United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the court on Defendants' motion to
dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. (Doc. 4). The court WILL DISMISS the complaint
because the case does not involve a substantial question of
Boneyard Acquisitions is a corporation that “garages,
repairs and maintains commercial aircraft.” (Doc. 1 at
3). Defendants are Bibb County, Chairman of the Bibb County
Commission Ricky Hubbard, and Bibb County Administrator Mark
Tyner. (Id. at 2). Plaintiff alleges that in 2010,
the Bibb County Airport, which Bibb County owns, granted
Plaintiff an easement to provide aircrafts access to the
airport from Plaintiff's hanger. (Id. at 2-3).
But although Plaintiff has satisfied all the conditions
necessary to keep the easement in effect, on June 15, 2017,
Defendants constructed a trench across the easement to
prevent aircraft access to the airport. (Id. at 3).
to Plaintiff, Defendants explained that they constructed the
trench because the Federal Aviation Administration
“mandated that the easement must be extinguished
pursuant to [Federal Aviation Administration] regulation
and/or requirement, ” and failure to comply with those
laws and/or regulations risked past and future federal grant
monies. (Id. at 3, 5-6). Plaintiff alleges that no
such law or regulation actually exists. (Id. at 6).
Plaintiff brings claims for (1) injunctive relief; (2)
conversion; (3) misrepresentation; (4) trespass; (5) abuse of
process; and (6) fraud. (Id. at 4-10).
move to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. (Doc. 4). They contend that all of
Plaintiff's claims stem from state law, with only a vague
assertion that Federal Aviation Administration regulations
are involved. (Doc. 5 at 2-3). Plaintiff responds that all
but one of its claims arise from Defendants' invocation
of Federal Aviation Administration regulations to justify
their actions. (Doc. 7 at 1).
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) permits a district court to
dismiss for “lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). “A
defendant can move to dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(1)
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction by either facial or
factual attack.” Stalley v. Orlando Reg'l
Healthcare Sys., 524 F.3d 1229, 1232 (11th Cir. 2008).
In this case, Defendants make only a facial attack on the
court's jurisdiction, which means that the court,
accepting as true the factual allegations in the complaint,
merely looks to see “if the plaintiff has sufficiently
alleged a basis of subject matter jurisdiction.”
Id. at 1232-33 (quotation marks, citation, and
1331 of Title 28 of the United States Code provides that
“[t]he district courts shall have original jurisdiction
of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
In general, “a case arises under federal law only if it
is federal law that creates the cause of action.”
Diaz v. Sheppard, 85 F.3d 1502, 1505 (11th Cir.
1996). The case may also arise under federal law if
“the right to relief under state law requires
resolution of a substantial question of federal law
in dispute between the parties.” Id.
(quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added). “[T]he mere
presence of a federal issue in a state cause of action"
is not substantial and does not confer subject matter
jurisdiction on the court. Id. (quotation marks
complaint does not give rise to federal question
jurisdiction. All of Plaintiff s claims-conversion,
misrepresentation, trespass, abuse of process, and fraud-are
state law causes of action. (See Doc. 1 at 4-10).
And although Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
misunderstanding or misrepresentation of federal law led them
to take the wrongful actions that gave rise to those causes
of action, such an allegation does not raise a substantial
federal issue. Cf. Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v.
Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 152 (1908) ("It is not
enough [to confer federal question jurisdiction] that the
plaintiff alleges some anticipated defense to his cause of
action, and asserts that the defense is invalidated by some
provision of the Constitution of the United States.").
Nor do Plaintiffs state law claims depend on the construction
of federal law. Cf. Smith v. Kansas City Title & Tr.
Co., 255 U.S. 180, 199 (1921) ("[W]here it appears
from the [complaint] that the right to relief depends
upon the construction or application of the Constitution
or laws of the United States ... the District Court has
jurisdiction ....") (emphasis added).
this court lacks jurisdiction over Plaintiffs complaint, the
court WILL DISMISS WITHOUT PREJUDICE the complaint. The court
will enter a separate order consistent with this opinion.