United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on review of the response of
plaintiffs Phillip and Odessa Lee to the Court's August
2, 2019 order to show cause. (Docket No. 8). The Court had
ordered plaintiffs to show cause why their case should not be
dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Having
reviewed plaintiffs' response, and for the reasons
discussed below, the Court must dismiss this action without
are pro se litigants. On April 4, 2019, they filed a civil
action against defendant John Cooper alleging that Cooper
reneged on a rent-to-own agreement concerning property at 843
Poplar Street in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. (Docket No. 1).
Plaintiffs asserted that this Court had jurisdiction based on
a federal question. (Docket No. 1 at 3). However, in the
jurisdictional section of plaintiffs' form complaint,
plaintiffs failed to support this assertion with relevant
facts. Instead, they merely alleged that they had purchased a
house in Poplar Bluff from defendant Cooper, paying twice the
value for it. In the section of the form complaint where
plaintiffs were directed to list any "federal officials
or federal agencies" involved in their case, they listed
the name of Missouri circuit judge John Shock.
"Statement of Claim, " plaintiffs asserted that in
1996, they purchased the property at 843 Poplar Street
pursuant to a rent-to-own agreement between themselves and
defendant Cooper. (Docket No. 1 at 5). Plaintiffs alleged
that Cooper never gave them the deed to the property, even
after paying twice the amount in the agreement. In support,
plaintiffs noted that Cooper had signed and notarized legal
documents to this effect. (Docket No. 1 -1 at 1
Plaintiffs claimed to have lived on the property for
twenty-three years, and that they "would have never just
paid rent" for so long a period of time. (Docket No. 1
relief, plaintiffs sought to either have their earnest money
paid in full or to receive the return of the property.
(Docket No. 1 a 5).
28, 2019, plaintiffs filed a supplement to their complaint.
(Docket No. 6). The supplement consisted of a number of
written documents, including: a Section 8 Lease Addendum,
covering the period from December 28, 1998 to November 30,
1999; a state-court petition filed by defendant Cooper
against plaintiffs, seeking recovery of possession for
non-payment of rent; various letters to the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA); a letter from a notary public; a
letter from an attorney to plaintiffs, advising plaintiffs
that a state court had determined that they owed $6, 000 in
back rent; a letter from State Farm Fire and Casualty Company
to plaintiffs, advising them that they had an outstanding
balance; and a Housing Assistance Payments Contract.
August 2, 2019, the Court ordered plaintiffs to show cause
why their complaint should not be dismissed for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction. (Docket No. 7). In particular,
the Court noted that despite asserting the existence of
federal question jurisdiction, plaintiffs had failed to
demonstrate that their case implicated any federal statutes,
any federal treaties, or any provisions of the United States
Constitution. (Docket No. 7 at 6). Petitioners were given
thirty days in which to file a response. (Docket No. 7 at 7).
They were advised that a failure to comply with the
Court's order would result in the dismissal of their case
without prejudice and without further notice.
duly filed their response on September 3, 2019. (Docket No.
response to the Court's order to show cause essentially
restates the allegations made in their original complaint.
They state that they had a rent-to-own agreement with
defendant Cooper in which they would make payments to Cooper
for the house at 843 Poplar Street with the intention of
owning it one day. (Docket No. 8 at 1). However, even after
paying twice the purchase price, Cooper did not transfer
ownership of the property. Plaintiffs accuse Cooper of mental
cruelty, robbery, stealing, fraud, and deceitfulness. They
also claim that "Cooper is a thief who has
restating their claims, much of the response is devoted to
detailing plaintiffs' current difficulties regarding
housing and their health. (Docket No. 8 at 1-2). At no point,
however, do plaintiffs attempt to demonstrate a basis for
this Court's jurisdiction, as directed by the Court's
order to show cause.
allege that defendant Cooper violated a rent-to-own agreement
whereby plaintiffs would attain ownership of 843 Poplar
Street, Poplar Bluff, Missouri, after making a certain number
of payments. Despite making twice the number of required
payments, plaintiffs accuse Cooper of refusing to give them
the deed. From the face of the complaint, it appears that the
Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Because of this,
plaintiffs were directed to show cause as to why this case
should not ...