CRUZ v. EXPRESS EMPLOYMENT PROFESSIONALS

Case No. 16-cv-4140-DSD-KMM.

ALEJANDRO CRUZ, Plaintiff, v. EXPRESS EMPLOYMENT PROFESSIONALS and SEDGWICK CLAIMS MANAGEMENT SERVICES INC., Defendants.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota.

Editors Note
Applicable Law: 28 U.S.C. § 1331
Cause: 28 U.S.C. § 1331 Fed. Question: Personal Injury
Nature of Suit: 360 P.I.: Other
Source: PACER


Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Alejandro Cruz, Plaintiff, Pro Se.

Express Employment Professionals, Defendant, represented by Nathaniel A. Dahl , Hansen Dordell Bradt Odlaug & Bradt, PLLP.

Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc, Defendant, represented by Nathaniel A. Dahl , Hansen Dordell Bradt Odlaug & Bradt, PLLP.


REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

KATHERINE MENENDEZ, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Alejandro Cruz alleges that he suffered multiple injuries during the course of his employment at a power plant, and he seeks monetary compensation from defendants as a result of those injuries. Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3), "[i]f the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action." The Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over this lawsuit.

First, although Mr. Cruz alleges that this action presents a federal question, see Compl. ¶ 3 [ECF No. 1], he only invokes the Minnesota Constitution in support of his claims, see id. ¶ 4. Even if the defendants somehow breached their obligations under the Minnesota Constitution, this would still not be enough to raise a federal question sufficient to invoke 28 U.S.C. § 1331 as a basis for jurisdiction. Mr. Cruz cites no federal statute that gives rise to his claims, and the factual substance of his allegations does not allow this Court to construe his allegations as raising a federal claim. Solomon v. Petray, 795 F.3d 777, 787 (8th Cir. 2015) ("When we say that a pro se complaint should be given liberal construction, we mean that if the essence of an allegation is discernible . . . then the district court should construe the complaint in a way that permits the layperson's claim to be considered within the proper legal framework." (citing Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004))).

The Court is unaware of any other basis for federal jurisdiction in this matter. Read liberally, the complaint might be interpreted as seeking relief pursuant to Minnesota worker's-compensation statutes or for negligence under Minnesota common law, but each of these claims would arise entirely from state law, not federal law. Mr. Cruz does not allege that he is seeking recovery pursuant to an employee welfare benefit plan established under a federal statute, such as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. Finally, while it is possible that the federal court could have diversity jurisdiction, Mr. Cruz's complaint fails to make the necessary allegations required by 28 U.S.C. § 1332. If the defendants are corporations, to establish that diversity jurisdiction exists, Mr. Cruz would be required to allege facts showing each defendant's citizenship by alleging the state in which it is incorporated and the state where it has its principal place of business. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1). No such allegations appear in Mr. Cruz's complaint.

Because the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over this lawsuit, it is recommended that the action be dismissed without prejudice, and that Mr. Cruz's application to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 2] be denied as moot. In light of this Court's recommendation, the pretrial conference scheduled for February 8, 2017 is hereby canceled.

RECOMMENDATION

Based on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED THAT:

1. This action be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. 2. Plaintiff Alejandro Cruz's application to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 2] be DENIED AS MOOT.

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