United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ELSON M. DEBARROS, Plaintiff,
AREAS USA BOSTON, LLC, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Dennis Saylor IV United States District Judge
reasons set forth below, this action will be dismissed under
12, 2017, Elson M. DeBarros, a resident of Brockton,
Massachusetts, filed a self-prepared complaint against his
former employer in Boston, Massachusetts, and its parent
company in Miami, Florida. The complaint alleges diversity
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 and asserts claims
of defamation and false accusation against his former
employer. With his complaint, DeBarros filed an unsigned
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Standard of Review
has an obligation to inquire sua sponte into its own
subject matter jurisdiction. See McCulloch v. Velez,
364 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2004). Federal courts are
“‘courts of limited jurisdiction.'”
Picciotto v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 512 F.3d 9, 17
(1st Cir. 2008) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins.
Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). Such courts may
adjudicate only those cases authorized by the Constitution
and by Congress. Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377.
“[T]he party invoking the jurisdiction of a federal
court carries the burden of proving its existence.”
Calderon-Serra v. Wilmington Trust Co., 715 F.3d 14,
17 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Murphy v. United States,
45 F.3d 520, 522 (1st Cir. 1995) (internal quotation marks
omitted)). “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); see Arbaugh v. Y
& H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 506 (2006) ("The
objection that a federal court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction may be raised by a party, or by a court on its
own initiative, at any stage in the litigation, even after
trial and the entry of judgment.") (internal citation
reviewing the complaint, the court recognizes that pro
se pleadings are read with "an extra degree of
solicitude, " Rodi v. Ventetuolo, 941 F.2d 22,
23 (1st Cir.1991), due to plaintiff's pro se
status, see id.; see also Strahan v. Coxe,
127 F.3d 155, 158 n. 1 (1st Cir. 1997) (noting obligation to
construe pro se pleadings liberally) (citing
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)).
Generally, a pro se plaintiff is afforded an
opportunity to cure a deficient complaint. However, when
"it is crystal clear that the plaintiff cannot prevail
and that amending the complaint would be futile, " a
dismissal sua sponte is appropriate.
Garayalde-Rijos v. Municipality of Carolina, 747
F.3d 15, 23, (1st Cir. 2014) (citations and internal
quotation marks omitted).
plaintiff's characterization of this action as arising
under this Court's diversity jurisdiction, the complaint
is insufficient to support federal subject-matter
jurisdiction. Defamation is not generally actionable under
federal law. Federal courts have jurisdiction over suits
brought pursuant to state law where there is diversity of
citizenship between the adversaries and the amount in
controversy exceeds a threshold amount of $75, 000.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1332; Arbaugh v. Y&H
Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 513 (2006). Diversity jurisdiction
requires complete diversity of citizenship between all
plaintiffs and all defendants-that is, the state of
citizenship for each plaintiff must be different from that of
each defendant. See Owen Equip. & Erection Co. v.
Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 373 (1978); Am. Fiber &
Fin., Inc. v. Tyco Healthcare Group, L.P., 362 F.3d 136,
139 (1st Cir. 2004). “Citizenship is determined as of
the date of commencement of an action and, therefore, in
cases premised on diversity, jurisdiction ‘depends upon
the state of things at the time of the action
brought.'” ConnectU LLC v. Zuckerberg, 522
F.3d 82, 91 (1st Cir. 2008).
the plaintiff, a Massachusetts citizen, alleges claims
against citizens of Massachusetts and Florida. Because the
parties are not completely diverse, there is no diversity
jurisdiction. Even giving the complaint the most liberal
construction, the Court cannot discern any basis for a
federal claim because the complaint fails to state a federal
question under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
foregoing reasons, 1. This action is dismissed under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction; and 2. The Clerk shall terminate the ...