United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
TIERA BUTLER a/k/a AALIAYAH AMMIYHUWD and ACHASHVEROSH ADNAH AMMIYHUWD, Ancestral Descendant Party in Interest, Plaintiffs,
ATTORNEY CHAD W. NALLY, et al. Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
LOZANO, United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court sua sponte on the Notice
of Filing Notice of Removal to District Court of the United
States with Exhibits A, B, C and Other Pleadings (DE #1),
filed on December 21, 2016, and the Non-Prisoner Request to
Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying the Filing Fee
(DE #2), filed on December 21, 2016. For the reasons set
forth below, both the Notice of Filing Notice of Removal to
District Court of the United States with Exhibits A, B, C and
Other Pleadings and the Non-Prisoner Request to Proceed in
District Court Without Prepaying the Filing Fee are STRICKEN
and this case is ORDERED closed.
October 24, 2016, Friendly Foot Care, P.C. filed a Notice of
Claim against Tiera Butler in the Lake County Superior Court
(Cause No. 45D08-1610-SC-4996). The action seeks judgment
against Tiera Butler in the amount of $440.06 plus costs,
interest, and attorney fees accruing after October 12, 2016.
Tiera Butler sought dismissal of that action, but the motion
was denied. Ashashyerosh Adnah Ammiyhuwd
(“Ammiyhuwd”) then signed the “Notice of
Filing Notice of Removal to District Court of the United
States with Exhibits A, B, C and Other Pleadings, ”
filed with this Court on Tiera Butler's behalf. (DE #1,
hereinafter “notice of removal”). In the notice
of removal, Ammiyhuwd indicates that Butler is providing
notice of removal of the action pending in the Lake Superior
Small Claims Court under cause number 45D08-1610-SC-4996.
Additionally, Ammiyhuwd has signed the non-prisoner request
to proceed in district court without prepaying the filing fee
(hereinafter “IFP petition”), filed on Tiera
a pro se litigant can represent his own interests, a
pro se litigant may not represent others. Malone
v. Nielson, 474 F.3d 934, 937 (7th Cir. 2007); Navin
v. Park Ridge Sch. Dist., 270 F.3d 1147, 1149 (7th Cir.
2001); Nowicki v. Ullsvik, 69 F.3d 1320, 1325 (7th
Cir. 1995). See also In re Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.
Tires Product Liability Litigation, 2010 WL 1726672, *2
(S.D. Ind. April 28, 2010) (stating that “it is well
settled that a power of attorney does not authorize the
holder to practice law” and citing 28 U.S.C. §
1654; Lewis v. Lenc-Smith Mfg. Co., 784 F.2d 829,
830 (7th Cir. 1986); Johnson v. Bank One N.A., 2004
WL 232081, at * 1 (7th Cir. Feb. 3, 2004)). Because Ammiyhuwd
may not represent Tiera Butler, neither the notice of removal
nor the IFP petition has been properly signed.
under such circumstances, the Court would afford Butler an
opportunity to sign the documents personally. Here, however,
obtaining Butler's signature would be futile. The notice
of removal attempts to remove a case that cannot be removed
to this Court. And, in fact, a review of the docket in
45D08-1610-SC-4996 reveals that the instant filing did not,
from the Lake County Superior Court's perspective,
may be removed from state court to federal court if it is
based on statutorily permissible grounds and if it is timely.
Boyd v. Phoenix Funding Corp., 366 F.3d 524, 529
(7th Cir. 2004). See 28 U.S.C. § 1441; 28
U.S.C. § 1446. The Seventh Circuit has directed that,
“[c]ourts should interpret the removal statute narrowly
and presume that the plaintiff may choose his or her forum.
Any doubt regarding jurisdiction should be resolved in favor
of the states, and the burden of establishing federal
jurisdiction falls on the party seeking removal.”
Doe v. Allied-Signal, Inc., 985 F.2d 908, 911 (7th
Cir. 1993) (citations omitted). The party seeking removal
must demonstrate that removal is proper. Boyd, 366
at 529. “[I]t is not enough to file a pleading and
leave it to the court or the adverse party to negate
jurisdiction.” Brill v. Countrywide Home Loans,
Inc., 427 F.3d 446, 447 (7th Cir. 2005) (citing
Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561
(1992)). When challenged, the party seeking federal
jurisdiction bears the burden of proving by a preponderance
of the evidence that a case belongs in federal court.
Meridian Sec. Ins. Co. v. Sadowski, 441 F.3d 536,
540-43 (7th Cir. 2006). Even where not challenged by a party,
“federal courts are always obliged to inquire sua
sponte whenever a doubt arises as to the existence of
federal jurisdiction.” Tylka v. Gerber Products
Co., 211 F.3d 445, 447 (7th Cir. 2000) (quotation marks
and citation omitted). See also Smith v. American General
Life and Acc. Ins. Co., Inc., 337 F.3d 888, 892 (7th
Cir. 2003) (A court has an “independent
obligation” to ensure that federal subject matter
notice of removal and attached documents assert that this
Court has subject matter jurisdiction based on both diversity
and federal question. For diversity jurisdiction to exist,
the parties are required to have diverse citizenship and the
matter in controversy must exceed the sum or value of $75,
000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Here, the amount in
controversy, as stated on the notice of claim, is nowhere
approaching the amount required for diversity jurisdiction.
federal question jurisdiction to exist, the action must arise
“under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
“Ordinarily, the basis for federal-question
jurisdiction must be apparent from the face of the
plaintiff's well-pleaded complaint.” Crosby v.
Cooper B-Line, Inc., 725 F.3d 795, 800 (7th Cir. 2013);
see also Northeastern Rural Elec. Membership Corp. v.
Wabash Valley Power Association, 707 F.3d 883 (7th Cir.
2013). The complaint at issue here alleges only a state law
claim for monies owed. While the notice of removal and
attached documents make many references to provisions of the
United States Constitution and other federal statutes, the
action sought to be removed does not contain any federal
the claim that the notice of removal seeks to remove is not
one this Court can exercise subject matter jurisdiction over
and the document did not effectual removal of the underlying
case, permitting Butler to refile the instant documents with
her own signature would be futile. Accordingly, the documents
are STRICKEN and the case is ORDERED closed.
reasons set forth above, both the Notice of Filing Notice of
Removal to District Court of the United States with Exhibits
A, B, C and Other Pleadings and the Non-Prisoner Request to
Proceed in District Court Without ...