United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION SCREENING PLAINTIFF'S
AMENDED COMPLAINT UNDER 28 U.S.C. §
C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
civil action, Plaintiff Michael Doyle attempts to assert
claims against the Town of Falmouth, the Falmouth Town
Council, and the Falmouth Town Manager based on the
Town's alleged imposition of excessive charges related to
Plaintiff's inspection and copying of municipal records
under the Maine Freedom of Access Act (FOAA). Because
Plaintiff is proceeding in this matter in forma pauperis (ECF
No. 6), his action is subject to review under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) to ensure that it states a claim for
which relief may be granted in this Court.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They cannot act in
the absence of subject matter jurisdiction, and they have a
sua sponte duty to confirm the existence of jurisdiction in
the face of apparent jurisdictional defects." United
States v. Univ. of Mass., Worcester, 812 F.3d 35, 44
(1st Cir. 2016). A review of Plaintiff's complaint and
amended complaint fails to reveal a basis upon which this
Court could exercise either federal question jurisdiction or
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and
Plaintiff, a Maine citizen, has asserted a claim against
three defendants who are also citizens of Maine. Plaintiff
thus has not alleged the diversity of citizenship necessary
for diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
evidently attempts to invoke this Court's federal
question jurisdiction by alleging that Defendants violated
certain federal criminal statutes prohibiting mail fraud,
citing 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1346. Regardless of
whether Defendants violated a federal criminal statute,
Plaintiff has no federal civil claim based on the alleged
violation. A violation of a federal criminal statute does not
automatically give rise to a federal question civil claim.
Cf. Merrell Dow Pharm. Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U.S.
804, 817 (1986) ("We conclude that a complaint alleging
a violation of a federal statute as an element of a state
cause of action, when Congress has determined that there
should be no private, federal cause of action for the
violation, does not state a claim "arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States."
(quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1331)); Dugar v. Coughlin,
613 F.Supp. 849, 852 n.1 (S.D.N.Y. 1985) (noting that alleged
violations of federal criminal statutes will not serve
"as a predicate for a section 1983 claim"). The
plain language of section 1341 does not authorize a private
cause of action, and courts that have considered whether the
federal mail fraud statute provides an implied private right
of action have held that it does not. E.g.,
Thompson v. Michels, No. 14-1647, 574 Fed.App'x
196, 197 (3d Cir. 2014) (per curiam); Jones v. TD
Bank, No. 11-4374, 468 Fed.App'x 93, 94 (3d Cir.
2012) (per curiam). Plaintiff, therefore, cannot rely upon
the alleged violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 to support his
federal claim against Defendants.
the Court lacks jurisdiction over Plaintiff's alleged
claims, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), I
recommend the Court dismiss Plaintiff's action without
service on Defendants.
may file objections to those specified portions of a
magistrate judge's report or proposed findings or
recommended decisions entered pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B) for which de novo review by the
district court is sought, together with a supporting
memorandum, within fourteen (14) days of being served with a
to file a timely objection shall constitute a waiver of the
right to de novo review by the district court and to
appeal the district court's order.
 In recognition of the fact that a
waiver of filing fees encourages some individuals to file
suit regardless of the merits, the in forma pauperis statute
authorizes the court to dismiss sua sponte those actions that
fail to state a viable claim, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B),
"so as to spare prospective defendants the inconvenience
and expense of answering such complaints." Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989).
 As mentioned above, Plaintiff also
cites 18 U.S.C. § 1346 in support of his claim. Section
1346 simply defines the term "scheme or artifice to
defraud" which ...