United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Richard G. Kopf Senior United States District Judge
granting Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis, the
court now conducts an initial review of Plaintiff's
Complaint and its Supplements (Filing Nos. 1, 7, 8) to
determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
alleges that Defendants, who are apparently affiliated with
the Metropolitan Utilities District (“M.U.D.”) in
Omaha, Nebraska, have illegally charged him for his use of
natural resources. Plaintiff claims that as an
“indigenous people, ” he has an inherent right to
use the land and its resources without payment, and it is
“an act of war and theft of birthrights against the
indigenous peoples of the land” to charge for such use.
(Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 4.)
requests that Defendants forgive what he owes on his M.U.D.
account before the next due date in order “to prevent
shut-off of natural resources.” (Id.) Attached
to Plaintiff's Complaint is an account statement
addressed to “Nicole L Draper” from M.U.D.
showing a balance of $596.00. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF pp.
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, 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).
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).
jurisdiction is also 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).
Under this type of jurisdiction, a plaintiff must allege that
the defendants deprived him of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States and that the
alleged deprivation was committed under “color of state
law” in order to bring a claim under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988);
Buckley v. Barlow, 997 F.2d 494, 495 (8th
allegations that he should not be required to pay his utility
bills fails to establish that this court has jurisdiction
over his claim. Therefore, Plaintiff's Complaint must be
dismissed without prejudice for lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction without leave to amend because amendment of his
Complaint would be futile. Horras v. Am. Capital
Strategies, Ltd., 729 F.3d 798, 804 ...