United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
JEAN A. MONTGOMERY, Plaintiff,
CHARLES SCIALLA, WILLIAM SIMPSON, SCIALLA ASSOCIATES, INC. and NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF POSTAL SUPERVISORS, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Dow, Jr. United States District Judge.
Jean A. Montgomery, a former postal service supervisor,
brings suit against Defendants Charles Scialla, William
Simpson, Scialla Associates, Inc. (“Scialla
Associates”), and the National Association of Postal
Supervisors (“NAPS”) to redress Defendants'
alleged violation of a contract (or contracts) to provide
legal representation to Plaintiff in her appeal before the
Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”). Before
the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim . Because the Court has detected flaws in
Plaintiff's pleading of jurisdictional facts, it denies
Defendants' motion  without prejudice. Plaintiff
shall have until September 27, 2017 to file a third amended
complaint that contains sufficient jurisdictional
allegations. Plaintiff is given leave to file a motion for
jurisdictional discovery, if she believes that such a motion
is necessary to enable her to file a third amended complaint
correcting the errors identified herein.
Jean A. Montgomery was a long-term employee of the U.S.
Postal Service, eventually reaching the rank of customer
service manager at the Englewood neighborhood post office in
Chicago, Illinois. See  at ¶ 4. On April 2, 2012,
Plaintiff was served with a Notice of Proposed Removal from
the Postal Service based on charges of Failure to Report an
Accident and Failure to Perform Assigned Duties, and she was
ultimately removed. Id. at ¶ 27. Plaintiff
challenged her removal before the MSPB, and, by way of her
membership in NAPS, Plaintiff was represented in a hearing
before that body by William Simpson of Scialla Associates.
Id. ¶¶ 6, 36. Plaintiff alleges that
Charles Scialla, the president of Scialla Associates, also
filed documents on her behalf in the MSPB proceeding.
Id. ¶¶ 5, 51, 53. According to Plaintiff,
neither Simpson nor Scialla is an attorney. Id. at
¶ 45. In February 2013, an administrative judge upheld
Plaintiff's termination as lawful. Proceeding pro
se, Plaintiff requested that the full MSPB review the
administrative judge's decision; the MSPB upheld the
decision in October 2013. See Montgomery v. Donahoe,
602 F. App'x 638, 640 (7th Cir. 2015). The MSPB's
decision was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals
for the Federal Circuit. See Montgomery v. U.S. Postal
Serv., 566 F. App'x 968 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (per
curiam), cert. denied, 135 S.Ct. 426 (2014),
reh'g denied, 135 S.Ct. 777
December 2, 2015, Plaintiff brought suit against NAPS and
Scialla Associates under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985,
and 1986 to redress Defendants' alleged denial of fair
representation to Plaintiff at a January 16, 2013 hearing
before the MSPB. . NAPS and Scialla Associates eventually
moved to dismiss , and the Court granted the motion on
December 7, 2016. . In doing so, the Court granted
Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint with the
Plaintiff shall have until January 9, 2017 to file an amended
complaint for state-law breach of contract only, to the
extent that Plaintiff can do so consistent with this opinion.
In her amended complaint, Plaintiff must allege a basis for
this Court to exercise diversity jurisdiction over
Defendants, or the case will be dismissed for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff should also identify: (a) the
parties to each alleged contract; (b) whether the contract
was oral or written; (c) when the contract was made; (d) the
relevant terms of the contract; (e) how the contract was
breached; and (f) how Plaintiff was damaged as a result of
 at 1-2. Plaintiff filed a “second amended
complaint” by the deadline imposed by the Court ,
adding two new defendants in the process: Charles Scialla and
William Simpson. In brief, the second amended complaint
alleges that Defendants breached a contract (or contracts,
the complaint is not clear) to provide Plaintiff with
“legal representation” before the MSPB.
Defendants again have moved to dismiss, arguing that
Plaintiff's second amended complaint fails to adequately
allege a breach of contract by any Defendant. See , .
Court has already explained to Plaintiff that federal
district courts are “courts of limited
jurisdiction.” Healy v. Metro. Pier &
Exposition Auth., 804 F.3d 836, 845 (7th Cir. 2015).
They have original “federal question”
jurisdiction over “all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 1331. They also have “diversity”
jurisdiction over all civil actions in which two requirements
are met. First, there must be complete diversity of
citizenship between all named plaintiffs and all named
defendants. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a); Howell v.
Tribune Entertainment Co., 106 F.3d 215, 217 (7th Cir.
1997) (complete diversity of citizenship means that
“none of the parties on either side of the litigation
may be a citizen of the state of which a party on the other
side is a citizen”) (citing Strawbridge v.
Curtiss, 7 U.S. (3 Cranch) 267, 2 L.Ed. 435 (1806)). The
second requirement is that the matter in controversy must
“exceed the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of
interest and costs.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
Seventh Circuit requires “scrupulous adherence to the
limitations on the subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal
courts.” Meyerson v. Harrah's E. Chi.
Casino, 299 F.3d 616, 617 (7th Cir. 2002) (per curiam).
In other words, “jurisdiction is a threshold
requirement that must be satisfied before a court can pass
judgments on the merits.” Rawlins v. Select
Specialty Hosp. of Nw. Indiana, Inc., 2014 WL 1647182,
at *2 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 23, 2014) (citations omitted); see also
Smith v. Am. Gen. Life & Accident Ins. Co., 337
F.3d 888, 892 (7th Cir. 2003) (the court has an independent
obligation to satisfy itself that federal subject matter
jurisdiction exits before proceeding to the merits even where
the parties have not questioned the existence of
jurisdiction). In a case filed in federal court, the
plaintiff-as the proponent of federal subject matter
jurisdiction-has the burden to prove its existence. See
Meridian Sec. Ins. Co. v. Sadowski, 441 F.3d 536,
540 (7th Cir. 2006) (citing McNutt v. General Motors
Acceptance Corp. of Ind, 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936));
Brill v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 427 F.3d 446,
447-48 (7th Cir. 2005).
second amended complaint relies on diversity of citizenship
for federal jurisdiction. Regarding the parties to the
action, the second amended complaint contains the following
. At all times herein mentioned, Plaintiff
Jean Montgomery * * * was a resident of Cook County,
Illinois, and was employed by the United States Postal
Service in the State of Illinois for almost 45 years, and was
last employed as the Manager of Customer Service at the
Englewood Post Office when she was terminated.
. At all times herein mentioned, Defendant
Charles Scialla * * * was a resident of Fairfield, New
Jersey, and is the president of Defendant Scialla Associates,
. At all times herein mentioned, Defendant
William Simpson * * * was a resident of Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, and is an employee of Defendant ...