United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
JAMIEL L. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
BRENDA V. FRANCOIS-WILLIAMS, et al., Defendant.
se Plaintiff Jamiel L. Williams, a pretrial detainee
previously held in custody at Norristown State Hospital and
now detained at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional
Center, has filed a civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 using the Court's preprinted form. He
also filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis. For the following reasons, Williams will be
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis and his
Complaint will be dismissed in part without prejudice for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction and in part with
prejudice, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
Complaint is brief. He asserts that on on April 23, 2019 he
found out that his wife, Defendant Brenda V.
Francois-Williams, was cheating on him with his cousin
Defendant Donatein M. Lake, Jr. (ECF No. 2 at
He claims that Lake lied about Williams's drug use
causing Francois-Williams to toss his belongings in the
trash. (Id.) He also alleges that Lake attacked him
with a machete, requiring stitches. (Id. at 3.) It
appears that he seeks to sue both individuals on a theory of
alienation of affection, and to sue Lake for assault.
(Id. at 3-5.) He has also named as Defendants the
State of New York and the New York State Department of Parole
for failing to monitor Lake (who was presumably on parole in
that State) and for permitting Lake to leave New York State.
(Id. at 5.) He seeks monetary damages from the New
York State Defendants in the amount of $1 million.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court will grant Williams leave to proceed in forma
pauperis because it appears that he is incapable of
paying the fee to commence the civil action. Accordingly, 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) requires the Court to dismiss the
Complaint if, among other things, it is frivolous or fails to
state a claim. Whether a complaint fails to state a claim
under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same
standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), see Tourscher v.
McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999), which
requires the Court to determine whether the complaint
contains “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 allegations do not
suffice. Id. As Williams is proceeding pro
se, the Court construes his allegations liberally.
Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir.
allowing a plaintiff to proceed in forma pauperis,
the Court must also determine whether the plaintiff has set
forth a proper basis for this Court's subject matter
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(h)(3) (“If the court determines at any time that it
lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the
action.”); Group Against Smog and Pollution, Inc.
v. Henango, Inc., 810 F.3d 116, 122 n.6 (3d Cir. 2016)
(explaining that “an objection to subject matter
jurisdiction may be raised at any time [and] a court may
raise jurisdictional issues sua sponte”). As a
plaintiff commencing an action in federal court, Williams
bears the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction.
See Lincoln Ben. Life Co. v. AEI Life, LLC, 800 F.3d
99, 105 (3d Cir. 2015) (“The burden of establishing
federal jurisdiction rests with the party asserting its
existence.” (citing DaimlerChrysler Corp. v.
Cuno, 547 U.S. 332, 342 n.3 (2006))).
Claims Against New York State Entities
Eleventh Amendment bars suits against a state and its
agencies in federal court that seek monetary damages. See
Pennhurst State Sch. And Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S.
89, 99-100 (1984); A.W. v. Jersey City Public Schs.,
341 F.3d 234, 238 (3d Cir. 2003). Accordingly, Williams's
claims against the State of New York and the New York State
Department of Parole are dismissed with prejudice because the
claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
Common Law Claims Against Francois-Williams and Lake
Williams used a form complaint normally utilized by prisoners
seeking to file federal civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, he raises only state law claims against
Francois-Williams and Lake for alienation of affection and
assault. The only basis for jurisdiction over any
such claims is 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), which grants a
district court jurisdiction over a case in which “the
matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs, and is between . . .
citizens of different States.”
filed the Complaint, Williams asserted that he was located at
Norristown State Hospital. When he later filed a motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis, he asserted he
was located at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional
Center. Williams asserted in the Complaint that
Francois-Williams is in custody in the Philadelphia prison
system, and that Lake lives in Staten Island, New York.
Section 1332(a) requires “‘complete diversity
between all plaintiffs and all defendants,' even though
only minimal diversity is constitutionally required. This
means that, unless there is some other basis for
jurisdiction, ‘no plaintiff [may] be a citizen of the
same state as any defendant.'” Lincoln Ben.
Life Co. v. AEI Life, LLC, 800 F.3d 99, 104 (3d Cir.
2015) (quoting Lincoln Prop. Co. v. Roche, 546 U.S.
81, 89 (2005) and Zambelli Fireworks Mfg. Co. v.
Wood, 592 F.3d 412, 419 (3d Cir. 2010) (internal
footnotes omitted)). As Williams asserts that both he and
Francois-Williams are located in Pennsylvania, complete
diversity of citizenship is lacking.
Williams's Complaint is dismissed without prejudice
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction as to Defendants
Francois-Williams and Lake. The claims against the New York