the type of litigation
involved.’” Topchian v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,
N.A., 760 F.3d 843, 848 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Hopkins v. Saunders, 199 F.3d 968, 973 (8th Cir.
1999)). However, “[a] pro se complaint must be
liberally construed, and pro se litigants are held to a
lesser pleading standard than other parties.”
Topchian, 760 F.3d at 849 (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted).
district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375,
377 (1994). The subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal
district courts is generally set forth in 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331 and 1332. Under these statutes, federal
jurisdiction is available only when the parties are of
diverse citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeds
$75, 000.00, or when a “federal question” is
presented. “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).
matter jurisdiction is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1332, commonly referred to as “diversity of
citizenship” jurisdiction, when “the citizenship
of each plaintiff is different from the citizenship of each
defendant.” Ryan v. Schneider Natl. Carriers,
Inc., 263 F.3d 816, 819 (8th Cir. 2001). In addition,
the amount in controversy must be greater than $75, 000.00.
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
matter jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1331
when a plaintiff asserts a “non-frivolous claim of a
right or remedy under a federal statute, ” the
Constitution, or treaties of the United States, commonly
referred to as “federal question” jurisdiction.
Northwest South Dakota Prod. Credit Ass’n v.
Smith, 784 F.2d 323, 325 (8th Cir. 1986).
it is clear that this court does not have subject matter
jurisdiction. Diversity jurisdiction is lacking because all
parties are Nebraska residents and the amount in controversy
is less than $75, 000.00. Moreover, the Complaint does not
contain facts suggesting the existence of federal question
jurisdiction. Plaintiff does not allege that the constitution
or any specific federal statute was violated by the a lleged
theft. (Filing No. 1.) Moreover, courts have found
that civil cases alleging theft of social security checks
should be heard in state, rather than federal, courts.
See Howard v. Howard, C/A No.
3:10-2514-CMC-JRM, 2010 WL 5055936, *2 (D. S.C. Nov.
16, 2010) (finding no subject matter jurisdiction in case
dealing with theft of social security checks, reasoning that
actions involving conversion of property “are a matter
of state law to be heard in the state courts, unless
diversity jurisdiction is present”). See also
Chavin v. Cole Taylor Bank, No. 06-C-6856, 2007 WL
528374, (N.D. Ill. Feb. 14, 2007) (dismissing case based on
theft of social security checks for lack of subject matter
THEREFORE ORDERED that this case is dismissed without
prejudice to reassertion in the proper forum. Judgment ...