RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER REVIEW OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT
Plaintiff, who evidently is a patient at the Riverview Psychiatric Center (Riverview), alleges that a nurse at the facility improperly administered medication to him and did not appropriately monitor his condition. (Complaint, ECF No. 1.)
Plaintiff filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 3), which application the Court granted. (ECF No. 4.) In accordance with the in forma pauperis statute, a preliminary review of Plaintiff's complaint is appropriate. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Following a review of Plaintiff's complaint, I recommend the Court dismiss the complaint.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
When a party is proceeding in forma pauperis, "the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines," inter alia, that the action is "frivolous or malicious" or "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). "Dismissals [under § 1915] are often made sua sponte prior to the issuance of process, so as to spare prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense of answering such complaints." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989).
When considering whether a complaint states a claim for which relief may be granted, courts must assume the truth of all well-pled facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12-13 (1st Cir. 2011). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "The relevant question ... in assessing plausibility is not whether the complaint makes any particular factual allegations but, rather, whether 'the complaint warrant[s] dismissal because it failed in toto to render plaintiffs' entitlement to relief plausible.'" Rodríguez-Reyes v. Molina-Rodríguez, 711 F.3d 49, 55 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 569 n. 14). Although a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers," Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the complaint may not consist entirely of "conclusory allegations that merely parrot the relevant legal standard," Young v. Wells Fargo, N.A., 717 F.3d 224, 231 (1st Cir. 2013). See also Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir. 1980) (explaining that the liberal standard applied to the pleadings of pro se plaintiffs "is not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim").
Plaintiff alleges that an unnamed nurse at Riverview administered medication in a way that was not authorized by a doctor. He also contends that he was placed in seclusion and his condition was not monitored properly.
"'Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction,' possessing 'only that power authorized by Constitution and statute.'" Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251, 256 (2013) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). "It is to be presumed that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction." Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377 (citations omitted). "A court is duty-bound to notice, and act upon, defects in its subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte." Spooner v. EEN, Inc., 644 F.3d 62, 67 (1st Cir. 2011). A review of Plaintiff's complaint fails to reveal a basis upon which this Court could exercise either federal question jurisdiction or diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332.
Pursuant to section 1331, federal district courts "have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Plaintiff's complaint does not assert a claim based on the United States Constitution, a federal statute, or a federal treaty. Rather, Plaintiff has arguably alleged a medical negligence claim, which is governed by state law. Plaintiff, therefore, has failed to state a claim within the Court's federal question jurisdiction.
Pursuant to section 1332, federal district courts also have original jurisdiction "where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000 ... and is between citizens of different States." 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). For Plaintiff's claim to be within this Court's diversity jurisdiction, Plaintiff and Defendant must have been citizens of different states on the date the complaint was filed. Given that the dispute involves Plaintiff's treatment by an individual working at a facility in Augusta, Maine, and given that Plaintiff has otherwise alleged no facts to suggest that he and the individual are citizens of different states, Plaintiff has not alleged any facts to support a claim within the Court's diversity jurisdiction.
Based on the foregoing analysis, after a review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), I recommend the Court dismiss Plaintiff's complaint.
A party may file objections to those specified portions of a magistrate judge's report or proposed findings or recommended decisions entered pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) for which de novo review by the district court is sought, together with a supporting memorandum within fourteen (14) days of being served with a copy thereof. A responsive memorandum shall be filed within fourteen (14) days after the filing of the objection.
Failure to file a timely objection shall constitute a waiver of the right to de novo review by the district court and to appeal the district court's order.
/s/ John C. Nivison
U.S. Magistrate Judge Dated this 12th day of June, 2019.