The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert P. Patterson, Jr., District Judge.
Plaintiffs, residents of New York, bring this action for
injunctive relief and damages pro se against defendant, a New
York not-for-profit corporation. Plaintiffs allege breach of
contract and malicious prosecutions. Defendant moves for
dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the
reasons set forth below, defendant's motion is granted.
Plaintiffs allege that they have published approximately 100
papers in which they have exposed these frauds by AES. They
assert that, angered by these exposures, defendant AES
"physically abused, degraded," and expelled plaintiffs from the
society. Complaint at 2. Plaintiffs have been arrested as a
result of the disputes between them and AES, and an order of
protection was entered against them in New York Criminal Court
by Judge Drager on February 20, 1991 ordering them to stay away
from all AES officials and employees and any AES gatherings.
Rieck Aff., Exh. A.
Plaintiffs allege that the AES board of governors has "never
had any legal power for admission/expulsion" of AES members.
Plaintiffs essentially seek reinstatement as AES members: they
request injunctive relief requiring defendant to return their
membership cards and voting ballots and to grant plaintiffs
access to AES documents. Additionally, they seek compensatory
and punitive damages.
A pro se complaint is held "to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520-21, 92 S.Ct. 594, 595-96, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972).
Nonetheless, even according this complaint the most sympathetic
reading, it reveals no basis for the exercise of subject matter
jurisdiction over plaintiffs' suit.
The subject matter jurisdiction of the federal district
courts is limited and is set forth generally in 28 U.S.C. § 1331,
1332. Under these statutes, federal jurisdiction is
available when a "federal question" is presented, see 28 U.S.C. § 1331,
or when plaintiffs and defendants are of diverse
citizenship and the amount in question exceeds $50,000, see
28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Plaintiffs do not allege, nor do the facts demonstrate, the
existence of diversity of citizenship between the parties:
plaintiffs are residents of New York, and defendant is
incorporated in New York and has its principal of business in
New York. Thus, there is no federal jurisdiction under
28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Nor do plaintiffs' claims present a federal question.
"Federal question jurisdiction may be properly invoked only if
the plaintiff's complaint necessarily draws into question the
interpretation of federal law." State of New York v. White,
528 F.2d 336, 338 (2d Cir. 1975). The complaint itself alleges only
breach of contract and malicious prosecutions, both actionable
under state law. Furthermore, the facts alleged in the
complaint point to no constitutional violations, nor does it
appear from the complaint that AES has a sufficient nexus with
the state to fulfill the "state action" element required for
bringing any such constitutional claim in federal court under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Myron v. Consolidated Rail Corp.,
752 F.2d 50, 54 (2d Cir. 1985). Therefore, there is no federal
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Since this complaint reveals no basis for the exercise of
subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiffs' suit, it must be
dismissed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3). Whether plaintiff has a claim
cognizable in a state court is not addressed by this decision.
This action is dismissed for lack of subject ...