02/07/2013 03:37:31 PM EST
Failure to Allege Basis for Subject Matter Jurisdiction Can Result in Sanctions
If you're going to file a lawsuit against someone, you'd
better explain the basis for it. A complaint doesn't need to include much
detail, but it must at least allege facts showing that you've been wronged and
that you are entitled to a remedy of some sort. In federal court, you must also
demonstrate a basis to invoke the court's jurisdiction. Failure to do so can
result in monetary sanctions.
Take the case of Michael Harris v. Jeffrey Seto, brought in the Harrisonburg
Division of the Western District of Virginia. Michael F. Harris and his
company, M. F. Harris Research, Inc., filed a complaint against Jeffrey K.
Seto, Matthew S. Johnson, and others, alleging fraud, breach
of fiduciary duty, and corporate diversion. Harris stated in conclusory fashion
that Seto and others defrauded him by scheming to take over his company and
steal confidential information and business opportunities.
The complaint consisted of a two-page handwritten document.
(Hint: that's not the best way to make a good first impression with the
judges). The complaint alleged nine counts but did not set forth the factual
basis supporting them. According to the civil cover sheet filed with the
complaint, Harris asserted the court's jurisdiction was based on a federal
question. He checked boxes describing the case as being in the nature of
& Slander," "Property Damage Product Liability," and
"Patent." Defendant Johnson was the only defendant served and he
wisely moved to dismiss the action for failure to state a claim.
Read the rest of the article
at the Virginia
Business Litigation Lawyer blog
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