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Lince Management v. Whitson

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

May 31, 2018

LINCE MANAGEMENT, Plaintiff,
v.
CHANEL WHITSON, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Chanel Whitson's (“Defendant” or “Whitson”) Objections [5] to Magistrate Judge Janet F. King's Final Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) [3]. The R&R grants Defendant's request to proceed in forma pauperis solely for the limited purpose of determining whether this action has been properly removed to this Court. The R&R also finds that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action and recommends that this case be remanded to the Magistrate Court of Henry County.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 4, 2018, Plaintiff Lince Management (“Lince”) initiated a dispossessory proceeding (“Complaint”) against Defendant in the Magistrate Court of Henry County, Georgia. ([1.1] at 4). The Complaint seeks possession of premises currently occupied by Defendant, past due rent, and court costs. (Id.)

         On January 29, 2018, Defendant, proceeding pro se, removed the Henry County action to this Court by filing her Notice of Removal[1] and IFP Application. ([1]). Defendant claims in her Notice of Removal that “Respondent” violated her due process rights under the 14th Amendment and UCC 306. ([1.1] at 2).

         On January 31, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued her R&R, which recommends dismissing this action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Magistrate Judge found that the complaint did not present a federal question and that diversity jurisdiction did not exist. ([3] at 2-5). The Magistrate Judge further concluded that Defendant is not entitled to a stay of dispossessory proceedings. ([3] at 5).

         On February 9, 2018, Defendant filed a Response [5], requesting that “the court to reconsider its decision to allow this case to remain in Henry County Magistrate Court.” ([5] at 1). Defendant argues that she has not been given an adequate chance to present evidence and asserts her belief that the judge should have recused himself because of prior dealings with Plaintiff. ([5] at 1).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review of the Magistrate Judge's R&R

         After 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). This requires that the district judge “give fresh consideration to those issues to which specific objection has been made by a party.” Jeffrey S. v. State Bd. of Educ. of Ga., 896 F.2d 507, 512 (11th Cir. 1990) (internal quotation marks omitted). 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).

         Defendant's Objection [5] merely reasserts that this Court should exercise jurisdiction to hear this case. The Objection does not identify with any specificity any error in the Magistrate Judge's findings regarding jurisdiction or provide any additional facts pertinent to subject matter jurisdiction.

         B. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         The Court finds no plain error in the Magistrate Judge's finding that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. See Slay, 714 F.2d at 1095. Even if the Court were to consider Defendant's Objection [5] sufficient to require a de novo review, it is clear that this Court does not have jurisdiction to hear this dispossessory action.

         The Eleventh Circuit has consistently 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). “[O]nce a ...


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