United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S  MOTION TO
REINSTATE FEDERAL QUESTION, PERSONAL INJURY PURSUANT TO 28
U.S.C. § 1331; GRANTING DEFENDANTS'  MOTION TO
DISMISS; DENYING DEFENDANTS'  MOTION FOR SANCTIONS;
AND DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS WITHOUT PREJUDICE FOR
LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT are three Motions: (1) a Motion  to Reinstate
Federal Question, Personal Injury Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331 filed by Plaintiff Edward Stewart; (2) a Motion
 to Dismiss filed by Defendants Treasure Bay, LLC,
Western Hospitality, Inc., and Treasure Bay Gaming and
Resorts, Inc.; and (3) a Motion  for Sanctions filed by
Defendants Treasure Bay, LLC, Western Hospitality, Inc., and
Treasure Bay Gaming and Resorts, Inc. After consideration of
the Motions, related pleadings, the record in this case, and
relevant legal authority, the Court finds that
Plaintiff's Motion  to Reinstate Federal Question,
Personal Injury Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 should be
denied; that Defendants' Motion  to Dismiss should be
granted; and that Defendants' Motion  for Sanctions
should be denied. Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed
without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Edward Stewart (“Plaintiff” or
“Stewart”) was once employed at Treasure Bay
Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, but was terminated on April
18, 2011. Am. Compl.  at 3. On June 20, 2012, Stewart
filed a complaint in this Court, in a separate civil action,
asserting discrimination and retaliation claims under Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e,
et seq. (“Title VII”), against Treasure
Bay Casino. Stewart v. Treasure Bay Casino, No.
1:12cv197-LG-JCG, Compl.  (S.D.Miss. June 20, 2012). On
January 7, 2015, this Court granted Treasure Bay Casino
summary judgment and dismissed Stewart's claims with
prejudice. Stewart v. Treasure Bay Casino, No.
15-60087, Order  at 18 (S.D.Miss. Jan. 7, 2015).
appealed . The United States Court of Appeals for the
Fifth Circuit affirmed this Court's judgment, and the
mandate issued on September 17, 2015. Stewart v. Treasure
Bay Casino, No. 15-60087 (5th Cir. Sept. 17, 2015).
8, 2016, Stewart filed the Complaint in the present case
against Defendant Treasure Bay Casino. The Complaint  did
not state the basis for this Court's federal subject
matter jurisdiction. Nor was it clear that there was any
valid basis upon which the Court could exercise diversity or
federal question jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331, 1332. According to the Complaint, both
Plaintiff and Treasure Bay Casino were citizens of
Mississippi. See Compl.  at 2. The Complaint
appeared to assert only state-law claims for negligence and
wrongful termination, although it utilized terms such as
“pretext, ” “retaliation, ”
“protected activities, ” and
“discrimination, ” which alluded to
discrimination and retaliation claims under Title VII.
Id. at 5, 8.
12, 2016, the Court entered an Order to Show Cause  which
required Plaintiff to set forth in a written Response
“the asserted basis for this Court's federal
subject matter jurisdiction, and . . . show cause why this
action should not be dismissed without prejudice for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction . . . .” Order  at 3.
Plaintiff filed a Response  on July 18, 2016, which
appeared to list several new corporate Defendants and
attempted to identify the citizenship of these entities.
Resp.  at 1-3. Plaintiff asserted that diversity
jurisdiction existed, id. at 3, and asked the Court
to “void any accidental assertions of race
discrimination from the previous case” in his Complaint
in the present case, id. at 3.
22, 2016, the Court entered an Order  requiring Plaintiff
to file an Amended Complaint “naming all Defendants
against whom he seeks recovery in this case, stating all
claims Plaintiff asserts against those Defendants, and
providing all jurisdictional facts demonstrating that this
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
claims based upon diversity of citizenship.” Order 
at 3. The Court determined that “Plaintiff is deemed to
have withdrawn any references to federal claims and has made
clear that there is no basis for federal question
jurisdiction in this case.” Id. at 2.
filed an Amended Complaint  on July 25, 2016, naming
Treasure Bay LLC, Western Hospitality, Inc., and Treasure Bay
Gaming and Resorts, Inc., as Defendants. The Amended
Complaint , which remains the operative pleading,
ostensibly invokes diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1332 and appears to advance state-law claims
against Defendants. Am. Compl.  at 1-19.
August 3, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Motion  to Reinstate
Federal Question, Personal Injury Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. Plaintiff contends that he marked federal
question on the civil cover sheet when he filed his original
Complaint in this case, and posits that this constitutes a
sufficient basis for the Court's subject matter
jurisdiction. Mot.  at 1-2. Plaintiff appears to assert
that his failure to set forth a basis for federal question
jurisdiction in this Complaint itself was a mere
“technicality, ” which should be excused because
he is a pro se litigant Id. at 2.
referring to his prior Title VII suit against Treasure Bay
Casino, Plaintiff states that neither collateral estoppel nor
res judicata is “a factor in this case, ” because
“[t]he federal question has nothing to do with the
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is a claim of
personal injury . . . .” Id. at 3. Plaintiff
therefore “request[s] that this case proceed under 28
U.S.C. § 1331 as documented in exhibits 1 and 2 to
protect [his] right to fairness of due process.”
Id. Exhibit “1” to the Motion  is
the civil cover sheet Plaintiff completed upon filing his
original Complaint, upon which Plaintiff marked
“Federal Question” as the basis of jurisdiction
and “Other Personal Injury” as the nature of
suit. Exhibit “2” is a copy of the docket sheet,
which reflects that the civil cover sheet initially listed
this case as “28:1331 Fed. Question: Personal
August 30, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion  to Dismiss
pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and
(6), for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Defendants
contend that the parties are not of diverse citizenship. Mot.
 at 2-3. Defendants also filed a Motion  for
Sanctions pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11.
Defendants seek “the imposition of sanctions, ...