United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY GRANTING REQUEST TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS,
DISMISSING COMPLAINT, AND DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO SHOW
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Key on Johnson commenced this action on August 22, 2017,
against the Pike Township School District and three of its
employees. Johnson seeks leave to proceed in forma
pauperis and asks for monetary and other relief.
Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, Dkt.
No. 2, is granted.
Court screens pro se complaints pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), which provides that a court shall
dismiss a case at any time if the court determines that the
action (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
complaint asserts that in August, 2016, he went to two
schools in the Pike Township School District in an attempt to
obtain "Educational and Financial information"
about his two children. Dkt. 1-1. The four individual
defendants apparently declined to provide information about
the children. Johnson also contends that defendants are
liable for not notifying him when the children left the
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. A federal court
may exercise jurisdiction only where the requirements for
diversity jurisdiction set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1332 are
met, or the controversy arises under the Constitution, laws,
or treaties of the United States as provided in 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331." The Court of Appeals has repeatedly held
that "the party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the
burden of demonstrating its existence." See Hart v.
FedEx Ground Pkg. Sys. Inc., 457 F.3d 675, 679 (7th Cir.
Court is unable to discern a federal claim in the complaint.
Johnson's recitation of facts does not implicate any
federal cause of action, and indeed, Johnson does not assert
one. Accordingly, the complaint does not support the
existence of federal question jurisdiction. See Williams
v. Aztar Ind. Gaming Corp., 351 F.3d 294, 298 (7th Cir.
2003) (explaining federal courts may exercise
federal-question jurisdiction when a plaintiff s right to
relief is created by or depends on a federal statute or
there is no allegation of diversity of citizenship. See
Denlinger v. Brennan, 87 F.3d 214, 217 (7th Cir. 1996)
(holding that failure to include allegations of citizenship
requires dismissal of complaint based on diversity
jurisdiction). While Johnson has not plead diversity
jurisdiction, the Court nevertheless screened the complaint
for any possible basis of jurisdiction, including diversity
of citizenship, and found none.
subject matter jurisdiction, the complaint fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed. R Civ.
P. 12(b)(6); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). When it is
determined that a court lacks jurisdiction, its only course
of action is to announce that fact and dismiss the case.
Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environment, 523
U.S. 83, 94 (1998) ('"Jurisdiction is power to
declare the law, and when it ceases to exist, the only
function remaining to the court is that of announcing the
fact and dismissing the cause.'") (quoting Ex
parte McCardle, 7 Wall, 506, 514, 19 L.Ed. 264 (1868)).
complaint is therefore dismissed for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.
dismissing the entire action, however, plaintiff Key on
Johnson shall have through September 15,
2017, in which to show cause why Final Judgment
consistent with this Entry should not issue. See Luevano
v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 722 F.3d 1014, 1022 (7th Cir.
2013) ("Without at least an opportunity to amend or to
respond to an order to show cause, an IFP applicant's
case could be tossed out of court without giving the
applicant any timely notice or opportunity to be heard to
clarify, contest, or simply request leave to amend.")
Johnson may file an amended complaint that sets forth federal
jurisdiction and viable grounds for relief, or he may show
cause why the Court's analysis is in error and federal
subject matter jurisdiction exists. The failure to either
file an amended complaint or to show cause by September 15,
2017, will result in the dismissal of this action and entry
of final judgment without further notice to plaintiff.