United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on its own motion. On June 3,
2019, the Court ordered plaintiff to show cause why his
complaint should not be dismissed for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. (Docket No. 8). Plaintiff was given thirty days
from the date of the order in which to respond in writing. He
has not responded. Therefore, for the reasons discussed
below, plaintiff's complaint will be dismissed without
prejudice. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3).
is a pro se litigant who filed a complaint against defendant
Thomas E. Osterholt on January 22, 2019. (Docket No. 1). He
also filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis and a motion
to appoint counsel. (Docket Nos. 2-3).
complaint, plaintiff indicated that the basis of this
Court's jurisdiction was a federal question. (Docket No.
1 at 3; Docket No. 1-1 at 1). Specifically, in the section of
the form complaint for asserting federal question
jurisdiction, plaintiff stated: “Housing
discrimination. At a hearing about an eviction in June 2018,
the lawyer refused to look at paperwork indicating the rent
had been paid.” (Docket No. 1 at 3). In his statement
of claim, plaintiff stated, in full:
At [an] eviction hearing in June 2018 in St. Louis[, ] the
lawyer refused to look at proof that I was current in the
rent. I had a truck driving job waiting in Omaha, NE. He
scheduled the next hearing, and I was rear-ended on I-80 west
in Wyoming[, ] causing me to lose my job.
(Docket No. 1 at 5).
supplemented these allegations with several exhibits that
were sent to the Court after the filing of the complaint.
(Docket No. 6). The exhibits included chat transcripts
between plaintiff and USAA; a revised IRS earned income tax
credit form from a labor law compliance service; a notice of
cancellation of insurance from USAA; a letter from the United
States Department of Veterans Affairs; a letter from the
Social Security Administration; and a docket sheet from
Neighborhood Gardens Apartments v. Jefferson, No.
1822-AC16429 (22nd Cir., City of St. Louis). Based
on the docket sheet and review of plaintiff's state court
case, the Court noted that defendant Osterholt is the
attorney for Neighborhood Gardens Apartments and filed an
action against plaintiff seeking unpaid rent.
sought damages in the amount of $74, 999 for loss of income
and back pain, apparently in relation to the aforementioned
car accident in Wyoming.
3, 2019, the Court granted plaintiff's motion for leave
to proceed in forma pauperis, but denied his motion to
appoint counsel. (Docket No. 8). The Cour t also order ed
plaintiff to show cause why his case should not be dismissed
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. He was given thirty
days in which to respond. However, plaintiff has failed to
brought this action against defendant Thomas E. Osterholt,
alleging that at a June 2018 eviction hearing, Osterholt
refused to look at paperwork indicating that plaintiff's
rent had been paid. He claimed this constituted
“housing discrimination.” For the reasons
discussed below, plaintiff's complaint must be dismissed
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
matter jurisdiction refers to a court's power to decide a
certain class of cases. LeMay v. U.S. Postal Serv.,
450 F.3d 797, 799 (8th Cir. 2006). “Federal
courts are not courts of general jurisdiction; they have only
the power that is authorized by Article III of the
Constitution and the statutes enacted by Congress pursuant
thereto.” Bender v. Williamsport Area Sch.
Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986). See also Gunn v.
Minton, 568 U.S. 251, 256 (2013) (“Federal courts
are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing only that
power authorized by Constitution and statute”). The
presence of subject matter jurisdiction is a threshold
requirement that must be assured in every federal case.
Kronholm v. Fed. Deposit Ins. Corp., 915 F.2d 1171,
1174 (8th Cir. 1990). See also Sanders v.
Clemco Indus., 823 F.2d 214, 216 (8th Cir.
1987) (“The threshold requirement in every federal case
is jurisdiction and we have admonished the district court to