United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Valdosta Division
LAWSON, SENIOR JUDGE.
Sandra Denise Reid filed a pro se Complaint in this
Court on December 7, 2016. (Doc. 1). For the reasons that
follow, the Court dismisses Plaintiff's Complaint sua
sponte for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, thereby
mooting Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in
forma pauperis (“IFP”) (Doc. 2) and
Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. 5).
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that she was injured in a bus
accident in the course of her employment with the Tift County
School District. (Doc. 1, p. 4). While undergoing treatment
for injuries sustained in the accident, Defendant Dr. David
Banks informed Plaintiff that she had a foreign object in her
knee. (Doc. 1, p. 4). It is not clear to the Court whether
this foreign object ended up in Plaintiff's knee as a
result of the accident, or whether the object was already in
Plaintiff's knee and was discovered during treatment for
injuries sustained in the accident. Nevertheless, upon being
told of the object's existence, Plaintiff wanted the
object removed from her knee. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Dr. Banks
allegedly refused to “help [Plaintiff] get [the object]
out.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). Instead, he sent her for an MRI
and physical therapy. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Although the Complaint
states that Dr. Banks is being named as a defendant due to
“denial and harassment, ” Plaintiff appears to be
stating a claim for medical malpractice against Dr. Banks.
also alleges medical malpractice, and possibly fraud, on the
part of Defendant Dr. Patrick Goodman. Plaintiff claims that
Dr. Goodman knew that the foreign object was in
Plaintiff's knee in 2014 but never told her. (Doc. 1, p.
4). Further, Plaintiff believes that, in an attempt to cover
up the fact that he knew the object was in Plaintiff's
knee, Dr. Goodman changed dates in her medical records. (Doc.
1, p. 4).
addition to claims arising from her medical treatment,
Plaintiff alleges that she was denied unemployment benefits
following the accident because the “Labor Department
did not review [her] appeal carefully.” (Doc. 1, p. 4).
district court should “inquire into whether it has
subject matter jurisdiction at the earliest possible stage in
the proceedings” and is obligated to do so
“sua sponte whenever [subject matter
jurisdiction] may be lacking.” Univ. of S. Ala. v.
Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir. 1999). If
a district court determines that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, it “is powerless to continue” and
must dismiss the complaint. Id.
has failed to adequately identify the basis for this
Court's subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff asserts
that the Court has jurisdiction over her claims both because
there is diversity of citizenship and because a federal
question is raised. It is clear on the face of the Complaint,
however, that there is no diversity of citizenship.
“Diversity jurisdiction requires complete diversity;
every plaintiff must be diverse from every defendant.”
Triggs v. John Crump Toyota, Inc., 154 F.3d 1284,
1287 (11th Cir. 1998). Here, Plaintiff concedes that all
parties reside in the State of Georgia. Accordingly, the
Court lacks diversity jurisdiction over Plaintiffs'
also fails to identify any federal question that is raised by
her claims, and she has not cited a federal statute pursuant
to which she is entitled to relief. In her Complaint,
Plaintiff asserts that each defendant is liable for
“denial and harassment.” (Doc. 1, p. 2). A review
of the facts alleged convinces the Court that Plaintiff
intends to state claims for medical malpractice, denial of
state unemployment benefits, and possibly fraud. None of
these claims raises a federal question sufficient for this
Court's jurisdiction. See O.C.G.A. § 51-6-1
(Georgia's fraud statute); O.C.G.A. § 51-13-1
(Georgia's medical malpractice statute); Thornton v.
Albany Drivers License, No. 1:11-CV-171 (CDL), 2012 WL
3191769, at *2 (M.D. Ga. Aug. 2, 2012) (explaining that a
claim for denial of state unemployment benefits is proper in
a Georgia superior court, not in federal district court).
there is no diversity of citizenship between the Parties, and
because no federal question is raised by the allegations in
the Complaint, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction
over Plaintiff's claims.
on the foregoing, the Court sua sponte dismisses
Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1) for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed IFP
(Doc. 2) ...