United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Waco Division
PITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are five motions to dismiss Plaintiff's
complaint, filed by Defendant Waco Habitat for Humanity,
(Dkt. 6), Defendant Brand Shuttlesworth, (Dkt. 7), Defendant
Tracie Littrell, (Dkt. 8), Defendant Jose Mullet, (Dkt. 9),
and Defendant Lori Young, (Dkt. 10). These motions were
referred to United States Magistrate Judge Jeffrey C. Manske
for a Report and Recommendation on the merits pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b), and Rules 1(h) and 4(b) of Appendix C
of the Local Rules of the United States District Court for
the Western District of Texas. On May 16, 2017, Magistrate
Judge Manske filed a Report and Recommendation in the matter,
recommending that this Court grant each Defendant's
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), a party may serve and file
specific, written objections to the proposed findings and
recommendations of the Magistrate Judge within fourteen days
after being served with a copy of the Report and
Recommendation, and thereby secure a de novo review by the
district court. Plaintiff failed to timely file any
objections to the findings of fact or conclusions of law of
the Magistrate Judge. (Dkt. 12). The Court was informed,
however, that Plaintiff visited the District Court
Clerk's office on June 6, 2017, and told one of the
clerks that while he wished to file an objection to the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, he is
physically unable to because he cannot move his arms due to
his severe muscular dystrophy. Plaintiff's application to
proceed in this court without prepaying fees also
demonstrates that he is unlikely to be able to afford the
assistance of an attorney who might be able to draft an
objection for him.
ensure that Plaintiff's rights are not compromised
because of his disability and his inability to write an
objection, the Court has undertaken a de novo review of this
case and the Report and Recommendation filed by Magistrate
Judge Manske. After this review, the Court fully agrees with
the conclusions and recommendations of the Magistrate. (Mot.
to Proceed IFP, Dkt. 2).
Report and Recommendation explained, this Court must have
subject-matter jurisdiction over any claims it hears. U.S.
Const. art. III, § 2; see also Exxon Mobil Corp. v.
Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 552 (2005)
(“The district courts of the United States . . . are
‘courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only that
power authorized by Constitution and statute.'”).
There are two primary ways to invoke the jurisdiction of
federal courts. First, a plaintiff may invoke the court's
diversity jurisdiction in instances where the plaintiff is
citizen of a different state than each of the defendants in
the action and the plaintiff's claim is for more than
$75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332; State Farm
Fire & Cas. Co. v. Tashire, 386 U.S. 523, 530
(1967). Here, Plaintiff's Civil Cover Sheet indicates
that both he and the Waco Habitat for Humanity are citizens
of the same county- McLennan County, Texas. (Pl's. Civil
Cover Sheet, Dkt. 1-2). Because both Plaintiff and at least
one Defendant are citizens of McLennan County, Texas, there
is not complete diversity, and the Court does not have
jurisdiction on the basis of diversity jurisdiction.
a plaintiff may invoke the Court's federal question
jurisdiction where he or she states a claim under the United
States Constitution or other federal law. 28 U.S.C. §
1331. Here, Plaintiff's complaint names no specific
claims, but, construing it liberally, Plaintiff appears to be
attempting to state claims for negligence, gross negligence,
fraud, or breach of contract. Each of these claims, and other
related claims, are based in state law, and not the
Constitution or a federal statute.
Plaintiff suggests on his Civil Cover Sheet that he is making
a civil rights claim for housing or accommodations by
checking that box to describe the “Nature of the
Suit.” (Pl's. Civil Cover Sheet, Dkt. 1-2).
Liberally construing the allegations in Plaintiffs complaint,
however, the Court can identify no such claim. For example,
the Fair Housing Act (“the FHA”) prohibits
discrimination in residential real-estate related
transactions. See 42 U.S.C. § 3605. But
Plaintiff does not plausibly allege or even suggest
discrimination “because of race, color, religion, sex,
handicap, familial status, or national origin” in his
complaint or through the documents attached to his complaint.
Instead, Plaintiff appears to be concerned about the quality
of certain repairs provided to him free of charge through
Habitat for Humanity a few years ago. In short, Plaintiffs
complaint fails to meet his burden to demonstrate this
Court's jurisdiction over his claims. The Court must
therefore grant Defendants' motions to dismiss.
clear, the Court's ruling is limited to addressing its
jurisdiction. While the Court does not wish to suggest that
Plaintiff should bring his claims in state court, it does
wish to emphasize that this ruling does not address the
merits of his claims whatsoever, nor address whether his
claims might be successful in state court.
the Court ORDERS that the Report and Recommendation of the
United States Magistrate Judge (Dkt. 12) is APPROVED ...