United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. NEFF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
an action brought by a federal prisoner proceeding in
forma pauperis. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act,
Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996) (PLRA), the Court
is required to dismiss a prisoner action if the complaint is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). The Court must read Plaintiff's pro
se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiff's
allegations as true, unless they are clearly irrational or
wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
33 (1992). Applying these standards, the Court will dismiss
Plaintiff's complaint for lack of jurisdiction.
is presently incarcerated at a federal institution in
Arkansas. He sues Margaret Rukes, a notary public certified
by Van Buren County, Michigan.
alleges that Latrell Preston forged Plaintiff's signature
on a document giving power of attorney to Preston. The
allegedly forged signature was notarized by Defendant Rukes
on June 30, 2006, even though Plaintiff did not authorize the
signature and was not present when Defendant notarized it.
Knoll allegedly used the power-of-attorney document to
refinance six properties owned by Plaintiff, without
Plaintiff's consent. Plaintiff claims that Rukes
committed fraud, perjury, negligence, and engaged in a
conspiracy. As relief, Plaintiff seeks damages of over $9
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Court has original jurisdiction over claims that arise
“under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Plaintiff does
not allege any valid federal basis for his cause of action,
and the Court discerns none. Plaintiff's claims of fraud,
perjury, negligence, and conspiracy arise under state law.
Plaintiff cites 18 U.S.C. § 3231 as the basis for the
Court's jurisdiction, but that statute simply provides
that “[t]he district courts of the United States shall
have original jurisdiction, exclusive of the courts of the
States, of all offenses against the laws of the United
States.” Id. Plaintiff's claims do not
concern an “offense against the laws of the United
States”; thus, § 3231 does not apply.
Consequently, the Court does not have jurisdiction under
§ 1331 or § 3231.
the Court has “diversity” jurisdiction over
claims between citizens of different states. 28 U.S.C. §
1332. In this case, however, Plaintiff does not allege that
the Court has diversity jurisdiction over his action. Nor has
he pleaded the facts necessary to establish diversity
jurisdiction. See Naartex Consulting Corp. v. Watt,
722 F.2d 779, 792 n.20 (D.C. Cir. 1983) (“To establish
diversity jurisdiction, one must plead the citizenship of the
corporate and individual parties.”). Indeed, it appears
that Plaintiff and Defendant are citizens of the same state
and, thus, diversity jurisdiction is not available. Diversity
jurisdiction exists only when the Plaintiff is a citizen of a
different state than all of the Defendants.
Jerome-Duncan, Inc. v. Auto- By-Tel, L.L.C., 176
F.3d 904, 907 (6th Cir. 1999).
person's citizenship for purposes of diversity
jurisdiction is his place of “domicile.”
Miss. Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, 490 U.S.
30, 48 (1989). Domicile is determined by physical presence in
a state and either an intention to reside there indefinitely
or the absence of an intention to reside elsewhere.
Stifel v. Hopkins, 477 F.2d 1116, 1120 (6th Cir.
1973). According to the complaint, Defendant's address is
in Michigan. Thus, presumably, Defendant is a Michigan
is incarcerated in Arkansas, but that does not mean that he
is a citizen of Arkansas. “[A] person cannot acquire a
domicile of choice in a place if he is there by virtue of
physical or legal compulsion.” Stifel, 477
F.2d at 1124. Generally, a prisoner is a citizen of the state
where they resided prior to incarceration. Id. at
1127 (noting presumption that a prisoner maintains the
domicile that existed prior to incarceration); Bontkowski
v. Smith, 305 F.3d 757, 763 (7th Cir. 2002). Prior to
his incarceration, Defendant was a resident of Decatur,
Michigan, where he owned and managed several businesses. In
his complaint, he states that his “home” was
located in Decatur, Michigan. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.2.)
Thus, it appears that diversity jurisdiction does not apply
because Plaintiff and Defendant are both citizens of
absence of any discernible basis for jurisdiction, the Court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action.
conducted the review required by the Prison Litigation Reform
Act, the Court determines that the action will ...