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Murphy v. Whitney

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION


September 27, 2007

DAVID MURPHY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
J.C. WHITNEY, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

David Murphy ("Murphy") has used the Clerk's-Office-supplied printed form of 42 U.S.C. §1983 ("Section 1983") Complaint to file what is clearly not a Section 1983 lawsuit. Unfortunately, that is about the only thing that is clear about Murphy's Complaint, because his handwriting (really a kind of hybrid handwriting and handprinting) is so difficult to read that its substantive content must be guessed at in many respects.*fn1

It does appear from Complaint ¶I that Murphy is currently in custody in Texas, while Complaint ¶II identifies defendant J.C. Whitney as employed in LaSalle, Illinois. This Court has labored to decipher Murphy's Statement of Claim in Complaint ¶IV, and what emerges is that:

1. No federal question is presented to support this Court's subject matter jurisdiction on that ground.

2. Although Murphy and Whitney are presumably citizens of different states,*fn2 the amount in controversy is far below the over-$75,000 floor that is necessary to support federal jurisdiction on diversity of citizenship grounds.

It is of course this Court's obligation to determine the existence or nonexistence of federal subject matter jurisdiction at the beginning of every case (see, e.g., Cook v. Winfrey, 141 F.3d 322, 325 (7th Cir. 1998)) and to do that sua sponte (see, e.g., Wernsing v. Thompson, 423 F.3d 732, 743 (7th Cir. 2005)). Because such jurisdiction is plainly lacking here, both the Complaint and this action are dismissed for lack of such jurisdiction.*fn3


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