United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Magistrate Judge Linda T.
Walker's Report and Recommendation 
(“R&R”), which recommends remanding this
action to the Magistrate Court of Fulton County, Georgia.
February 6, 2018, Plaintiff Sanjay Chaudhary
(“Plaintiff”) initiated a dispossessory
proceeding against Defendant Christopher A. Graves
(“Defendant”), in the Magistrate Court of Fulton
County, Georgia. Plaintiff seeks the eviction of Defendant
who fell behind in rent payments. ([1.1] at 3).
March 16, 2018, Defendant, proceeding pro se,
removed the Fulton County action to this Court by filing his
Notice of Removal [1.1]. Defendant asserts that the Court has
federal question, diversity, and supplemental jurisdiction
over this matter because Plaintiff's dispossessory action
violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.
([1.1] at 1-2).
April 11, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued her R&R,
recommending that this action be remanded to the Magistrate
Court of Fulton County, Georgia for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. (). The parties did not file objections to
conducting a careful and complete review of the findings and
recommendations, a district judge may accept, reject, or
modify a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Williams v. Wainwright, 681
F.2d 732 (11th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S.
1112 (1983). A district judge “shall make a de
novo determination of those portions of the report or
specified proposed findings or recommendations to which
objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). With
respect to those findings and recommendations to which
objections have not been asserted, the Court must conduct a
plain error review of the record. United States v.
Slay, 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th Cir. 1983), cert.
denied, 464 U.S. 1050 (1984). Where, as here, the
parties have not filed objections to the R&R, the Court
reviews it for plain error.
courts “have an independent obligation to determine
whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, even in the
absence of a challenge from any party.” Arbaugh v.
Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 501 (2006). The Eleventh
Circuit consistently has held that “a court should
inquire into whether it has subject matter jurisdiction at
the earliest possible stage in the proceedings. Indeed, it is
well settled that a federal court is obligated to inquire
into subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte whenever
it may be lacking.” Univ. of S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco
Co., 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir. 1999). “Federal
courts exercise limited jurisdiction and generally can hear
only actions that either meet the requirements for diversity
jurisdiction or that involve a federal question.”
Kivisto v. Kulmala, 497 Fed.Appx. 905, 906 (11th
Cir. 2012). Diversity jurisdiction exists where the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000 and the suit is between citizens
of different states. 28 U.S.C § 1332(a).
“[F]ederal-question jurisdiction may be based on a
civil action alleging a violation of the Constitution, or
asserting a federal cause of action established by a
congressionally created expressed or implied private remedy
for violations of a federal statute.” Jairath v.
Dyer, 154 F.3d 1280, 1282 (11th Cir. 1998). “The
removing party bears the burden of proof regarding the
existence of federal subject matter jurisdiction.”
City of Vestavia Hills v. Gen. Fidelity Ins. Co.,
676 F.3d 1310, 1313 n.1 (11th Cir. 2012).
Magistrate Judge found, as to federal question jurisdiction,
that “Plaintiff relied exclusively on state law when he
initiated a dispossessory proceeding in the Magistrate Court
of Fulton County to seek possession of Defendant's
residence after Defendant failed to pay rent.” (R&R
at 3); see also Citimortgage, Inc. v. Dhinoja, 705
F.Supp.2d 1378, 1381 (N.D.Ga. 2010) (citation omitted). The
Magistrate Judge concluded that “[n]o federal question
is presented on the face of Plaintiff's Complaint,
” and, thus, “jurisdiction . . . lies entirely in
the state court system.” (R&R at 3-4). The
Magistrate Judge further concluded that the federal question
presented by Defendant's FDCPA counterclaim is not a
proper basis for removal of the complaint. (R&R at 4).
Magistrate Judge also found that Defendant failed to
establish diversity or supplemental jurisdiction in this
court. The Magistrate Judge concluded that
“Defendant's Notice of Removal does not support the
existence of diversity jurisdiction . . . [because] [n]either
Defendant's Petition for Removal nor Plaintiff's
Complaint includes any facts showing that the parties are
diverse or that the $75, 000 jurisdictional threshold is
met.” (R&R at 4); see also Rolling Greens MHP,
L.P. v. Comcast SCH Holdings L.L.C., 374 F.3d 1020, 1022
(11th Cir. 2004); Fowler v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Am.,
915 F.2d 616, 618 (11th Cir. 1990). As to supplemental
jurisdiction, the Magistrate Judge found that “because
the Court has already determined it does not have subject
matter jurisdiction over any of Plaintiff's claims[, ] .
. . the Court is unable to exercise supplemental jurisdiction
over Defendant[‘s] potential counterclaims.”
(R&R at 5-6).
has not shown that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction
over this state dispossessory proceeding, and this action is
required to be remanded to the Magistrate Court of Fulton
County, Georgia. Cf. Dhinoja, 705 F.Supp.2d 1378
(finding that the court lacked federal jurisdiction over a
state dispossessory action, after it had been removed, and
remanding to state court for ...