United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER SCREENING COMPLAINT
PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(E)
C. Nivison, U.S. Magistrate Judge
filed a complaint through which he seeks to recover money
damages based on certain representations Defendant allegedly
made in 2016 and 2017.
his complaint, Plaintiff filed an application to proceed in
forma pauperis (ECF No. 3), which application the Court
granted. (ECF No. 5.) In accordance with the in forma
pauperis statute, a preliminary review of Plaintiff's
complaint is appropriate. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
a review of Plaintiff's complaint, I recommend the Court
dismiss the complaint.
party is proceeding in forma pauperis, “the court shall
dismiss the case at any time if the court determines, ”
inter alia, that the action is “frivolous or
malicious” or “fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
“Dismissals [under § 1915] are often made sua
sponte prior to the issuance of process, so as to spare
prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense of
answering such complaints.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989).
considering whether a complaint states a claim for which
relief may be granted, courts must assume the truth of all
well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all
reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernandez v.
Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). 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), to allege a civil
action in federal court, it is not enough for a plaintiff
merely to allege that a defendant acted unlawfully; a
plaintiff must affirmatively allege facts that identify the
manner by which the defendant subjected the plaintiff to a
harm for which the law affords a remedy. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
addition to stating a plausible claim, Plaintiff must assert
a claim within the Court's subject matter jurisdiction.
“Federal 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.
alleges that in 2016, while Defendant was a candidate for the
office of President of the United States, and in 2017,
Defendant made certain representations or commitments that
Defendant failed to fulfill.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, ' possessing
‘only that power authorized by Constitution and
statute.'” Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251,
256 (2013) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 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). “A court is duty-bound
to notice, and act upon, defects in its subject matter
jurisdiction sua sponte.” Spooner v. EEN,
Inc., 644 F.3d 62, 67 (1st Cir. 2011).
jurisdiction of the federal courts is limited to
“Cases” and “Controversies.”
Hochendoner v. Genzyme Corp., 823 F.3d 724, 730 (1st
Cir. 2016) (quoting U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1).
The limitation reflects “the proper - and properly
limited - role of the courts in a democratic society.”
Id. (quoting Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490,
498 (1975)). In this case, Plaintiff seeks to assert a claim
based on Defendant's failure to implement certain
policies. The claim is nonjusticiable because it raises a
matter that is “commit[ted] … to a coordinate
political department, ” “lack[s] …
judicially discoverable and manageable standards for
resolving it, ” and cannot be decided “without an
initial policy determination of a kind clearly for
nonjudicial discretion.” Baker v. Carr, 369
U.S. 186, 217 (1962). Furthermore, Plaintiff would lack
standing to assert any potential claim based on the facts
alleged given that the facts reflect a generalized grievance
concerning a matter committed to the representative branches
of government. Chardon - Dubos v. United States, 273
Fed. App'x 5 (1st Cir. 2008) (citing FEC v.
Akins, 524 U.S. 11, 24 (1998), and Valley Forge
Christian Coll. v. Americans United for Separation of Church
and State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 474 - 75
(1982)). See, e.g., Do-Nguyen v.
Clinton, 100 F.Supp.2d 1241, 1245 - 47 (S.D. Cal. 2000)
(dismissing claims related to executive policy, citing
plaintiff's lack of standing to assert claims involving
generalized grievances and matters “more appropriately
addressed in the representative branches” and, in the
alternative, based on nonjusticiability of political
question); Weinstein v. Trump, No. 1:17-cv-01018,
2017 WL 6544635, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 21, 2017) (dismissing
action to enforce alleged promise or pledge to address
conflicts of interest).
on the foregoing analysis, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2), I recommend the Court ...