United States District Court, D. Colorado
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING ACTION FOR LACK OF
S. Krieger Chief United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court sua sponte for
determination of the Court's subject matter jurisdiction.
See Webb v. Smith, 632 Fed.Appx. 957, 960
(10th Cir. 2015) (court may consider the absence
of subject-matter jurisdiction sua sponte).
James Edward Dougherty commenced this action pro se.
His Complaint contains somewhat scattershot, half-formed
allegations. All those that involve the named Defendants
concern events relating, directly or indirectly, to Mr.
Dougherty's divorce in the Florida state courts.
Court clearly lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over the
claims against these Defendants due to lack of diversity of
citizenship pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The Complaint
identifies Mr. Dougherty, Defendant James Anthony Dougherty,
and Defendant Sharon Bruce as all being
residents of Colorado. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1);
Grynberg v. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, LP, 805
F.3d 901, 905 (10th Cir. 2015) (“Diversity
jurisdiction requires complete diversity-no plaintiff may be
a citizen of the same state as any defendant”).
Court also lacks federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1331, insofar as none of Mr. Dougherty's
claims against the named Defendants appear to invoke any
federal law. His claims against these Defendants primarily
sound in state common-law slander (against Anthony and
Defendant Risch), embezzlement (against Defendant Bruce),
perhaps negligence or breach of a fiduciary duty (against
Defendant Hunter & Associates), and claims seeking to set
aside domestic relations orders issued by the Florida court
(against Defendant Tenorio).
the Court's obligations under Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972), to liberally construe Mr.
Dougherty's pro se Complaint, the Court has
looked beyond his specific allegations to several pages of
exhibits attached thereto. The Court can infer that Mr.
Dougherty is apparently serving a sentence for a criminal
conviction and is currently on probation under the
supervision of a state or county Probation Department in
Moffat County. The exhibits also reflect that in February
2017, Mr. Dougherty was issued a criminal summons in Moffat
County for the crime of Harassment, C.R.S. § 18-9-111.
(The exhibit does not contain the narrative portion
describing the incident.) That summons may be related to
disagreements or difficulties that Mr. Dougherty may be
having with two of his neighbors, both of whom are police
officers in Craig, Colorado.
light is shed on Mr. Dougherty's concerns by other
filings in this action. Mr. Dougherty has moved (#
7) to have this Court “issue an order to
prevent the Craig Police Department from trespassing and
harassment at properties” Mr. Dougherty owns and
“to dismiss [the] current Harassment charge issued by
the Craig Police Department” against him. More
recently, Mr. Dougherty filed a second motion (# 16)
requesting that the Court “provide relief from”
certain state court proceedings in Moffat County that appear
to be requests by the state to revoke Mr. Dougherty's
probation. See also Docket # 22.
the Court is required to construe Mr. Dougherty's pro
se pleadings liberally, the Court is not obligated to -
and indeed, should not -- act as Mr. Dougherty's advocate
or to rewrite his Complaint to assert claims that were not
originally presented. Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d
1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999). None of the named
Defendants appear to be state actors or public officials in
any capacity, there is no allegation of violation of any
federal or constitutional right, and nothing in the record
suggests that Mr. Dougherty's interactions with police or
probation officers in Craig or in Moffat County would give
rise to a cognizable claim under 42 U.S.C. §
absence of allegations which if true would give rise to
subject matter jurisdiction, dismissal of this action is
appropriate under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). Moreover, because it
does not appear that Mr. Dougherty can assert any cognizable
claims over which this Court would have subject-matter
jurisdiction, the Court declines to reflexively grant Mr.
Dougherty leave to amend his Complaint. If Mr. Dougherty
believes he can adequately plead claims that are cognizable
in this Court, he may move to reopen this action upon the
tender of a proposed Amended Complaint that demonstrates that
the Court DISMISSES all claims in Mr. Dougherty's
Complaint (# 1) against all named Defendants for lack of
federal subject-matter jurisdiction. There being no colorable
claims to pursue at this time, the Clerk of the Court shall
close this case.
 The Court will assume for purposes of
this order, without necessarily finding, that the
parties' state of residence is also their state of
citizenship. Whitelock v. Leatherman, 460 F.2d 507,
514 n. 14 (10th Cir. 1972).
 Even assuming, as discussed below,
that the ongoing matters involving Mr. Dougherty and the
police in Craig, Colorado could give rise to some cognizable
federal claim, such claim would be entirely unrelated to the
claims against the named Defendants, such that the Court
would decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction ...