IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
November 9, 2010
SOLANGE CHADDA, ET AL., PRO SE, PLAINTIFFS,
JEFF MULLINS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert F. Kelly, S.J.
Presently pending before this Court are several motions to dismiss the complaint, as well as numerous responses and motions filed by pro se Plaintiffs, Solange Chadda ("Chadda") and Kelly Hall ("Hall"). As several of the motions raise the issue of jurisdiction, I have elected to review the Complaint and Amended Complaint, as well as other pertinent documents, to determine the existence of subject matter jurisdiction. After careful review, I find that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to consider this case and will, accordingly, dismiss it.
Chadda filed this action pursuant to the Court's federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, alleging that Defendants violated "federal laws." (Compl. p. 2-6; Am. Compl. p. 2.) She seeks damages in the amount of ten million dollars regarding claims of "cruelty of [sic] animals, estortion [sic], ransom, kidnapping situation [sic], hostages situation [sic]" in relation to dealings with Defendants concerning her horse and dog.*fn1 (Compl. p. 5-6.) Six days after the filing of the Complaint, an Amended Complaint was filed adding Hall as a plaintiff alleging that Defendants "broke the Federal laws."*fn2 (Am. Compl. p. 2.)
Federal district courts have subject matter jurisdiction over cases that raise federal questions and meet the standards for diversity jurisdiction. See Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 513 (2006) (citing 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331-1332). Under Section 1331, a district court has federal question jurisdiction over "a colorable claim arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States." Id. (citing Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 681-85 (1946)). Under Section 1332, a district court has diversity jurisdiction over "a claim between parties of diverse citizenship that exceeds the required jurisdictional amount, currently $75,000." Id. (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)). If neither standard applies, and a "federal court concludes that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the complaint in its entirety." Id. at 514.
A. Federal Question Jurisdiction
Federal question jurisdiction arises where federal law creates the cause of action, or where the complaint, on its face, poses a federal question. See Club Comanche, Inc., v. Gov't of V.I., 278 F.3d 250, 259 (3d Cir. 2002) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1331). Plaintiffs have categorized this action as a "federal question" case; however, granting the pleadings the liberal construction allowed pro se plaintiffs, it does not present a federal question.*fn3 There is no claim of any conduct violating any constitutional or federal statutory right. Plaintiffs' pleadings and claims are confusing, and difficult to discern. It appears that they are attempting to assert a personal injury lawsuit possibly involving various common law torts, and alleged criminal activity, against private parties. They make no reference to any rights protected by the United States Constitution. Also, there are no allegations that any state action violated their rights.
Plaintiffs include federal criminal statute 18 U.S.C. § 875, Interstate Communications, as a cause of action.*fn4 "A private individual may sue under a federal statute only when Congress intended to create a private right of action." Walthour v. Herron, No. 10-1495, 2010 WL 1877704, at *2 (E.D. Pa. May 6, 2010) (citing Gonzaga Univ. v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273, 284-85 (2002)). Private individuals generally lack the authority to enforce federal criminal statutes. Walsh v. Krantz, No. 07-616, 2008 WL 2329130, at *4 (M.D. Pa. June 4, 2008), aff'd, No. 10- 1217, 2010 WL 2724460, at *1 n.2 (3d Cir. July 12, 2010). 18 U.S.C. § 875 does not authorize a private cause of action, therefore, it does not provide a basis for federal question jurisdiction. See id. at *4 (finding that 18 U.S.C. § 875 does not provide for a private right of enforcement). As a result, there is no subject matter jurisdiction in this Court based on federal question.
B. Diversity Jurisdiction
District courts also have original jurisdiction over matters in which there is complete diversity of citizenship among of the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). "Jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1) . . . requires complete diversity of the parties; that is, no plaintiff can be a citizen of the same state as any of the defendants." Grand Union Supermarkets of the V.I., Inc. v. H.E. Lockhart Mgmt., Inc., 316 F.3d 408, 410 (3d Cir. 2003) (citation omitted). An individual is deemed to be a citizen of the state where she is domiciled. See Swiger v. Allegheny Energy, Inc., 540 F.3d 179, 182 (3d Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). Corporations are citizens both of the state where they are incorporated and of the state where they have their principal place of business. Id. (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)).
According to a declaration filed with the Court by Hall, she is a citizen of the State of Arkansas.*fn5 (Docket No. 38.) The Complaint states that Defendants, David Jolly and Stepahead Farm, are citizens of the State of Arkansas. (Compl. p. 3.) As a result, there is no jurisdiction in this Court based upon diversity among the parties.
After a careful review of the relevant pleadings, documents, and Hall's declaration, neither federal question nor diversity jurisdiction are present in this case. As a result, this action is dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
An appropriate Order follows.