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Coffman v. CHS Gas and Oil

United States District Court, D. Kansas

July 30, 2018

DUSTIN D. COFFMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CHS GAS AND OIL, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Daniel D. Crabtree United States District Judge.

         After providing plaintiff multiple opportunities to allege federal subject matter jurisdiction properly, he still fails to assert any facts establishing that this court has jurisdiction over this lawsuit. The court thus dismisses this case without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff filed a Complaint pro se on April 19, 2018, against four defendants-CHS Gas and Oil, Western Division Jayhawk Pipeline, Richard Peterson, and Timothy Robert Coffman. Doc. 1. Plaintiff's original Complaint spans 71 pages. And it is quite difficult to understand. As best the court can discern, plaintiff alleges that his cousin, Timothy Robert Coffman, has harassed him via email, Facebook, and text messages. Plaintiff also alleges that his cousin's employers negligently failed to supervise their employee because they have allowed Timothy Robert Coffman to commit his harassment during work hours while using company servers.

         Because the Complaint never alleged facts sufficient to establish subject matter jurisdiction, the court ordered plaintiff to show cause by May 25, 2018, why the court should not dismiss the lawsuit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Doc. 3. Plaintiff filed a response to the court's show cause order. Doc. 6. It too is difficult to understand. But the court cannot decipher anything in that response to provide a basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction.

         The same day that he filed his response to the Order to Show Cause, plaintiff also filed an “Amended Statement of Claims to go with ECF #1.” Doc. 7. The Clerk of the Court docketed the filing as an Amended Complaint.

         On July 2, 2018, Magistrate Judge Gwynne E. Birzer issued a Report and Recommendation (Doc. 18), recommending that the district court dismiss plaintiff's Complaint and Amended Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         As Judge Birzer described: “Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, along with its attachments, spans 142 pages and is even more confusing than his original pleading.” Doc. 18 at 3. The Amended Complaint adds three new defendants to the case: Jay Debertin, Rick Dusek, and Jim Zappa. Plaintiff contends Mr. Debertin is President and Mr. Dusek is Vice President of CHS Gas and Oil, while Jim Kappa is its General Counsel. Plaintiff states generally that Mr. Debertin, Mr. Dusek, and Mr. Zappa are liable for negligence. And, in his “Amended Statement of Claims, ” plaintiff appears to amend his causes of action to include: (1) Due process violation of the Fourteenth Amendment; (2) Due process violation of equal protection of under the law under the 14th amendment; (3) Violation of the 1st Amendment; (4) Defamation; (5) “Li[bel]”; (6) Slander; and (7) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (“ongoing tort [of] duress”). Doc. 7 at 1. He seeks $25 million in compensatory damages and another $25 million in punitive damages. Id.

         After thoroughly reviewing plaintiff's Complaint, Amended Complaint, and his several other filings (see Docs. 4, 5, 6, 8, 9), Judge Birzer concluded that plaintiff has alleged no basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction. None of plaintiff's filings establish federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. And none of his filings allege facts sufficient to establish diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. For these reasons, Judge Birzer recommended that the district court dismiss plaintiff's lawsuit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         Judge Birzer concluded her Report and Recommendation by explaining to plaintiff that he must serve and file any objections he has to the Report and Recommendation under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72, within 14 days after service. Doc. 18 at 12. She also advised plaintiff that failing to make a timely objection to the Report and Recommendation waives any right to appellate review of the proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, or recommended disposition. See Id. (“Failure to make a timely objection waives appellate review of both factual and legal questions”).

         On July 17, 2018, plaintiff filed a document titled “RESPONSE TO ECF # 3 Crabtree's order to show cause is the cause of action on record nullifying the statement of justice review of show cause” and “Response to FILED BY CHIEF JUSTICE HONORA[BLE] [Birzer] . . . .” Doc. 22 at 1. Plaintiff's filing also seeks an extension of time for defendant Timothy Robert Coffman to file an answer. Id. For reasons explains below, plaintiff's filings still fail to establish any basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction. The court thus dismisses the case without prejudice.

         II. Legal Standard

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2) provides that, after a magistrate judge enters a recommended disposition on a dispositive matter, a party may serve and file specific, written objections to the magistrate judge's order within 14 days after being served with a copy of the recommended disposition. Then, under Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3), the district court “must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); see also 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (“A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.”). After making this determination, the district court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge . . . [or] may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         The Tenth Circuit requires that objections to a magistrate judge's recommended disposition “be both timely and specific to preserve an issue for de novo review by the district court.” United States v. One Parcel of Real Property, 73 F.3d 1057, 1060 (10th Cir. 1996). As stated above, an objection is timely if made within 14 days after service of a copy of the recommended disposition. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). An objection is sufficiently specific if it “focus[es] the district court's attention on the factual and legal issues that are truly in dispute.” One Parcel of Real Property, 73 F.3d at 1060. If a party fails to make a proper ...


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