United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD G. STEARNS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Reid brings this action against UBER Inc. (Uber) in which he
alleges that: (1) he was fired as a driver for Uber without
just cause; and (2) Uber denied him payment for services
performed. For the reasons stated below, the court orders
that this action be dismissed without prejudice for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction.
14, 2018, Reid filed a pro se civil complaint (Dkt.
#1) against Uber, claiming that the company had wrongfully
fired him, withheld money due to him, and retaliated against
him. In a memorandum and order dated August 22, 2018 (Dkt.
#5), the court granted Reid's motion for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis and conducted a preliminary review
of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The
court concluded that Reid had failed to state a claim upon
which relief could be granted because his complaint did not
meet the pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. The court directed him to file an
September 20, 2018, Reid timely filed his amended complaint.
Dkt. #6. While the pleading is not a model of clarity, the
court can discern therefrom some key factual allegations. On
or about March 15, 2014, Uber terminated Reid's
employment without warning or just cause. At that time, Reid
had been earning approximately $150/day or $700/week driving
for Uber. Uber also owed Reid $420.00 for work that he had
already performed, a debt that Uber has never satisfied. Soon
after the termination, Reid contacted Uber in writing and by
phone concerning the situation, but he never received a
written response and he was not permitted to speak to a
“boss” at Uber by telephone. Reid also refers
vaguely to “retaliation, ” but he does not flesh
out the conclusory allegation.
SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
district courts have original jurisdiction over civil actions
arising under federal laws, see 28 U.S.C. §
1331 (“§ 1331”), and over certain actions in
which the parties are citizens of different states and the
amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, see 28
U.S.C. § 1332 (“§ 1332”). Where a
district court has original jurisdiction under § 1331 or
§ 1332, it may have supplemental jurisdiction over
claims that “form part of the same case or
controversy” as the claims on which the court's
original jurisdiction is predicated. 28 U.S.C. §
1367(a)-(c). A court 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), and
“[i]f 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). Upon review of the
amended complaint, the court concludes that Reid has failed
to state a claim over which the court has original subject
Federal Question Subject Matter Jurisdiction
does not identify, nor can the court discern, a federal law
giving rise to his claims.
but not concluding, that Reid was an employee of Uber (rather
than an independent contractor),  he has not stated a claim
under federal law for wrongful termination of employment.
Federal law prohibits an employer from firing an employee
based on the employee's race, color, religion, sex, or
national origin. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). In
some circumstances, federal law also prohibits an employer
from firing an employee based on the employee's age or
disability. See 29 U.S.C. § 623(a); 42 U.S.C.
§ 12112(a). It is also unlawful under federal law for an
employer to fire an employee because the employee has opposed
illegal discrimination by the employer. See 29
U.S.C. § 623(d); 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a); 42 U.S.C.
Reid alleges that Uber treated him unfairly, he has not
alleged any facts from which the Court may reasonably infer
that the termination of his employment violated federal law.
He does not suggest that Uber terminated his employment based
on his race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or
disability, or because he opposed discriminatory practices by
Diversity Subject Matter Jurisdiction
matter jurisdiction exists under § 1332 when the
plaintiff and the defendant are “citizens” of
different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000. “For purposes of diversity, a person is a citizen
of the state in which he is domiciled, ” or, in other
words, where he has his “true, fixed home and principal
establishment.” Padilla-Mangual v. Pavia
Hosp., 516 F.3d 29, 31 (1st Cir. 2008) (quoting in part
Sierra-Martínez, 853 F.2d 1027, 1029 (1st Cir.
1988) (internal quotation marks omitted)). A corporation is a
citizen “of any State by which it has been incorporated
and of the State where it has its principal place of
business.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1).
it appears that the parties are of diverse citizenship. Reid
provides an address for himself in Randolph, Massachusetts,
and the court presumes that he is a citizen of Massachusetts.
Reid represents that Uber has a place of business in Boston,
Massachusetts, but it appears that, for purposes of §
1332, Uber is a citizen of Delaware and California. See,
e.g., Boston Cab Dispatch, Inc. v. Uber Techs.,
Inc., C.A. No. 13-10769-NMG, Dkt. #1 (D. Mass. Apr. 3,
2013 D. Mass.) (notice of ...