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Bigley v. Employment Security Board of Review

United States District Court, D. Kansas

June 26, 2014

JOHN C. BIGLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
EMPLOYMENT SECURITY BOARD OF REVIEW, AND DARREN MOORE, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

J. THOMAS MARTEN, Chief District Judge.

The court has before it Employment Security Board of Review's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 9) and Darren Moore's Motion for Joinder (Dkt. 14). The matter is fully briefed, and the court is prepared to rule.

I. Background

John C. Bigley, a pro se plaintiff, claims the termination of his employment by his supervisor, Darren Moore, was wrongful and entitles him to the unemployment benefits denied by the Employment Security Board of Review (hereinafter "Review Board"). Bigley worked at Global Engineering Technology, performing facility maintenance for over eleven years. On November 1, 2013, Moore assigned Bigley with a number of tasks to be completed. Moore instructed Bigley that if he were unable to complete the tasks on November 1, 2013, to return on November 4, 2013, to finish. On November 4, 2013, Moore was not satisfied with the amount of work completed and called Bigley. An argument ensued between Bigley and Moore. The Review Board found that Bigley hung up on Moore; however, Bigley disputes this fact.

Following his termination, Bigley applied for unemployment benefits on November 5, 2013. The Kansas Department of Labor denied Bigley's application on November 21, 2013. Bigley appealed the decision to the Review Board which also denied his claim, finding misconduct as the reason for termination. The Review Board will not pay unemployment benefits to a claimant whose termination was due to misconduct.

Bigley filed his complaint on March 19, 2013, asserting diversity jurisdiction. On April 25, 2014, the Review Board filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction or, in the alternative, failure to state a claim. Six weeks have passed and Bigley has not responded to the defendant's motion.

The motions seek dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). At issue is whether the court has subject-matter jurisdiction. Initially, it is unclear what the plaintiff's claim is. Bigley appears to simultaneously claim wrongful termination by Darren Moore and appeal the Review Board's denial of unemployment benefits. This uncertainty is irrelevant, as the result is the same regardless of the claim.

II. Legal Standard - Motion to Dismiss for Lack for Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

"Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction; they must have a statutory basis for their jurisdiction." Rural Water Dist. No. 2 v. City of Glenpool, 698 F.3d 1270, 1274 (10th Cir. 2012) (quotation omitted). The court presumes no jurisdiction exists absent an adequate showing by the party invoking federal jurisdiction. Dutcher v. Matheson, 733 F.3d 980, 985 (10th Cir. 2013). Congress has defined two types of cases in which district courts may exercise original jurisdiction.

The first type is diversity jurisdiction:

"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 -
(1) citizens of different States;
(2) citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state;
(3) citizens of different States and in which citizens or subjects of a foreign state are ...

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