United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Algenon L. Marbley Judge
ORDER AND INITIAL SCREEN REPORT AND
ELIZABETH A. PRESTON DEAVERS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
an Ohio resident who is proceeding without the assistance of
counsel, brings this action against Defendant Zanesville
Metropolitan Housing Authority (“ZMHA”). This
matter is before the Court for consideration of
Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma
pauperis, which is GRANTED. (ECF No.
1.) All judicial officers who render services in this action
shall do so as if the costs had been prepaid. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a). This matter is also before the Court sua
sponte for an initial screen of Plaintiff's
Complaint as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) to
identify cognizable claims and to recommend dismissal of
Plaintiff's Complaint, or any portion of it, which is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). Having performed the initial screen, for the
reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that
the Court DISMISS this action for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction.
has authorized the sua sponte dismissal of
complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief maybe
granted. 2 8 U.S.C. §§ 1915 (e)(2)(B)(ii) and
1915A(b)(1). A complaint filed by a pro se plaintiff
must be “liberally construed” and “held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (per curiam) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). By the same token, however, the
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
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007));
see also Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th
Cir. 2010) (“dismissal standard articulated in
Iqbal and Twombly governs dismissals for
failure to state a claim” under §§
1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)).
addition, a federal court has limited subject matter
jurisdiction. “The basic statutory grants of federal
court subject-matter jurisdiction are contained in 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331, which provides for
‘[f]ederal-question' jurisdiction, and § 1332,
which provides for ‘[d]iversity of citizenship'
jurisdiction.” Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546
U.S. 500, 501 (2006). Federal-question jurisdiction is
invoked when a plaintiff pleads a claim “arising
under” the federal laws, the Constitution, or treaties
of the United States. Id. (citation omitted). For a
federal court to have diversity jurisdiction pursuant to
Section 1332(a), there must be complete diversity, which
means that each plaintiff must be a citizen of a different
state than each defendant, and the amount in controversy must
exceed $75, 000. Caterpillar, Inc. v. Lewis, 519
U.S. 61, 68 (1996).
Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety states as follows:
I've been denied housing for the last six yrs. The person
that makes that decision refuses to cooperate, because an
angry girlfriend spoke to her. This lady laughed in my face
twice now and once on the phone. Slandered my name for fun,
made me beg for housing, and still refused me. This person
told me i [sic] would NOT get housing for at least 5 more yrs
and to go sleep outside in the cold in a tent. The paperwork
has put in in a state of shock with outright lies &
slander to my good name. Refuses to do her job to help house
the people in need, for her own selfish gain. Fresh re-done
apartments are empty while i [sic] cant [sic] cook or
refridgerate [sic] food outside.
(ECF No. 1-1 at PAGEID # 6.) Plaintiff seeks monetary damages
in the amount of $50, 000. (Id. at PAGEID # 7.)
Complaint does not contain “a short and plain statement
of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction[, ]”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1), because Plaintiff has failed to allege
a claim arising under federal law and it does not appear that
complete diversity exists. While Plaintiff asserts a claim of
defamation against ZMHA (ECF No. 1-1 at PAGEID # 6),
defamation, standing alone, does not state a claim arising
under federal law. See Paul v. Davis, 424 U.S. 693,
710 (1976) (noting that defamation, by itself, does not state
a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983); Naegele Outdoor
Advertising Co. of Louisville, a Div. of Naegele, Inc. v.
Moulton, 773 F.2d 692, 701 (6th Cir. 1985) (“[T]he
interest in reputation alone is not sufficient to invoke the
procedural guarantees contained in the Due Process Clause of
the Fourteenth Amendment.” (citing Paul, 424
U.S. at 701, 710-11)).
Plaintiff cannot successfully invoke this Court's
diversity jurisdiction with regard to his state-law
defamation claim because Plaintiff and ZMHA are both Ohio
residents. (ECF No. 1 at PAGEID # 3 (listing Plaintiff's
address in Zanesville, Ohio); ECF No. 1-1 at PAGEID # 5
(identifying ZMHA's address as 407 Pershing Rd.,
Zanesville, Ohio 43701).) In addition, the amount in
controversy is less than $75, 000. (ECF No. 1-1 at PAGEID #
7.) Accordingly, the Undersigned cannot discern a basis for
reasons explained above, the Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over this action. It is therefore
RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's Complaint
be DISMISSED ...