United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
J. GOSSETT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
plaintiff, Joseph Thomas McQuatters, proceeding pro
se, brings this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915. This matter is before the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.).
Having reviewed the Complaint in accordance with applicable
law, the court concludes this action should be summarily
dismissed without prejudice and issuance and service of
Factual and Procedural Background
indicates he was ticketed by a Forest Acres police officer
for an unspecified traffic violation on December 12, 2017.
(Compl., ECF No. 1 at 2.) He claims he pled nolo
contendre to the charge and paid a fine. (Id.
at 4.) However, Plaintiff claims that the city, its police
department, and its municipal court are an “unlawful
RICO operation” and are “private corporations
masquerading as a government entity” that fraudulently
served him his traffic ticket and did not have subject matter
jurisdiction to hear his case. (Id.) Plaintiff
asserts the named defendants violated several Amendments to
the United States Constitution but does not assert what
relief he seeks in this matter. (Id. at 1, 4.)
Standard of Review
established local procedure in this judicial district, a
careful review has been made of the pro se
Complaint. The Complaint has been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915, which permits an indigent litigant to commence
an action in federal court without prepaying the
administrative costs of proceeding with the lawsuit. This
statute allows a district court to dismiss the case upon a
finding that the action “is frivolous or malicious,
” “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.
court is required to liberally construe pro se
complaints, which are held to a less stringent standard than
those drafted by attorneys. Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007); King v. Rubenstein, 825 F.3d
206, 214 (4th Cir. 2016). Nonetheless, the requirement of
liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore
a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set
forth a claim cognizable in a federal district court. See
Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th
Cir. 1990); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 684 (2009) (outlining pleading requirements under Rule 8
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for “all civil
instant case is subject to summary dismissal because
Plaintiff fails to demonstrate that the court has subject
matter jurisdiction over this action. Federal courts are
courts of limited jurisdiction, “constrained to
exercise only the authority conferred by Article III of the
Constitution and affirmatively granted by federal
statute.” In re Bulldog Trucking, Inc., 147
F.3d 347, 352 (4th Cir. 1998). Accordingly, a federal court
is required, sua sponte, to determine if a valid
basis for its jurisdiction exists, “and to dismiss the
action if no such ground appears.” Id. at 352;
see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) (“If the court
determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”).
Although the absence of subject matter jurisdiction may be
raised at any time during the case, determining jurisdiction
at the outset of the litigation is the most efficient
procedure. Lovern v. Edwards, 190 F.3d 648, 654 (4th
is no presumption that a federal court has jurisdiction over
a case, Pinkley, Inc. v. City of Frederick, 191 F.3d
394, 399 (4th Cir. 1999), and a plaintiff must allege facts
essential to show jurisdiction in his pleadings. McNutt
v. Gen. Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189
(1936); see also Dracos v. Hellenic Lines, Ltd., 762
F.2d 348, 350 (4th Cir. 1985) (“[P]laintiffs must
affirmatively plead the jurisdiction of the federal
court.”). To this end, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
8(a)(1) requires that the complaint provide “a short
and plain statement of the grounds for the court's
most commonly recognized and utilized bases for federal court
jurisdiction are (1) “federal question” under 28
U.S.C. § 1331, and (2) “diversity of
citizenship” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. As
discussed below, the allegations contained in Plaintiff's
Complaint does not fall within the scope of either of these
forms of this court's limited jurisdiction, and no other
basis for exercising jurisdiction is apparent from the
federal question jurisdiction requires the plaintiff to show
that the case is one “arising under the Constitution,
laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. Plaintiff provides a list of constitutional
amendments that he claims the defendants violated, but
otherwise does not make any factual allegations or argument
that would plausibly show the defendants violated
Plaintiff's constitutional rights. And conclusory
statements without supporting facts or citation to specific
legal precedent establishing a cause of action they seek to
pursue fails to adequately establish federal question
jurisdiction under Rule 8. See Burgess v. Charlottesville
Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 477 F.2d 40, 43-44 (4th Cir.
1973) (“[T]he mere assertion in a pleading that the
case is one involving the construction or application of the
federal laws does not authorize the District Court to
entertain the suit[, ] nor does federal jurisdiction attach
on the bare assertion that a federal right or law has been
infringed or violated or that the suit takes its origin in
the laws of the United States.”) (internal citations
and quotation marks omitted). Therefore, federal question
jurisdiction does not exist in this case.
the diversity statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), requires
complete diversity of parties and an amount in controversy in
excess of $75, 000. Complete diversity of parties in a case
means that no party on one side may be a citizen of the same
state as any party on the other side. See Owen Equip.
& Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 372-74 nn.
13-16 (1978). Here, Plaintiff asserts no facts that would
inciate this case involves diversity of citizenship among the
parties or ...