United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
ALLISON D. BURROUGHS, DISTRICT JUDGE
reasons stated below, the Court dismisses this action for
Shawn Bell, appearing pro se, has filed a complaint
in this District against the Cecil County Detention Center
(Elkton, MD), Cecil County Sheriff, Cecil County Clerk of
Court, Cecil County Public Defender's Office, Jessup
women's prison (Jessup, MD), Bon Secours Hospital
(Baltimore, MD), and the Maryland Transit Authority
Police. Bell, who currently resides in
Massachusetts, alleges that the police of Woodlawn, Maryland,
stole her personal property and wrongfully detained her. She
further avers that members of the Cecil County Sheriff's
Department brutally assaulted her, causing traumatic brain
injury and paralysis. Bell also claims that she was sent to
the women's prison without going before a judge, and that
her public defender refused to file an emergency motion for
relief with regard to her confinement. Finally, Bell
complains that her medical records concerning the aforesaid
events wrongfully refer to her using the last name of her
former husband. She does not provide the dates that the
defendants engaged in the alleged misconduct. The plaintiff
evokes this Court's jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331 and 1332.
complaint references an action she filed in this Court in
2016 against Bon Secours Hospital, in which she also alleged
that the hospital had wrongfully sent her to the women's
prison even though she had not yet appeared in court. See
Bell v. Bon Secours Hospital, C.A. No. 16-11669-ADB (D.
Mass.). Because venue was improper in the District of
Massachusetts, the Court ordered that the action be
transferred to the United States District Court for the
District of Maryland, where the defendant resided and where
the alleged event in question occurred. The case was
subsequently dismissed by the court in Maryland after Bell
did not respond to an order requiring her to amend her
complaint. See Bell v. Bon Secours Hospital, C.A.
No. 16-02995-JFM (D. Md.). The copy of the order of dismissal
that had been mailed to Bell at her Boston address was
returned to the District of Maryland with a written comment
on the envelope: “Don't live in Maryland but
Massachusetts for several years. Return to Sender. Illegal
transfer by Boston, MA circuit court.” Id.
[ECF No. 13].
present action, Bell claims that C.A. No. 16-11669-ADB was
“illegally transferred” to Maryland even though
she was residing in Boston. [ECF No. 1 at 3]. In her prayer for
relief, she insists that “venue [is] to remain is
Eastern Div. MA U.S. District Court.” Id. at
6. In a separate motion [ECF No. 2] she asks, inter
alia, that venue remain in this Court. She states that
this Court imposed a “hardship” on her by
“illegally transferring” C.A. No. 16-11669-ADB to
the District of Maryland.
Bell's insistence that this action remain in the District
of Massachusetts, venue in this district remains improper.
The plaintiff may be improperly conflating or confusing venue
with other doctrines that must be considered in determining
whether an action may be brought in a federal district court,
and, if so, the district in which it may be filed.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
matter jurisdiction concerns the types of cases that
a federal district court has the power to adjudicate, or, in
other words, a court's “power to issue [an]
order.” U.S. Catholic Conf. v. Abortion Rights
Mobilization, Inc., 487 U.S. 72, 77 (1988).
“‘Federal courts are of limited jurisdiction,
' possessing ‘only that power authorized by
Constitution and statute.'” Gunn v.
Minton, 568 U.S. 251, 256 (2013) (quoting Kokkonen
v. Guardian of Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375,
377 (1994)). Congress has given federal district courts
original jurisdiction over claims arising under federal law,
see 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and claims between
parties of diverse citizenship where the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000, see 28 U.S.C. §
1332. The requirement of subject matter jurisdiction cannot
be waived by the parties, and “[i]f the court
determines at any time that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”
it appears that Bell is asserting claims arising under
federal law and state law. She also represents that complete
diversity of citizenship exists and that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. Thus, for purposes of this
order, the Court will assume that it has subject matter
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332.
Personal Jurisdiction and Venue
requirements of federal subject matter jurisdiction are met,
a court must also consider whether the action has been filed
in the appropriate geographical location. This inquiry is
determined by the doctrines of personal jurisdiction and