United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA
PAUPERIS REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CHARMIANE G. CLAXTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court, by way of Administrative Order 2013-05,
the instant case. This matter was initiated in this court by
the Defendant, Mahogany Johnson, on August 12, 2019 by
removal of a forcible entry and detainer action from the
Shelby County Court of General Sessions accompanied by a
motion seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
(Docket Entries (D.E. # 1 & 2.)
Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma
law provides that the “clerk of each district court
shall require parties instituting any such civil action, suit
or proceeding in such court, whether by original process,
removal or otherwise, to pay a filing fee of $400, ” 28
U.S.C. § 1914(a). To ensure access to the courts,
however, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) permits an indigent party
to avoid payment of filing fees by filing an in forma
pauperis affidavit. Under that section, the Court must
conduct a satisfactory inquiry into the party's ability
to pay the filing fee and prosecute the lawsuit. A party
seeking in forma pauperis standing must respond
fully to the questions on the Court's in forma
pauperis form and execute the affidavit in compliance
with the certification requirements contained in 28 U.S.C.
case, the Defendant has submitted a properly completed and
executed in forma pauperis affidavit. The
information set forth in the affidavit satisfies
Defendant's burden of demonstrating that she is unable to
pay the civil filing fee. Accordingly, the motion to proceed
in forma pauperis is GRANTED. The Clerk shall record
the plaintiff as Trails at Mount Moriah.
detainer warrant (PageID 9) filed with the Shelby County
Court of General Sessions as warrant number 2004051 describes
a complaint made to the General Sessions Clerk by the
plaintiff, The Trails at Mt Moriah alleging unlawful detainer
by Defendant and seeking an award of possession and $1,
572.67. The notice of removal filed by Defendant alleged that
“Defendant feels he (sic) is being discriminated
against” and that removal is pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
Analysis and Proposed Conclusions of Law
district courts have original jurisdiction over civil actions
including those arising under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, or
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. Removal of a state court action under 28
U.S.C. § 1441 is proper only if the action
“originally could have been filed in federal
court.” Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S.
386, 392, 107 S.Ct. 2425, 96 L.Ed.2d 318 (1987). When
removing an action to federal court, the burden falls on the
party removing the action to prove, by a preponderance of the
evidence, that the jurisdictional facts it alleges are true
such that removal was proper. See, e. g., Her
Majesty the Queen v. Detroit, 874 F.2d 332, 229 (6th
Cir.1989); Gafford v. Gen. Elec. Co., 997 F.2d 150,
158 (6th Cir.1993).
entry and detainer actions are based solely upon state law,
Tenn. Code Ann. §29-18-101 et seq., and do not
involve federal questions or a federal cause of action.
Federal jurisdiction only exists when a federal question is
presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly pleaded
complaint. Loftis v. United Parcel Service, Inc.,
342 F.3d 509, 515 (6th Cir. 2003) citing, Long
v. Bando Mfg. of Am., Inc., 201 F.3d 754, 758
(6th Cir. 2000). A state law claim cannot be
recharacterized as a federal claim for purposes of removal.
Loftis at 515. The detainer warrant supports no
grounds for removal based on a federal question.
regard to diversity jurisdiction, the amount at issue does
not meet the threshold for diversity jurisdiction. Further,
because Defendant is a citizen of Tennessee removal based on
diversity is inappropriate. See 28 U.S.C. §
1441(b) (2000) (“Any other such action shall be
removable only if none of the parties in interest properly
joined and served as defendants is a citizen of the State in
which such action is brought.”).
it is RECOMMENDED that the District Court remand the detainer
action to the Shelby County General Sessions Court due to the
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff has filed a
Motion to Remand (D.E. # 8). It is RECOMMENDED that the
Motion to Remand be denied as moot.