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Holmes v. Carpenter Training Center

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

April 25, 2019

KAREN BROWN HOLMES, Plaintiff,
v.
CARPENTER TRAINING CENTER and LOCAL 2168, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          WILLIAM G. YOUNG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         For the reasons stated below, the Court denies without prejudice plaintiff's motions for counsel and for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and directs plaintiff to (1) either pay the filing fee or file a renewed motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis; and (2) file an amended complaint curing the deficiencies identified below.

         I. Relevant Background

         On April 5, 2019, Karen Brown Holmes (“Holmes”), a resident of Boston, Massachusetts, filed a pro se complaint accompanied by motions for appointment of counsel and for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

         The complaint is submitted on a pre-printed form and states the basis for this court's jurisdiction as 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question). See Complaint (“Compl.”), Docket No. 1. Named as defendants are the Carpenters Training Center and Local 2168. Id. The complaint contains no factual allegations nor request for relief. Id. The civil cover sheet accompanying the complaint indicates that is an employment civil rights action. See Docket No. 1-1.

         II. Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         Holmes' motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis indicates that she is employed as a trainee at the Pine Street Inn and that she receives disability or workers compensation payments. However, she fails to state the amount of her wages and the amount she receives in disability or workers compensation payments. Because the financial information in the motion is incomplete, the court is unable to determine whether the plaintiff qualifies for in forma pauperis status and will deny the motion without prejudice.

         III. Screening of the Complaint

         "Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction." Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Consequently, a plaintiff who seeks to bring her suit in a federal forum bears the burden of establishing that the federal court has subject-matter jurisdiction. See Gordo-González v. United States, 873 F.3d 32, 35 (1st Cir. 2017). The basic federal jurisdiction statutes, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332, confer “federal question” and “diversity” jurisdiction, respectively.

         When examining the sufficiency of the pleadings, the court considers whether the plaintiff has pled “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted).

         In conducting this review, the court liberally construes Holmes' complaint because Holmes is proceeding pro se. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).

         IV. Discussion

         Here, there does not appear to be any basis for diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because the plaintiff and the defendants appear to be citizens of Massachusetts.

         As to federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, the complaint does not identify a cause of action under federal law. Holmes indicates on the civil cover sheet that this is a civil rights action related to her employment. However, it is impossible to discern from the ...


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