United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION UPON SCREENING PLAINTIFF'S
COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
action, Plaintiffs challenge a plan by Defendants to convert
municipal solid waste into energy at a facility in Hampden,
Maine. (Complaint, ECF No. 1; Addendum to Complaint, ECF No.
Dresser filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis
(ECF No. 9), which application the Court granted. (ECF Nos.
10/11.) In accordance with the in forma pauperis statute, a
preliminary review of Plaintiffs' complaint is
appropriate. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
a review of Plaintiffs' complaint, I recommend the Court
dismiss the complaint.
federal in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, is
designed to ensure meaningful access to the federal courts
for those persons unable to pay the costs of bringing an
action. When a party is proceeding in forma pauperis,
however, “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” or
“seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 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
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),
this is “not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not
required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim,
” Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st
Cir. 1980). 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).
his complaint, which Plaintiff styles a “Motion for
Writ of Error, ” Plaintiff evidently asks the Court to
address certain issues related to the work of Defendant
Municipal Review Committee and to appoint Plaintiff to a
management or supervisory position to establish and monitor a
more effective waste management plan. (Complaint at 1 - 3.)
Through an addendum to the complaint, Plaintiff also attempts
to assert a freedom of access or negligence claim. (Addendum
at 1.) Plaintiff also references the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA) and appears to assert a need for an
environmental impact statement under the NEPA. (Id.
at 2, 4.)
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).
his filings, Plaintiff evidently challenges certain conduct
of Defendants regarding the municipal solid waste management
services provided in Maine. Plaintiff, however, has not
asserted any facts that would support a claim within this
Court's subject matter jurisdiction.
on his allegations, Plaintiff appears to attempt to assert a
state law negligence claim. Federal district courts do not
have jurisdiction over a state law claim unless the claim is
between citizens of different states and “the matter in
controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000.” 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). For a court to exercise diversity
jurisdiction, there must be “complete diversity of
citizenship as between all plaintiffs and all
defendants.” Connectu LLC v. Zuckerberg, 522
F.3d 82, 91 (1st Cir. 2008). Here, insofar as both ...