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Galvan v. Levasseur

United States District Court, D. Maine

June 30, 2016



          JOHN C. NIVISON U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Susanne Levasseur’s Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 29.) Plaintiff has not filed an opposition to the motion.[1]

         After review of the motion and the amended complaint, I recommend the Court grant Defendant’s motion.

         Background Facts

         In her original complaint, Plaintiff sets forth a list of claims related to her tenancy at property owned by Defendant. (Complaint at 2, ECF No. 1.) Within the list of claims, Plaintiff asserted that she was injured as the result of Defendant’s failure to address an unsafe condition on the property, and that Defendant failed to accommodate an unspecified disability and discriminated against Plaintiff regarding the properties Defendant made available to Plaintiff. (Id.)

         On February 1, 2016, as permitted by the Court, Plaintiff amended her complaint. (Amended Complaint, ECF No. 23.) In her amended pleading, Plaintiff alleges Defendant promised her that she could purchase the property located at 131 Betts Road, Orrington, Maine. Plaintiff attached to the amended complaint a purchase and sale agreement that Plaintiff alone signed, an apartment lease agreement dated November 1, 2014, and a 30-day notice to quit dated June 29, 2015. Plaintiff’s allegations and the attachments to the amended complaint suggest that Plaintiff moved into the property with her family and that Defendant, acting on behalf of the landlord, served Plaintiff with a notice to quit because Plaintiff was sharing the premises with individuals who were not part of Plaintiff’s family.[2]

         Plaintiff alleges violation of the Sixth Amendment, breach of quiet enjoyment, and wrongful lease termination.

         Standard of Review

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), a party may seek dismissal of an action based on “lack of subject matter jurisdiction.” “‘Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, ’ possessing ‘only that power authorized by Constitution and statute.’” Gunn v. Minton, __ U.S. __, 133 S.Ct. 1059, 1064 (2013) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). “It is to be presumed that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction.” Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377 (citation omitted). Unless Plaintiff alleges an actionable claim under federal law, or a claim between citizens of different states that exceeds $75, 000, this Court would lack jurisdiction over the Plaintiff’s action. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332.

         In addition, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) authorizes a party to seek dismissal of “a claim for relief in any pleading” if that party believes that the pleading fails “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” In its assessment of the motion, a court must “assume the truth of all well-plead facts and give the plaintiff[] the benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom.” Blanco v. Bath Iron Works Corp., 802 F.Supp.2d 215, 221 (D. Me. 2011) (quoting Genzyme Corp. v. Fed. Ins. Co., 622 F.3d 62, 68 (1st Cir. 2010)). To overcome a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a plaintiff must establish that her allegations raise a plausible basis for a factfinder to conclude that the defendant is legally responsible for the claims at issue. Id.

         Although a pro se plaintiff’s complaint is subject to “less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the complaint may not consist entirely of “conclusory allegations that merely parrot the relevant legal standard, ” Young v. Wells Fargo, N.A., 717 F.3d 224, 231 (1st Cir. 2013). See also Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir. 1980) (explaining that the liberal standard applied to the pleadings of pro se plaintiffs “is not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim”). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “A pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. Consequently, in assessing whether a plaintiff has asserted a cause of action, a court must “isolate and ignore statements in the complaint that simply offer legal labels and conclusions or merely rehash cause-of-action elements.” Schatz v. Republican State Leadership Comm., 669 F.3d 50, 55 (1st Cir. 2012).


         Through her motion to dismiss, Defendant argues that the Court lacks jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claims, and that Plaintiff has not asserted facts that would support a claim against her for action she took on behalf of the landlord.

         As mentioned above, Plaintiff has not filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss. Failure to oppose a motion to dismiss is deemed a waiver of objection. D. Me. Loc. R. 7(b). Plaintiff’s amended complaint, therefore, is arguably susceptible to dismissal based on Plaintiff’s lack of opposition to the motion. Regardless of whether Plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion, because the Court lacks jurisdiction over the claims as ...

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