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Onuachi v. Master Builders Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

February 15, 2018

UJU ONUACHI, Plaintiff,
v.
MASTER BUILDERS, INC., HARRY S. PETERSON COMPANY, WESTERN WATERPROOFING CO., INC., A subsidiary of the Western Group; THE ALLIANCE GROUP INC., MEYLAN ENTERPRASISE INC., ALEGENT HEALTH IMMANUEL MEDICAL CENTER, BODO W. TREU, MD; DAVID A. STERNS, MD; REBECCA S. RUNDLETT, MD; DENNIS R. RIEKENBERG, JOHN R. TIMMERMIER, and JOHN K. GREEN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Laurie Smith Camp Chief United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment, ECF No. 67 (Motion to Alter), filed by Plaintiff Uju Onuachi; the Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 73, filed by Onuachi; the Motion for Permanent Injunction and Attorney's Fees, ECF No. 74, filed by Defendant The Alliance Group Inc.; the Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 76, filed by Onuachi, the Motion for Permanent Injunction and Attorney Fees, ECF No. 81, filed by Defendants Master Builders, Inc., D/B/A Harry S. Peterson Company, Harry S. Peterson Company, and Western Waterproofing Co., Inc., a Subsidiary of The Western Group (collectively, Master Builder); and the Motion for Permanent Injunction and Attorney Fees, ECF No. 85, filed by Defendant Dennis R. Riekenberg. For the reasons stated below, the motions will be denied.

         BACKGROUND

         Onuachi filed the present action in August of 2012, alleging claims for “Fraud in the Concealment, ” “Deformation [sic] of Character, ” “Declaratory Relief, ” “Fraud in the Concealment, ” “Fraud in the Disposal Of, ” “Declaratory Relief, ” “Breach of Applicable Standard of Medical Care, ” “Medical Malpractice, ” “Conversion, ” “Independent Action, ” and “Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.” Compl. ¶¶ 224-341, ECF No. 1, Page ID 61-96. On September 13, 2017, Magistrate Judge Michael D. Nelson entered an Order to Show Cause, ECF No. 21, which stated “[c]onstruing 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” and that “the record reflects there is no diversity of citizenship.” Id., ECF No. 270. Notably, several defendants appear to be citizens of the same state as Onuachi, thus destroying complete diversity.

         Onuachi stated in his response to the show cause order, ECF No. 36 (Response), that “[t]he real-parties-in-interest defendants . . . are Master Builders Inc. d/b/a Harry S. Peterson Company and Harry S. Peterson Company” and thus, complete diversity was present. Id., Page ID 527 (citing Navarro Sav. Ass'n v. Lee, 446 U.S. 458, 461 (1980) (“[A] federal court must disregard nominal or formal parties and rest jurisdiction only upon the citizenship of real parties to the controversy.”)).

         The various defendants filed several motions to dismiss. See ECF Nos. 23, 29, 32, 34, 49, 59, 61, and 63. Onuachi did not respond to the motions.[1] The Court granted the motions to dismiss on December 18, 2017, in an Order, ECF No. 66 (Order of Dismissal), finding that Onuachi's complaint failed to allege sufficient facts to demonstrate that the Court had jurisdiction, and dismissing Onuachi's complaint without prejudice. The Court did not enter judgment at that time. The Order of Dismissal did not address arguments regarding real-parties-in-interest and complete diversity.

         Onuachi filed the Motion to Alter, arguing that he had sufficiently alleged jurisdiction in the Response and the Jurisdictional Statement of his Complaint, ECF No. 1, Page ID 4-5. Also before the Court are three motions to enjoin Onuachi from further filings and for attorney's fees, ECF Nos. 74, 81, & 85, filed by various defendants, due to Onuachi's repeated filing of claims in various courts regarding his work injuries.

         MOTION TO ALTER, ECF NO. 67, AND MOTIONS TO DISMISS, ECF NOS. 73 & 76

         I. Legal Standard

         “Rule 59(e) motions serve the limited function of correcting ‘manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.'” United States v. Metro. St. Louis Sewer Dist., 440 F.3d 930, 933 (8th Cir. 2006) (quoting Innovative Home Health Care v. P. T.-O. T. Assoc. of the Black Hills, 141 F.3d 1284, 1286 (8th Cir. 1998)). “Such motions cannot be used to introduce new evidence, tender new legal theories, or raise arguments which could have been offered or raised prior to entry of judgment.” Id. (quoting Innovative Home Health Care v. P. T.-O. T. Assoc. of the Black Hills, 141 F.3d 1284, 1286 (8th Cir. 1998)).

         II. Discussion

         In his Motion to Alter, Onuachi essentially argues that the Order of Dismissal was manifestly erroneous because the Court overlooked the Complaint's jurisdictional statement and the Response.

         As addressed in the Order of Dismissal, the Complaint does not properly allege the citizenship of multiple defendants, although it implies that some defendants are citizens of Nebraska, as is Onuachi. The Jurisdictional Statement invokes both the Court's diversity jurisdiction and federal question jurisdiction, but it does not establish complete diversity or cite a statutory basis for any of its claims.[2]

         In his Response, Onuachi argues that complete diversity is present because the Court should only consider “real-parties-in-interest” in determining diversity, and that these real defendants are citizens of states different from Onuachi's state of citizenship. Oniachi argues that Defendants Green, Timmermier, Riekenberg, ...


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