United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR
A REFUND OF THE FILING FEE
BERNARD A. FRIEDMAN SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is presently before the Court on plaintiff's
request for a refund of the filing fee [docket entry 5]. For
the reasons stated below, this request is denied.
has brought this employment discrimination action against her
former employer and former supervisor. Shortly after the
complaint was filed, the Court issued the following order:
This is an employment discrimination action in which
plaintiff alleges that she was subjected to a hostile work
environment, and that she was eventually discharged, because
of her gender, religion, and race, and in retaliation for
complaining to management about workplace harassment. While
this Court's jurisdiction allegedly is based on 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332, the complaint fails to allege the states of
which defendants are citizens. Regarding the individual
defendant, the complaint alleges only that she “was
Plaintiff's Manager when she worked for the Defendant
Company.” Compl. ¶ 2. Regarding defendant General
Motors, the complaint alleges only that it is “a
foreign corporation.” Id. ¶ 4. However, a
corporation is a citizen both of the state where is was
incorporated and the state where it has its principal place
of business, see 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1), and so far as
the Court is aware, General Motors has its principal place of
business in Detroit. See, e.g., General Motors LLC v.
Clark-Cutler-McDermott Co., No. 16-cv-12246 (E.D. Mich.)
(ECF No. 1, Pg ID 4: “Plaintiff is a Delaware limited
liability company with its principal place of business in
Detroit, Michigan.”); Saab Auto. AB v. Gen. Motors
Co., 953 F.Supp.2d 782, 784 (E.D. Mich. 2013).
As plaintiff alleges that she is a “resident of Wayne
County Michigan, ” Compl. ¶ 4, and therefore a
citizen of the State of Michigan, this Court lacks diversity
jurisdiction if either of the defendants is also a citizen of
Michigan because “diversity must be ‘complete,
' i.e., all parties on plaintiffs' side must be
diverse from all parties on defendants' side.”
Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545
U.S. 546, 584-85 (2005). Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED that plaintiff show cause within ten days of
the date of this order why the Court should not dismiss the
complaint for its failure to allege facts showing that this
Court may exercise subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff may
respond to this order by filing an amended complaint that
sufficiently alleges the states of which all parties are
citizens. If plaintiff fails to show, by amendment of the
complaint or otherwise, that this Court may exercise subject
matter jurisdiction, the Court shall dismiss the complaint
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).
Alemarah v. Gen. Motors LLC, No. 18-11720 (E.D.
Mich. 2018) (show cause order issued June 4, 2018).
response to this order, plaintiff has voluntarily dismissed
her complaint without prejudice pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
41(a)(1)(A)(i). Plaintiff indicates that “Defense
Counsel for GENERAL MOTORS LLC stated he would remove
Plaintiffs [sic] case to Federal Court if Plaintiff filed in
State Court” and that “Plaintiff therefore filed
her lawsuit in Federal Court to prevent it from having to be
removed to Federal Court.” Withdrawal of Pl.'s
Compl. at 2. Plaintiff further indicates that she intends to
file a complaint in state court and that she “also
filed a complaint with the EEOC and when/if she receives her
Right to Sue letter she will be filing her federal claims in
this court.” Id. at 3.
requests that the Court return the $400 filing fee she paid
when she filed the instant complaint. The Court has reviewed
the cases plaintiff has cited, in which the Court ordered a
refund of the filing fee (or of the partial filing fee
plaintiff had paid),  but does not find that they support such a
request in the present case for three reasons. First, none of
these cases cite any statutory or regulatory authority that
would permit the Court to refund the filing fee.
Bell cites another district court order,
Schweitzer v. U.S. Bureau of Prisons, No. CIV.
3:CV-06-1940, 2006 WL 3199154 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 3, 2006), which
cites no authority. Goode, McCarthy, and
Ahmad cite no authority. And Spearman cites
in all of the cited cases the plaintiffs were proceeding pro
se and plainly did not know how to draft a proper complaint.
The Court expects better from members of the bar.
in two of the five cases (Bell and
Spearman), the plaintiffs claimed financial
hardship. In Bell, the pro se prisoner plaintiff was
unable to pay the $3 initial filing fee and claimed in his
motion for voluntary dismissal that the monthly deduction
from his prison account to pay the balance of the filing fee
caused him and his family “undue hardship.” In
Spearman, the pro se prisoner plaintiff had a
negative balance in his prisoner trust account, i.e., no
funds at all. In the present case, plaintiff makes no such
claim of financial hardship. Indeed, she alleges that until
recently she was earning a $105, 000 annual salary. Compl.
short, plaintiff offers no persuasive authority, and points
to no compelling circumstances, which would warrant a refund
of the $400 filing fee. The complaint was filed by counsel,
who should know that it is improper to file a complaint in a
court that lacks subject matter jurisdiction, on behalf of a
client who does not claim, and appears not to suffer,
financial hardship. Moreover, counsel must have been aware of
the public costs incurred by the filing of a complaint, even
if it is withdrawn, as in this case, within approximately one
week after filing. In this short period of time, Clerk's
Office personnel had to issue a summons for each defendant,
and the judge's staff, in consultation with the judge and
with his approval, had to review the complaint and draft and
issue the show-cause order, review plaintiff's response
and, now, consider and decide plaintiff's request for a
refund. These are all services which are paid for, in part,
by the filing fee. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that
plaintiff's request for a refund of the filing fee is
FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's complaint is deemed
withdrawn, without prejudice, pursuant ...