United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Jesse Lee Keel, III, a pro se litigant, filed this
civil action against the Direct Express Bank Fraud Services
Department. Mr. Keel seeks to proceed in forma
pauperis. For the following reasons, the Court will
grant Mr. Keel leave to proceed in forma pauperis
and dismiss his Complaint with leave to amend.
basis for Mr. Keel's Complaint appears to be his
allegation that money was stolen from his account via an
A.T.M. and that the bank would not reimburse him. He also
alleges that someone is using another name to gain access to
his accounts. Mr. Keel asks the Court to order the bank to
reimburse him for the allegedly stolen money and to direct
the arrest and prosecution of the individuals who are
stealing from him. Mr. Keel's exhibits consist of, among
other things, reports he made about stolen funds and
documents from the Social Security Administration with
information about his benefits.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court will grant Mr. Keel leave to proceed in forma
pauperis because it appears that he is unable to prepay
the fees to commence this civil action.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) requires the Court to
dismiss a complaint if it fails to state a claim. To state a
claim, a pleading must contain "sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitted). Conclusory
statements and naked assertions will not suffice.
Id. Furthermore, "[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). Because
Mr. Keel is proceeding pro se, the Court construes
his allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen.,
655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a
complaint to contain "a short a plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." A
district court may sua sponte dismiss a complaint
that does not comply with Rule 8 if "the complaint is so
confused, ambiguous, vague, or otherwise unintelligible that
its true substance, if any, is well disguised."
Simmons v. Abruzzo, 49 F.3d 83, 86 (2d Cir. 1995)
(quotations omitted). Rule 8 "requires that pleadings
provide enough information to put a defendant on sufficient
notice to prepare their defense and also ensure that the
Court is sufficiently informed to determine the issue."
Fabian v. St. Mary's Med. Or., No. Civ. A.
16-4741, 2017 WL 3494219, at *3 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 11, 2017)
Keel has not alleged a factual basis for a claim within the
Court's jurisdiction. His Complaint does not allege any
basis for a federal claim against the bank for purposes of
invoking the Court's federal question jurisdiction under
28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Keel intends to raise claims against the Defendant under
state law, he has not pled a basis for the Court's
jurisdiction. The only independent basis for the Court's
jurisdiction over state law claims is pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a), which grants a district court jurisdiction
over "all civil actions where the matter in controversy
exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest
and costs, and is between... citizens of different
States." Such diversity jurisdiction requires
"complete diversity," which in turn requires that
"no plaintiff be a citizen of the same state as any
defendant." Zambelli Fireworks Mfg. Co. v.
Wood, 592 F.3d 412, 419 (3d Cir. 2010).
individual is a citizen of the state where he is domiciled,
meaning the state where he is physically present and intends
to remain. See Washington v. Hovensa LLC, 652 F.3d
340, 344 (3d Cir. 2011). A corporation is a citizen of the
state in which it was incorporated as well as the state where
it has its principal place of business. See 28
U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1). "[T]he citizenship of
partnerships and other unincorporated associations is
determined by the citizenship of its partners or
members." Zambelli Fireworks Mfg. Co., 592 F.3d
at 420. A national banking association is a citizen of the
state designated in its articles of association as its main
office. See Wachovia Bank v. Schmidt, 546 U.S. 303,
318 (2006). "The burden of establishing federal
jurisdiction rests with the party asserting its
existence." Lincoln Ben. Life Co. v. AEI Life,
LLC, 800 F.3d 99, 105 (3d Cir. 2015) (citing
DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U.S. 332, 342 n.3
(2006)). In some cases, "a plaintiff may allege that the
defendant is not a citizen of the plaintiffs state
of citizenship" after conducting a reasonable
investigation into the defendant's citizenship.
Id. at 107-08.
not clear what type of entity Direct Express Bank Fraud
Services Department is for purposes of the jurisdictional
analysis. Mr. Keel provides a Pennsylvania address for
himself and a Texas address for the Defendant, but it is not
clear where that address comes from and whether it is
relevant to the necessary jurisdictional analysis. It is also
not clear from the Complaint whether the amount in