United States District Court, D. Hawaii
WILLIAM H. GILLIAM, Plaintiff,
ROY GLASSETT, Defendant.
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
Oki Mollway Chief United States District Judge.
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
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.
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”).
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.
THIS COURT LACKS DIVERSITY JURISDICTION.
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)).
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.
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.
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 ...