Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Gilliam v. Glassett

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

January 9, 2019

WILLIAM H. GILLIAM, Plaintiff,
v.
ROY GLASSETT, Defendant.

         ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION; ORDER DENYING AS MOOT MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM; ORDER SETTING DEADLINE FOR THE FILING OF A MOTION SEEKING LEAVE TO FILE A SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

          Susan Oki Mollway Chief United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION.

         Plaintiff William H. Gilliam complains that Defendant Roy Glassett disturbed him by playing music a few minutes after “quiet time” began at a vacation condominium on Kauai. Any dispute about how loud the music was playing must remain unresolved by this court at this point because the First Amended Complaint does not allege facts establishing this court's subject matter jurisdiction. This court dismisses the First Amended Complaint for lack of jurisdiction, rendering moot Glassett's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Gilliam may file a motion seeking leave to file a Second Amended Complaint no later than January 31, 2019. In the interest of keeping down the costs of litigating this dispute, this court orders that Glassett need not take any further action (including responding to a motion for leave to file a Second Amended Complaint) with respect to this case until this court directs such action.

         II. ANALYSIS.

         Federal district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing only the power authorized by the Constitution or by statute. See Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., 545 U.S. 546, 552 (2005). Gilliam, the party invoking this court's jurisdiction, has the burden of proving the actual existence of subject matter jurisdiction. See Thompson v. McCombe, 99 F.3d 352, 353 (9th Cir. 1996) (“A party invoking the federal court's jurisdiction has the burden of proving the actual existence of subject matter jurisdiction.”). Gilliam asserts diversity and federal question jurisdiction. As discussed below, neither supplies this court with subject matter jurisdiction with respect to Gilliam's claims.

         On October 12, 2018, Glassett moved to dismiss the original Complaint in this action pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. On October 22, 2018, Gilliam filed a First Amended Complaint. The court deems the motion to dismiss to apply with respect to the First Amended Complaint. In preparing for a potential hearing with respect to the motion to dismiss, this court determined that the First Amended Complaint failed to allege claims over which this court has subject matter jurisdiction. In re Excel Innovations, Inc., 502 F.3d 1086, 1092 (9th Cir. 2007) (“we have an independent obligation to inquire into the presence or absence of subject matter jurisdiction”). Accordingly, the court sua sponte dismisses the First Amended Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. It appears to a legal certainty that the requisite amount for diversity jurisdiction is lacking, and the federal question claims pled in the First Amended Complaint are wholly insubstantial and frivolous. Fiedler v. Clark, 714 F.2d 77, 78-79 (9th Cir. 1983) (“a federal court may dismiss sua sponte if jurisdiction is lacking”).

         The court dismisses the First Amended Complaint without notice to Gilliam because, even construing the pleading liberally, no argument could satisfactorily overcome the deficiencies discussed below, and because Gilliam may file a motion that attaches a proposed Second Amended Complaint properly alleging claims over which this court has subject matter jurisdiction. See Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9thCir.1987) (“The Supreme Court has instructed the federal courts to liberally construe the inartful pleading of pro se litigants.” (quotation marks and citation omitted)). This procedure balances Gilliam's attempt to have his claim adjudicated before this court with Glassett's interest in avoiding the expense of challenging a potentially frivolous claim.

         A. THIS COURT LACKS DIVERSITY JURISDICTION.

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), this court has original jurisdiction with respect to civil actions when the parties are diverse and the matter in controversy exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. When a complaint is originally filed in federal court, “the amount in controversy is determined from the face of the pleadings.” Geographic Expeditions, Inc. v. Estate of Lhotka ex rel. Lhotka, 599 F.3d 1102, 1106 (9th Cir. 2010) (quotation marks and citation omitted). Generally, the amount in controversy alleged in a complaint controls so long as it is made in good faith. However, a court may dismiss a complaint for lack of diversity jurisdiction when it appears “to a legal certainty that the claim is really for less than the jurisdictional amount.” Id. That is, “a federal court has subject matter jurisdiction unless upon the face of the complaint, it is obvious that the suit cannot involve the necessary amount.” Id. (quotation marks and citation omitted). Accord Naffe v. Frey, 789 F.3d 1030, 1040 (9th Cir. 2015) (“[T]he sum claimed by the plaintiff controls if the claim is apparently made in good faith. It must appear to a legal certainty that the claim is really for less than the jurisdictional amount to justify dismissal.” (quotation marks and citation omitted)).

         While the First Amended Complaint alleges that the necessary amount in controversy is in issue, this court rules that “it is obvious that the suit cannot involve the necessary amount.” Geographic Expeditions, 599 F.3d at 1106. To a legal certainty, Gilliam has not pled a claim involving more than $75, 000 in controversy, exclusive of interest and costs.

         Gilliam alleges that a vacationer, Glassett, allegedly played music too loudly. Gilliam alleges that the music was being played after the 9 p.m. “quiet time” mandated by the condominium project's rules. See First Amended Complaint ¶ 6, ECF No. 7, PageID # 43. Gilliam says that Glassett “placed and directed powerful stereo speakers on his rented apartment lanai . . ., and blared the music (presumably to overcome the loud waves and surf), with indifference to all others . . . .” Id.

         According to an e-mail dated March 14, 2013, written by Glassett and attached to the First Amended Complaint, Glassett and someone named Marjie were

sitting on the patio listening to music and visiting. At approximately 9:15pm [on March 10, 2013, ] the tenant from #209 [Gilliam] came around the corner in the dark and began yelling and screaming that our music was too loud and that quiet hours began at 9pm. He was very angry, abusive and came upon us very ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.