United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND DISMISSAL ORDER
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
se plaintiff Glenn Allen Corbett filed a complaint
against defendants State of Alabama, the Madison County
Sheriff's Department, and Robert Bentley. (Doc. 1). Mr.
Corbett also filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. (Doc. 2). For the reasons stated below, the
Court has determined that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over Mr. Corbett's lawsuit. Consequently,
the Court must dismiss the action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. See Univ. of
S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 409 (11th Cir.
1999). Therefore, “they have the power to decide only
certain types of cases.” Morrison v. Allstate
Indem. Co., 228 F.3d 1255, 1260-61 (11th Cir. 2000).
Generally speaking, a federal district court may exercise
subject matter jurisdiction only where the action presents a
federal question or where the parties are diverse and the
amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331 & 1332. “[B]ecause a federal
court is powerless to act beyond its statutory grant of
subject matter jurisdiction, a court must zealously insure
that jurisdiction exists over a case, and should itself raise
the question of subject matter jurisdiction at any point in
the litigation where a doubt about jurisdiction
arises.” Smith v. GTE, 236 F.3d 1292, 1299
(11th Cir. 2001).
Court's examination of its subject matter jurisdiction in
this case begins with Mr. Corbett's complaint. Mr.
Corbett completed the form for a pro se general complaint in
a civil case. (Doc. 1). On the form, Mr. Corbett checked a
box alleging that a constitutional or federal question is the
basis for federal court jurisdiction. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Mr.
Corbett did not identify a federal statute or constitutional
provision at issue in this case. (Doc. 1, p. 3). When asked
to provide a statement of his claim, Mr. Corbett stated,
‘I was arrested [o]n 26 July 2007 and now I am
requesting public records of dash cam video of the
arrest.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). When asked to describe the
relief he seeks, Mr. Corbett explained that he wants to
obtain “records of [his] arrest including dash cam
video.” (Doc. 1, p. 4).
district court must interpret pro se pleadings
liberally, but it “may not serve as de facto
counsel for a party . . . or rewrite an otherwise deficient
pleading in order to sustain an action.” Ausar-El
ex rel. Small, Jr. v. BAC (Bank of America)
Home Loans Servicing LP, 448 Fed.Appx. 1, 2 (11th Cir.
2011) (internal quotations and citations omitted). Though it
has tried, the Court cannot identify a claim that arises
under the United States Constitution or federal law. The
Court has located no federal statutory or constitutional
right to obtain a dash cam video.Therefore, the Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
the Court finds no basis for diversity of citizenship
jurisdiction. “[I]t is well established that a state is
not a citizen of a state for the purpose of diversity
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.” Univ. of
S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 412 (11th Cir.
1999) (citing Moor v. Alameda Cty., 411 U.S. 693,
717 (1973)). Therefore, the State of Alabama is not a citizen
for purposes of diversity of citizenship jurisdiction. In
addition, Governor Bentley is an Alabama citizen as is Mr.
Corbett. (See Doc. 1, p. 3). Accordingly, the Court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1332. See Triggs v. John Crump Toyota, Inc., 154
F.3d 1284, 1287 (11th Cir. 1998) (“Diversity
jurisdiction requires complete diversity; every plaintiff
must be diverse from every defendant.”).
the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over this
action, it cannot hear and decide the case. See
Morrison, 228 F.3d at 1265 (“[F]ederal courts are
empowered to hear only cases for which there has been a
congressional grant of jurisdiction, and once a court
determines that there has been no grant that covers a
particular case, the court's sole remaining act is to
dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.”).
the Court dismisses this action without prejudice and denies
Mr. Corbett's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. The Court asks the Clerk to please close the
 This is not an action arising under
the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, because
FOIA gives individuals the right to access information from
the federal government agencies, and local police records are
not federal public records. Mr. Corbett may have a cause of
action under the Alabama Open Records ActError! Main Document
Only., Ala. Code § 36-12-40, but this Court does not