United States District Court, D. Arizona
Stephen S. Edwards, Plaintiff,
Lakewood Community Association, Defendant.
issue is the Court's subject matter jurisdiction over
this action. In the Complaint (Doc. 1, Compl.), pro
se Plaintiff Stephen S. Edwards raises what appear to be
six state law claims (Counts I through VI) and two ostensibly
federal causes of action, both labelled Count VII, with one
entitled “Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act” and
the other entitled “The Federal Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act Reporting Act.” Plaintiff apparently
alleges that the basis of the Court's jurisdiction is a
violation of federal law, “including The American with
Disabilities Act, Intentional Emotional Duress.”
(Compl. ¶ 4.)
state courts, federal courts only have jurisdiction over a
limited number of cases, and those cases typically involve
either a controversy between citizens of different states
(“diversity jurisdiction”) or a question of
federal law (“federal question jurisdiction”).
See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332. The United
States Supreme Court has stated that a federal court must not
disregard or evade the limits on its subject matter
jurisdiction. Owen Equip. & Erections Co. v.
Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 374 (1978). Thus, a federal court
is obligated to inquire into its subject matter jurisdiction
in each case and to dismiss a case when subject matter
jurisdiction is lacking. See Valdez v. Allstate Ins.
Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1116 (9th Cir. 2004); Fed.R.Civ.P.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a complaint must contain
“sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Even where a complaint has the factual
elements of a cause of action present but scattered
throughout the complaint and not organized into a
“short and plain statement of the claim, ” it may
be dismissed for failure to satisfy Rule 8(a). Sparling
v. Hoffman Constr. Co., 864 F.2d 635, 640 (9th Cir.
1988). A dismissal for failure to state a claim can be based
on either (1) the lack of a cognizable legal theory or (2)
insufficient facts to support a cognizable legal claim.
Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d
696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). “[A] plaintiff's
obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). Rule 8(a) also provides
that “[a] pleading that states a claim for relief must
contain: (1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for
the court's jurisdiction.” In other words, to
proceed in federal court, a plaintiff must allege enough in
the complaint for the court to conclude it has subject matter
jurisdiction. See Charles Alan Wright & Arthur
R. Miller, 5 Fed. Practice & Procedure §
1206 (3d ed. 2014).
Complaint lacks any plain, intelligible statement of the
grounds for this Court's subject matter jurisdiction, as
required by Rule 8(a). In his apparent jurisdictional
statement, Plaintiff notes a federal question under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but never raises a
claim against Defendant under the ADA. (Compl. ¶ 4.)
This defect alone is cause for the Court to dismiss the
Complaint. See Watson v. Chessman, 362 F.Supp.2d
1190, 1194 (S.D. Cal. 2005).
addition, the allegations contained in the Complaint fail to
show federal subject matter jurisdiction. First, from the
face of the Complaint, the Court cannot conclude that it has
diversity jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claim because the
parties are not citizens of different states. See 28
U.S.C. § 1332. Instead, Plaintiff alleges both he and
Defendant Lakewood Community Association are Arizona
citizens. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 6.)
two facially federal question claims called Count VII,
Plaintiff fails to state a viable claim. In the first, under
the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), Plaintiff
alleges no specific facts, but rather provides a formulaic
recitation of the elements of an FCRA cause of action, and
only a partial one at that. (Compl. ¶¶ 62-66.) As
the Supreme Court has made clear, such allegations are
insufficient. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Moreover, under the FCRA, a claim against a furnisher of
information to a credit reporting agency- as Plaintiff
apparently alleges Defendant was-requires sufficient
factual allegations from which the Court can
plausibly infer that Plaintiff notified a specific credit
reporting agency of inaccuracies in his credit report, that
the credit reporting agency notified Defendant, and that
Defendant failed to adequately investigate. 15 U.S.C. §
1681s-2(a); Arikat v. JP Morgan Chase & Co., 430
F.Supp.2d 1013, 1023 (N.D. Cal. 2006); see also Cootey v.
Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 2011 WL 2441707, at *7 (D.
Haw. June 14, 2011). Because Plaintiff may be able to cure
these defects by amendment, the Court will dismiss the claim
without prejudice. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d
1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000).
second facially federal question claim is unintelligible,
frivolous, and inappropriate. (E.g., Compl. at 14
(Judges in this District have engaged in “Sick
Diabolical behavior”).) The Court thus dismisses it
without leave to amend. The Court also notes that Plaintiff
made similar allegations with respect to the Court as well as
Defendant in this case in his last Complaint in this
District, in Case Number CV-17-04661-PHX-DLR, which another
Judge in this District dismissed as frivolous. (See
CV-17-04661-PHX-DLR, Doc. 6.)
balance of Plaintiff's claims in this lawsuit are state
law claims, and without another basis for the Court's
jurisdiction, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction
over those claims.
the Court notes that, while the Court affords the benefit of
the doubt to pro se parties such as Plaintiff, they
must still follow the Court's rules and Orders.
Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 834 & n.46
(1975) (noting that self-representation is not “a
license not to comply with relevant rules of procedural and
substantive law”). This is particularly true where, as
here, Plaintiff has filed at least 18 lawsuits in this
District in the last several years and should by now be
familiar with the requirements for filing suit in federal
court and with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
THEREFORE ORDERED dismissing Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc.
1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff may file an Amended Complaint
on or before July 9, 2018. Any Amended Complaint must comply
with the provisions of this Order, the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, and the Local Rules.
FURTHER ORDERED directing the Clerk of Court to deny all
pending motions as moot and close this case without further
Order of the Court if Plaintiff ...