United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
Boom, District Judge United States District Court
pro se plaintiff, Rima Jones, is proceeding without
the prepayment of fees, or in forma pauperis.
Therefore, the Court must review the complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). McGore v. Wrigglesworth,
114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds
by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the following
reasons, the action will be dismissed.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
plaintiff, a resident of Kentucky, sues “Denis Bowles
or Current Residen[t], ” also located in Kentucky. She
states that she brings suit under this Court's
federal-question jurisdiction for “constitutional
rights and civil rights.” She alleges that the
defendant intentionally dug a hole in his back yard and took
a city fence down. She states that she lives on the top of a
hill and when it rains or snows “sand from my backyard
rolls down to the hole and fill[s] it up. With a Bobcat
Defendant empties it again.” As relief, she requests,
“Reinstate sand level supporting house foundation to
level previous, ” as well as compensatory and punitive
damages, interest, costs, and attorneys' fees.
review under § 1915, this Court must dismiss a case at
any time if the Court determines that the action is
“frivolous or malicious, ” fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
however, the Court must determine whether it has jurisdiction
over this action. It is axiomatic that federal district
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and their powers
are enumerated in Article III of the Constitution.
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994); Hudson v. Coleman, 347 F.3d 138,
141 (6th Cir. 2003) (“[I]t is well established that
federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing
only that power authorized by the Constitution and
statute.”). “Jurisdiction defines the contours of
the authority of courts to hear and decide cases, and, in so
doing, it dictates the scope of the judiciary's
influence.” Douglas v. E.G. Baldwin & Assoc.,
Inc., 150 F.3d 604, 606 (6th Cir. 1998), overruled
on other grounds by Cobb v. Contract Transp., Inc., 452
F.3d 543, 548-49 (6th Cir. 2006). Federal courts have an
independent duty to determine whether they have jurisdiction
and to police the boundaries of their own jurisdiction.
Heartwood, Inc. v. Agpaoa, 628 F.3d 261, 266 (6th
Cir. 2010). The party who seeks to invoke a federal district
court's jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing the
court's authority to hear the case. Kokkonen,
511 U.S. at 377. “If 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).
complaint indicates that the plaintiff seeks to bring this
action based on federal-question jurisdiction pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1331. Under § 1331 of Title 28 of the U.S.
Code, “The district courts shall have original
jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 1331. The complaint also refers to
constitutional and civil rights. “[A] litigant
complaining of a violation of a constitutional right must
utilize 42 U.S.C. § 1983.” Azul-Pacifico, Inc.
v. City of Los Angeles, 973 F.2d 704 (9th Cir. 1992). To
state a § 1983 claim, the plaintiff must allege that a
“person” acting under color of state law deprived
the plaintiff of a right secured by the Constitution or
federal law. Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149,
1983 typically cannot be used to bring an action against a
private citizen, like the plaintiff's neighbor, the
defendant in this action. Only if the alleged infringement of
federal rights is fairly attributable to the state may
private persons be held to be state actors. Rendell-Baker
v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830, 838 (1982). “This circuit
has recognized as many as four tests to aid courts in
determining whether challenged conduct is fairly attributable
to the State”: (1) the nexus test or symbiotic
relationship test, Burton v. Wilmington Parking
Auth., 365 U.S. 715, 721-26 (1961); (2) the public
function test, West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49-50
(1988); Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. at 157; (3)
the state compulsion test, Adickes v. S.H. Kress &
Co., 398 U.S. 144, 170 (1970); and (4) the entwinement
test, Brentwood Acad. v. Tennessee Secondary Sch.
Athletic Ass'n, 531 U.S. 288, 291 (2001). Marie
v. Am. Red Cross, 771 F.3d 344, 362 (6th Cir. 2014)
(citing Vistein v. Am. Registry of Radiologic
Technologists, 342 Fed.Appx. 113, 127 (6th Cir. 2009).
Nothing in the complaint suggests that the defendant should
be considered a state actor under any of these tests. The
Court therefore concludes that the plaintiff has not met her
burden of establishing the Court's authority to hear this
case. Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377.
foregoing reasons, the instant action will be dismissed for