United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
JUDGE THERESA L. SPRINGMANN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
Tyquan Stewart bey, proceeding pro se, filed a Complaint [ECF
No. 1] on June 18, 2018, against Defendants Christopher C.
Myers & Associates, David Frank, Mark Baeverstad,
Rothberg Logan & Warsco LLP, and Parkview Behavior
Hospital. He also filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in
Forma Pauperis [ECF No. 2].
a plaintiff must pay a statutory filing fee to bring an
action in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). However,
the federal in forma pauperis (IFP) statute, 28 U.S.C. §
1915, provides indigent litigants an opportunity for
meaningful access to the federal courts despite their
inability to pay the costs and fees associated with that
access. See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319
(1989). To authorize a litigant to proceed IFP, a court must
make two determinations: first, whether the litigant is
unable to pay the costs of commencing the action, §
1915(a)(1); and second, whether the action is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief, § 1915(e)(2)(B).
the first inquiry, an indigent party may commence an action
in federal court, without prepayment of costs and fees, upon
submission of an affidavit asserting an inability “to
pay such fees or give security therefor.” Id.
§ 1915(a). The Plaintiff has done so in this case.
However, the inquiry does not end here.
assessing whether a plaintiff may proceed IFP, a court must
look to the sufficiency of the complaint to determine whether
it can be construed as stating a claim for which relief can
be granted or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who
is immune from such relief. Id. §
1915(e)(2)(B). District courts have the power under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) to screen complaints even before service
of the complaint on the defendants, and must dismiss the
complaint if it fails to state a claim. Rowe v.
Shake, 196 F.3d 778, 783 (7th Cir. 1999). Courts apply
the same standard under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) as
when addressing a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Luevano v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 722 F.3d 1014, 1018, 1027 (7th Cir. 2013). Federal
courts are also required to “check to see that federal
jurisdiction is properly alleged.” Wis. Knife Works
v. Nat'l Metal Crafters, 781 F.2d 1280, 1282 (7th
Cir. 1986); see also Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 326 n.6 (1989).
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, see Johnson v.
U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 783 F.3d 655, 660
(7th Cir. 2015), and the Plaintiff has the burden to
establish subject matter jurisdiction. See Lee v. City of
Chi., 330 F.3d 456, 468 (7th Cir. 2003). In civil
actions, federal district courts most commonly exercise
federal question jurisdiction or diversity jurisdiction over
cases or controversies. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331
(“The district courts shall have original jurisdiction
of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States.”); see also 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a) (“The district courts shall have
original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter
in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs, and is between . . .
citizens of different States[.]”). The instant case
appears to stem from a settlement in a prior lawsuit.
(See Compl. at 2-9.)
Plaintiff's Complaint contains numerous claims.
Three of these claims appear to fall under
federal statutes: the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Pub. L. No.
111-148, 124 Stat. 119- 1025; the Americans with Disabilities
Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.;
and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 701
et seq. These claims cannot proceed. First, the
Affordable Care Act does not contain a private cause of
action. Christine H. Monahan, Note, Private Enforcement
of the Affordable Care Act: Towards an “Implied
Warranty of Legality” in Health Insurance, 126
Yale L.J. 1118, 1150 (2017) (“[B]ecause Congress did
not intend to create a federal cause of action to enforce the
ACA, the courts may not imply one.”) Second, the
Plaintiff has failed to explain how any of the Defendants are
covered by the ADA in these circumstances. The ADA prohibits
discrimination based on disability in several settings,
including employment (Title I), public entities (Title II),
public accommodations (Title III), and telecommunications
(Title IV). None of these scenarios are applicable to the
relationship between the Plaintiff and any of the Defendants.
the Plaintiff's claim under the Rehabilitation Act is
also deficient. “To state a discrimination claim under
the Rehabilitation Act, [the] Plaintiff must allege that he
was: (1) an individual with a disability; (2) otherwise
qualified for the benefit sought; (3) discriminated against
solely because of his handicap; and (4) discriminated against
by an entity that received federal financial help.”
Thurman v. Mount Carmel High Sch., 191 F.Supp.3d
894, 898 (N.D. Ill. 2016) (citing Khan v. Midwestern
Univ., 147 F.Supp.3d 718, 722-23 (N.D. Ill. 2015))
(internal quotation marks omitted). The Plaintiff has failed
to allege the second, third, and fourth requirements for a
claim under the Rehabilitation Act.
such, the Plaintiff has not stated a federal claim. All
remaining claims are based on state law. The Court has
jurisdiction over these state law claims only if the parties
are (1) completely diverse and (2) if the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a). The Plaintiff, however, has not alleged the
Defendants' citizenship and has not stated the total
amount in controversy. If the Plaintiff wishes to proceed
under diversity of citizenship jurisdiction, then he must
allege his state of citizenship, the state of citizenship of
each Defendant, and the amount in controversy. The Court will
lack jurisdiction, and must dismiss the Plaintiff's case,
if a single Defendant is a citizen of Indiana and the
Plaintiff pursues exclusively state law claims. That said,
the Plaintiff is free to pursue his state-law claims in state
foregoing reasons, the Court:
(1) DENIES the Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in
Forma Pauperis [ECF No.2];
(2) DISMISSES WITHOUT PREJUDICE the Complaint [ECF No. 1];
(3) GRANTS the Plaintiff until August 3, 2018, to file an
amended complaint, accompanied by a new Petition to Proceed
Without Prepayment of Fees ...