United States District Court, D. Maryland
ELLEN L. HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Feaster, who is self-represented, filed suit (ECF 1),
together with a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. ECF 2.
The motion shall be granted, in light of plaintiff's
limited income. But, for the reasons that follow, the
Complaint must be dismissed, without requiring service.
this court's federal question jurisdiction (ECF 1 at 4),
plaintiff alleges that on April 10, 2018, her brother, Myron
Feaster, evicted her from their mother's house. As
background, plaintiff explains that her four brothers paid
the down payment on the home for their mother and that she
and her brother Myron both lived in the home and, since
September 1985, helped to pay for it. ECF 1 at 6.
states that her mother's name was never listed on the
home because she did not have a job. Rather, her brother,
John Feaster, was listed as the owner from 1985 until the
mid-1990s. Id. However, plaintiff asserts that she
and her mother paid the mortgage on the property.
Id. According to plaintiff, in the mid-1990s Myron
Feaster's name appeared on the title to the home.
Id. She states that there was no meeting with her or
their mother indicating that the payments on the home had
changed from mortgage to rental payments. ECF 1 at 6.
Plaintiff states that Myron Feaster's conduct
“shows that he feels that our mother and I are beneath
him.” Id. Myron Feaster also put his
wife's name on their mother's house and charged
“undocumented rent” for over 20 years.
to plaintiff, after their mother died in 2013, Myron Feaster
“manipulate[d] rent court documents and perjured
himself and fired [plaintiff] from [her] job to have
[plaintiff] evicted.” Id. Plaintiff claims
that she was fired from her cleaning job with
“GM” because she documented that Myron Feaster
said he would kill her and put his hands on her. Id.
Plaintiff further claims that “GM Janitorial Service is
a bogus company, ” which Myron Feaster used for
personal gain. ECF 1 at 7. Plaintiff states she was their
only employee in the building and that Myron Feaster
“sold his sister [plaintiff] like a slave to his
relief, plaintiff states that she wishes to move back into
her mother's home and to receive six month's pay from
Myron Feaster and GM Janitorial Service for manipulating her
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Home Buyers
Warranty Corp. v. Hanna, 750 F.3d 427, 432 (4th Cir.
2014) (quotation marks omitted) (citing Kokkonen v.
Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377
(1994)). Thus, a federal district court may only adjudicate a
case if it possesses the “power authorized by
Constitution and statute.” Exxon Mobil Corp. v.
Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 552 (2005)
(internal quotation marks omitted). As the Fourth Circuit
stated in Strawn v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 530 F.3d
293, 296 (4th Cir. 2008), if a party seeks to proceed in
federal court, she “must allege and, when challenged,
must demonstrate the federal court's [subject matter]
jurisdiction over the matter.” Indeed, “if
Congress has not empowered the federal judiciary to hear a
matter, then the case must be dismissed.”
Hanna, 750 F.3d at 432.
another way, “[a] court is to presume . . . that a case
lies outside its limited jurisdiction unless and until
jurisdiction has been shown to be proper.” United
States v. Poole, 531 F.3d 263, 274 (4th Cir. 2008)
(citing Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377). Even when no
party challenges subject matter jurisdiction, a federal court
has “an independent obligation to determine whether
subject-matter jurisdiction exists.” Hertz Corp. v.
Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 94 (2010).
has conferred jurisdiction on the federal courts in several
ways. To provide a federal forum for plaintiffs who seek to
vindicate federal rights, Congress has conferred on the
district courts original jurisdiction over civil actions that
arise under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United
States. Exxon Mobil Corp., 545 U.S. at 552; 28
U.S.C. § 1331. See also U.S. Constitution Art.
III, § 2 (“The Judicial Power shall extend to all
Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution,
the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made . .
.”). This is sometimes called federal question
28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), district courts are granted
“supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that
are so related to claims in the action within [the
courts'] original jurisdiction that they form part of the
same case or controversy under Article III of the United
addition, “Congress . . . has granted district courts
original jurisdiction in civil actions between citizens of
different States, between U.S. citizens and foreign citizens,
or by foreign states against U.S. citizens, ” so long
as the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. Exxon
Mobil Corp., 545 U.S. at 552; see 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332. However, it is crystal clear that diversity
jurisdiction “requires complete diversity among
parties, meaning that the citizenship of every
plaintiff must be different from the citizenship of
every defendant.” Cent. W.Va. Energy Co.,
Inc. v. Mountain State Carbon, LLC, 636 F.3d 101, 103
(4th Cir. 2011) (emphasis added); see Strawbridge v.
Curtiss, 7 U.S. 267 (1806).
citizenship of the litigants is central when diversity
jurisdiction is invoked. Axel Johnson, Inc. v. Carroll
Carolina Oil Co., 145 F.3d 660, 663 (4th Cir. 1998).
Notably, “state citizenship for diversity jurisdiction
depends not on residence, but on national citizenship and
domicile.” Id. (citation omitted). And,
“the existence of such citizenship cannot be inferred
from allegations of mere residence, standing alone.”
Id; see also Robertson v. Cease, 97 U.S.
646, 648 (1878) (“Citizenship and residence, as often
declared by this court, are not synonymous terms.”). In
other words, for “purposes of diversity jurisdiction,
residency is not sufficient to establish citizenship.”
Johnson v. Advance Am., Cash Advance Ctrs. of S.C.,
Inc., 549 F.3d 932, 937 ...