United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Melody Russell's
self-represented Complaint (ECF No. 1), Motion for Leave to
Proceed in Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 2), Motion for Preliminary
Injunction (ECF No. 3), and Motion to Amend/Correct Name and
Addresses (ECF No. 4). Because Russell's financial
affidavit demonstrates she is eligible to proceed as an
indigent, the Court will grant her Motion for Leave to
Proceed in Forma Pauperis. The Court will also grant
Russell's Motion to Amend. For the reasons outlined
below, however, the Court lacks jurisdiction over this matter
and will dismiss Russell's Complaint without prejudice
and deny her Motion for Injunctive Relief without prejudice.
brings this action "under appropriate laws, including 42
U.S. Code § 1983." (Compl. ¶ 2, ECF No. 1).
She sues Giant, Inc., a Maryland Corporation, Joseph Hoffman,
a Giant store manager, Wolfe Security, a security company
located in Maryland that provides security services for
Giant, and Dereck Johnson, a Wolfe Security employee.
(Id. ¶¶ 5-8).
alleges that on April 27, 2016, she was "unlawfully
detained against her will" for one hour by Hoffman and
Johnson at the Giant store located at 7382 Baltimore
Annapolis Boulevard in Glen Burnie, Maryland. (LI
¶¶ 9, 13). She maintains she was wrongfully accused
of theft and "profiled" based on her "race,
gender, and build." (Id. ¶ 10). Russell
asserts she feared for her life during the detention because
Johnson had a weapon holstered on his hip and "behaved
as if he were an actual law enforcement officer.”
(Id. ¶ 11). She does not allege, however, that
Johnson was actually a law enforcement officer. Russell
accuses Hoffman and Johnson of trying to bully her into
showing them personal items she had brought into the store
with her. (Id. ¶ 12). Russell called the Anne
Arundel County Police, and they “found that [she] did
no wrong, and that the Defendants did violate her
rights.” (Id. ¶ 14). Russell seeks
“actual and statutory damages.” (Id. at
she seeks to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court must screen
Russell’s Complaint. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) (2012); Michau v. Charleston Cty, 434
F.3d 725, 728 (4th Cir. 2006). The Court may consider
subject-matter jurisdiction as part of its screening.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) (“If the court
determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”);
Brickwood Contractors, Inc. v. Datanet Eng’g,
Inc., 369 F.3d 385, 390 (4th Cir. 2004).
(“[Q]uestions of subject-matter jurisdiction may be
raised at any point during the proceedings and may (or, more
precisely, must) be raised sua sponte by the
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.” Home
Buyers Warranty Corp. v. Hanna, 750 F.3d 427, 432 (4th
Cir. 2014) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). Federal district courts
have original jurisdiction over civil actions that arise
under federal law, 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (2012), or have an
amount in controversy exceeding $75, 000, exclusive of
interests and costs, and complete diversity of citizenship,
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) (2012).
asserts no basis for diversity or federal-question
jurisdiction over this matter. She fails to allege an amount
in controversy or that there is complete diversity among the
parties. As for federal-question jurisdiction, to state a
claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege a
violation of a federal law of federal constitutional right.
See Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 140 (1979).
Section 1983 establishes a cause of action against any
“person” who, acting under color of state law,
“subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of
the United States or other person within the jurisdiction
thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or
immunities secured by the Constitution and laws” of the
United States. Section 1983, however, “‘is not
itself a source of substantive rights, ’ but merely
provides ‘a method for vindicating federal rights
elsewhere conferred.’” Albright v.
Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (quoting
Baker, 443 U.S. at 144 n.3).
the Complaint cites a federal statute-42 U.S.C. §
1983-it does not name any Defendant who is a state actor.
Rather, Defendants are Maryland corporate entities and
individuals in their employ. Further, nowhere does the
Complaint specify what constitutional rights or federal law
Defendants allegedly violated. Thus, the Court concludes
there is no basis for federal-question jurisdiction.
because the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over this
case, it will dismiss Russell’s Complaint (ECF No. 1)
without prejudice and deny Russell’s Motion for a
Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 3) without prejudice. To the
extent Russell may have claims arising under state law, she
may pursue them in state court as appropriate. A separate
Order follows. Dated this 16th day of August, 2016
 Russell does not assert what rights
were purportedly ...