United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
LORETTA C. BIGGS, DISTRICT JUDGE.
Craven Randall Casper, proceeding pro se, initiated
this action on October 29, 2018 by filing a Complaint
containing one count entitled Injunctive Relief, against the
above-named defendants. (ECF No. 1.) Before the Court are
three motions: (1) Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, (ECF
No. 9); (2) Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend
Complaint, (ECF No. 14); and (3) Plaintiff's Motion To
Remove Content, (ECF No. 15). For the reasons set forth
below, the Court will grant Defendants' motion to dismiss
the Complaint and will deny as moot each of Plaintiff's
move to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint, pursuant to Rules
12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a
claim for relief. (ECF No. 9 at 1.) In addition, Defendants
contend that the doctrine of res judicata precludes this
action because a lawsuit filed by Plaintiff in state court
“asserting the same complaints” he now asserts in
this Court was dismissed by that state court on August 23,
2018. (ECF No. 10 at 3, 6) (citing Casper v. Carteret
County News-Times, Carolina Coastline, Carteret
Publishing Company, Orange County Superior Court, No. 18
Court will first address whether it has subject matter
jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claim. A motion brought
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), which governs dismissals for lack
of subject-matter jurisdiction, raises the question of
“whether [Plaintiff] has a right to be in the district
court at all and whether the court has the power to hear and
dispose of [the] claim.” Holloway v. Pagan River
Dockside Seafood, Inc., 669 F.3d 448, 452 (4th Cir.
2012). “Federal courts are courts of limited
jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). “The United States
Code confers subject matter jurisdiction on the federal
district courts in two ways-where there is federal question
jurisdiction and where there is diversity
jurisdiction.” Holbrook v. W.Va. Reg'l Jail
& Corr. Facility Auth., No. 3:16-cv-03705, 2016 WL
7645588, at *6 (S.D. W.Va. Dec. 6, 2016) (citing 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331, 1332), report and recommendation
adopted, 2017 WL 55872 (S.D. W.Va. Jan. 4, 2017). The
burden of establishing subject-matter jurisdiction is on the
plaintiff. Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co., 166 F.3d 642,
647 (4th Cir. 1999). When evaluating a Rule 12(b)(1) motion,
the court may consider evidence outside the pleadings and
should grant the motion “only if the material
jurisdictional facts are not in dispute and the moving party
is entitled to prevail as a matter of law.”
Id. (quoting Richmond, Fredericksburg &
Potomac R.R. Co. v. United States, 945 F.2d 765, 768
(4th Cir. 1991)). Once a court determines it lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction over a claim, the claim must be
dismissed. See Arbaugh v. Y & H Corp., 546 U.S.
500, 514 (2006).
party seeking to adjudicate a matter in federal court must
allege and, when challenged, must demonstrate the federal
court's jurisdiction over the matter.” Strawn
v. AT & T Mobility LLC, 530 F.3d 293, 296 (4th Cir.
2008). Defendants contend that Plaintiff cannot establish
diversity jurisdiction because Plaintiff and Defendants are
all residents of North Carolina. (ECF No. 10 at 2.) It does
not appear that Plaintiff asserts otherwise. Plaintiff, in
Section III of his Complaint entitled “Jurisdiction and
Venue, ” addresses venue, personal jurisdiction and
supplemental jurisdiction, but fails to address this
Court's subject-matter jurisdiction. (ECF No. 1
¶¶ 28-38.) However, in Paragraph 38 of the
Complaint, Plaintiff asserts that he is a resident of Chapel
Hill, North Carolina. (Id. ¶ 38.) Further, in
Paragraphs 13, 14 and 15 of the Complaint, Plaintiff states
that Defendant Carteret County News-Times is based in
Morehead City, NC, that Carolina Coast's website is
copyrighted in Morehead City, NC, and that Carteret
Publishing Company is registered with the NC Secretary of
State's Office. (Id. ¶¶ 13-15.) For
this Court to have subject-matter jurisdiction based on
diversity, complete diversity of citizenship must exist
between the parties, meaning that no party on one side may be
a citizen of the same state as any party on the other side.
See Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc.,
545 U.S. 546, 553 (2005). A corporation is considered a
“citizen” of the state or foreign state in which
it is incorporated and the state or foreign state in which it
has its “principal place of business.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(c)(1). A corporation's “principal place
of business” is its “nerve center, ” or
“where the corporation maintains its
headquarters.” Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S.
77, 92-93 (2010).
there appears to be no dispute between the parties that this
Court cannot exercise jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claim
based on diversity of citizenship since Plaintiff and
Defendants are citizens of North Carolina. Nor would allowing
Plaintiff to amend the Complaint to add additional parties,
as requested by Plaintiff, (ECF No. 14), change this outcome
and thus such amendments would be futile. See Edwards v.
City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 242 (4th Cir. 1999)
(“[L]eave to amend a pleading should be denied only
when the amendment would be prejudicial to the opposing
party, there has been bad faith on the part of the moving
party, or the amendment would be futile.” (quoting
Johnson v. Oroweat Foods Co., 785 F.2d 503, 509 (4th
addition, this Court lacks federal question jurisdiction.
Plaintiff's Complaint contains one count which is
entitled Injunctive Relief and requests that this Court
permanently remove certain newspaper and online photographs,
articles, and other content which Plaintiff alleges
disparages him or is erroneous. (See ECF No. 1 at
24-26.) The Court agrees with Defendants that injunctive
relief is not a claim for relief, rather it is a remedy under
both federal and state law. (See ECF No. 10 at 4.)
“[A]n injunction is not a claim, but rather, a form of
relief.” Trs. of the Nat'l Retirement Fund v.
Wildwood Corp., No. 11 Civ. 6287, 2013 WL 8446003, at *2
n.1 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 17, 2013); see also Feel Better Kids,
Inc. v. Kids in Need, Inc., No. CV-06-0023, 2012 WL
4483000, at *6 n. 11 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 28, 2012) (“An
injunction is a form of relief, not a cause of
action.”), report and recommendation adopted,
2012 WL 4483874 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 27, 2012). Further,
construing Plaintiff's complaint liberally, as this Court
is required to do, see Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007), it appears that Plaintiff may be attempting to
assert a claim of libel. (See ECF No. 1.) Thus, to
the extent that a viable claim has been asserted, such claim
conceivably arises out of state law and not federal law.
See Craven v. Cope, 656 S.E.2d 729, 732 ( N.C. Ct.
App. 2008) (stating the elements for libel under North
Carolina law). Although Plaintiff asserts that this Court
should exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his claim,
(ECF No. 1 ¶ 31), he must first assert a claim over
which this Court has original jurisdiction in order for such
supplemental jurisdiction to attach. See Exxon
Mobil, 545 U.S. at 552 (stating that a court “may
exercise supplemental jurisdiction” only “once a
court has original jurisdiction”).
Court therefore concludes that Plaintiff has failed to meet
his burden of establishing that this Court has jurisdiction
over this matter, and thus this case must be dismissed. While
the Court appreciates its obligation to construe pro
se pleadings liberally, the Court cannot countenance the
filing of pleadings, pro se or otherwise, that are
not well grounded in law and fact or are otherwise
inappropriately brought before the Court. See Weller v.
Dep't of Social Servs. for City of Balt., 901 F.2d
387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990) (“While pro se
complaints may ‘represent the work of an untutored hand
requiring special judicial solicitude,' a district court
is not required to recognize ‘obscure or extravagant
claims defying the most concerted efforts to unravel
them.'” (quoting Beaudett v. City of
Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985))).
reasons outlined herein, the Court enters the following:
THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendants' Motion To Dismiss,
(ECF No.9), is GRANTED and this action is DISMISSED;
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion To Amend, (ECF
No. 14), and Motion To Remove Content, (ECF No. 15), are
DENIED AS MOOT.