United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
LEZA S. TELLAM, Plaintiff,
TIFFANY MOORE RUSSELL, FAYE L. ALLEN and KEVIN WEISS, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
B. SMITH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the undersigned's own
motion. On March 7, 2019, pro se Plaintiff Leza S.
Tellam filed this lawsuit against the Orange County, Florida
Clerk of Court, Tiffany Moore Russell and Judges Faye L.
Allen and Kevin Weiss (Doc. 1). By prior Order dated March
29, 2019, I determined that Plaintiff's complaint did not
meet the Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 pleading standard and was otherwise
insufficient to invoke the Court's subject matter
jurisdiction (Doc. 14). I gave Plaintiff 21 days to amend her
complaint “to include facts that show how and why the
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over her claims and to
better explain her claims against Defendants.”
(Id., at 2). I also cautioned Plaintiff that if she
failed to amend her complaint within 21 days, I would
recommend dismissal of this case for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction (Id.). The deadline for amendment has
expired and Plaintiff has not amended her complaint.
Therefore, I respectfully recommend that
this case be dismissed without prejudice for
lack of jurisdiction.
complaint is difficult to comprehend. She appears to complain
about the entry of one or more state court judgments against
her, at least one of which provides for the sale of
residential real property (Doc. 1, at 5). Apparently,
Plaintiff believes these judgments are
“excessive.” (Id.). She has not provided
any court case numbers in her complaint. My Chambers searched
the Orange County Clerk of Court's website and found that
a person named Leza Tellam has been a party to nine cases
between 2009 and 2019, two of which are pending and two of
which are on appeal. Defendants have filed Notices of
Pendency of Other Actions (Docs. 12, 19) stating that this
case is related to five state court actions. Plaintiff claims
federal question jurisdiction, referring to the “U.S.
Constitution- 1st, 14th, 9th, Fair Debt Collection Practices
Act, and Law of Human Rights, including sustainable
development goals.” (Doc. 1 at 3).
courts have “an independent obligation” in every
case “to determine whether subject-matter jurisdiction
exists, even in the absence of a challenge from any
party.” Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S.
500, 501 (2006) (citing Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil
Co., 526 U.S. 574, 583 (1999)). Parties seeking to
invoke the limited jurisdiction of the federal court over a
cause of action must show that the underlying claim is based
upon either diversity jurisdiction (controversies exceeding
$75, 000 between citizens of different states) or the
existence of a federal question (i.e., “a civil action
arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
United States”), in which a private right of action has
been created or is implied by Congressional intent.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and § 1332;
Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275, 293 n.8 (2001).
must meet the pleading standards set forth in the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Because Rule 8(a)(2) requires the
plaintiff to “show” that she is entitled to
relief, a mere “blanket assertion of entitlement to
relief” will not do. Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 556 n. 3 (2007). To survive
dismissal, Plaintiff must plead facts which, “accepted
as true, ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
A claim is “plausible on its face” when its
factual content permits a “reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In evaluating a
plaintiff's complaint under this standard, the court must
accept all well pleaded factual allegations as true and
construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Id.; Ironworkers Local Union 68 v. AstraZeneca
Pharmaceuticals, LP, 634 F.3d 1352, 1359 (11th Cir.
2011). Legal conclusions devoid of factual support are not
entitled to an assumption of truth. Mamani v.
Berzain, 654 F.3d 1148, 1153 (11th Cir. 2011) (citing
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679).
se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than
pleadings drafted by attorneys and will, therefore, be
liberally construed.” Tannenbaum v. United
States, 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998) (per
curiam). See also Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007) (per curiam). But pro se litigants must still
conform their pleadings to the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, Albra v. Advan, Inc., 490 F.3d 826, 829
(11th Cir. 2007), and the court will not “serve as de
facto counsel for a party or ... rewrite an otherwise
deficient pleading in order to sustain an action.”
GJR Investments, Inc. v. County of Escambia, Fla.,
132 F.3d 1359, 1369 (11th Cir. 1998) (citations omitted),
overruled on other grounds as recognized in
Randall v. Scott, 610 F.3d 701, 706 (11th
complaint does not satisfy the Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 pleading
standard. Although she references federal statutes and
constitutional amendments, she does not plead any facts to
show how or why these provisions apply to her case. To the
extent Plaintiff seeks review of any court final judgments
her complaint likely runs afoul of the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine which I explained to
Plaintiff in some detail in my prior Order (Doc. 14). As
Plaintiff pleads no other cognizable cause of action, I find
that she has failed to “allege facts adequate to raise
[her] right to relief above a speculative level.”
See, generally, Buchanan v. Delta Air
Lines, Inc., 727 Fed.Appx. 639, 641 (11th Cir. 2018).
Absent an articulated claim, I find no basis for the Court to
exercise jurisdiction over the complaint.
Plaintiff has been given the opportunity to amend but has not
done so, I respectfully recommend that her complaint be
dismissed without prejudice, for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, without leave to amend in this
has fourteen days from this date to file written objections
to the Report and Recommendation's factual findings and
legal conclusions. A party's failure to file written
objections waives that party's right to challenge on
appeal any unobjected-to factual finding or legal conclusion
the district judge adopts from the Report and Recommendation.
See 11th Cir. R. 3-1.