United States District Court, D. Connecticut
Sharon D. Moore, Plaintiff,
Juda J. Epstein, Defendant.
RULING FOR A SUA SPONTE ORDER OF DISMISSAL
CHARLES S. HAIGHT, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
February 27, 2019, Magistrate Judge Merriam issued a
Recommended Ruling in this case, advising that the
Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Process In Forma
Pauperis be denied without prejudice to re-filing. Doc.
6. The Recommended Ruling directed Plaintiff to pay the
filing fee or file a renewed motion by March 20, 2019, if she
wished to pursue her claims. Id. I approved and
adopted the Recommended Ruling and, finding that Plaintiff
had not filed anything by this deadline, instructed the Clerk
of Court to close the case. Doc. 7. Plaintiff has now filed a
letter asking the Court to reconsider the Recommended Ruling.
evaluating her request, the Court also revisited her claims
against the Defendant, Juda J. Epstein. The Court has
determined that, based upon a closer examination of her
Complaint, [Doc. 1], it lacks the authority to hear her
claims due to lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and so must
dismiss her claims from federal court.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction." Kokkonen
v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 377
(1994). Federal courts may only hear cases in which it has
subject matter jurisdiction, meaning there is a federal
question or there exists a diversity of citizenship between
the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.
28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332. See also Strawbridge
v. Curtiss, 7 U.S. 267, 267-68 (1806); Da Silva v.
Kinsho Int'l Corp., 229 F.3d 358, 363 (2d Cir. 2000)
(delineating two categories of subject matter jurisdiction).
question of subject matter jurisdiction is fundamental so
that a court must raise the issue sua sponte, of its
own accord, when the issue is not addressed by the parties.
Mansfield, C. & L.M. Ry. Co. v. Swan, 111 U.S.
379, 382 (1884). See also Joseph v. Leavitt, 465
F.3d 87, 89 (2d Cir. 2006) ("Although neither party has
suggested that we lack appellate jurisdiction, we have an
independent obligation to consider the presence or absence of
subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte."),
cert. denied, 549 U.S. 1282 (2007); Univ. of S.
Alabama v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir.
1999) ("[I]t is well settled that a federal court is
obligated to inquire into subject matter jurisdiction sua
sponte whenever it may be lacking."). Unlike
personal jurisdiction, "failure of subject matter
jurisdiction is not waivable." Lyndonville Sav. Bank
& Trust Co. v. Lussier, 211 F.3d 697, 700 (2d Cir.
2000). If subject matter jurisdiction is lacking, the action
must be dismissed. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3),
Lussier, 211 F.3d at 700-01.
there exists neither basis for federal subject matter
jurisdiction. First, there is not a federal question because,
although Plaintiff raises a federal claim of due process, the
Defendant appears to be a private attorney and not a
government actor. Doc. 1 at 1-3. Due process claims are only
actionable against a government actor. DeShaney v.
Winnebago Cty. Dept. of Soc. Servs., 489 U.S. 189, 195
(1989). Second, diversity jurisdiction also does not apply
because, although the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000,
Plaintiff and Defendant are both citizens of Connecticut.
See Doc. at 1.
the Court must sua sponte dismiss Plaintiff's
claims for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. This decision
is not a determination of the merits of Plaintiff's
claims. Plaintiff charges the Defendant with serious
misconduct which, she alleges, caused her significant loss
and damage. This federal Court, having no jurisdiction to
consider the subject of Plaintiff's claims, says nothing
about whether those claims are or are not meritorious or
entitle Plaintiff to a judgment against this Defendant. If
Plaintiff wishes to pursue her claims against Defendant, she
must do so in a state court of competent
case is DISMISSED for lack of subject matter jurisdiction,
WITHOUT PREJUDICE to the assertion by Plaintiff of her claims
in a state court of competent jurisdiction. Her request for
the Court to reconsider the Recommended Ruling, [Doc. 8], is
denied as MOOT.
 Plaintiff claims that the Defendant is
"employed as an Attorney, a court officer," [Doc. 1
at 1], but the body of the Complaint makes clear that
Defendant is not employed by any court and represented
Plaintiff in foreclosure proceedings in his capacity as a
private attorney. See Id. at 1-3.
If Plaintiff chooses to be self-represented in state court,
instead of by an attorney, Connecticut's Court Service
Centers is a source of advice on how to file a case, how to
obtain fee waivers, etc. See Court Service Centers,
State of Connecticut Judicial Branch,