United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON COMPLAINT FOR EMERGENCY
reasons set forth below, the court dismisses this action for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule
Pamela Julian, a resident of Brookline, Massachusetts,
initiated this action, through counsel, by filing a verified
ex parte emergency complaint for protective order.
See Complaint (Compl.), Dkt #1. With the Complaint,
plaintiff filed an Application to Proceed in District Court
without Prepaying Fees or Costs. See Dkt #2.
Complaint names as defendant a funeral home in Hingham,
Massachusetts. Compl. ¶ 2. Julian alleges that her
mother Alice Julian died on January 9, 2018. Id.
¶ 8. Julian seeks to have this court issue an order to
enjoin the defendant from releasing her mother's body
until the performance of forensic medical testing.
Id. ¶ 4 (prayer for relief). The Complaint
references state court litigation that terminated upon Alice
Julian's death. Id. ¶¶ 7, 8. Plaintiff
contends that this court has jurisdiction over her claim for
injunctive relief pursuant to the general federal question
statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and the Declaratory Judgment
Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201. Id. ¶¶ 3, 4.
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 Spooner v. EEN, Inc., 644
F.3d 62, 67 (1st Cir. 2011) (“A court is duty-bound to
notice, and act upon, defects in its subject matter
jurisdiction sua sponte.”).
reviewing the Complaint, it is clear that this court does not
have subject matter jurisdiction. First, there is no
allegation that the parties are diverse for purposes of
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Even if
the allegations of the Complaint are accepted as true, no
federal question is raised pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Injunctive relief is a remedy and not a cause of action.
Moreover, the Declaratory Judgment Act itself does not
independently confer jurisdiction on federal courts.
Skelly Oil Co. v. Phillips Petroleum Co., 339 U.S.
667, 671 (1950). Thus, the invocation of Section 2201 is not
enough to confer jurisdiction on federal courts; some
independent source is required. See Id. at 672;
see also Colonial Penn Grp., Inc. v. Colonial Deposit
Co., 834 F.2d 229, 232 (1st Cir. 1987) (“Federal
jurisdiction does not lie simply because relief is requested
under the federal Declaratory Judgment Act.”).
court notes that the case caption of the Complaint
misidentifies this court as the “First Circuit District
Court of Massachusetts.” To the extent Julian seeks
review of a ruling of the Supreme Judicial Court, this court
is barred from exercising jurisdiction over such a challenge
by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. See also
Miller v. Nichols, 586 F.3d 53, 59 (1st Cir. 2009); 28
U.S.C. § 1257. Because the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine implicates this court's subject matter
jurisdiction, the court may consider the issue sua
sponte. DuLaurence v. Telegen, 94 F.Supp.3d 73,
78 (D. Mass. 2015).
prior notice to the plaintiff is ordinarily required to
permit the plaintiff to correct her error, but no notice is
necessary “[i]f it is crystal clear that the plaintiff
cannot prevail and that amending the complaint would be
futile.” González-González v. United
States, 257 F.3d 31, 37 (1st Cir. 2001). Such is the
for the reasons stated above, it ...