IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
CIVIL ACTION 05-0328-WS-L
On June 3, 2005, defendant Georgia-Pacific Corp. (“Georgia-Pacific”) removed this action
from the Circuit Court of Monroe County, Alabama, asserting that this Court has subject matter
jurisdiction based on federal question and diversity of citizenship. (Doc. 1). Although the plaintiff has
not filed a motion to remand, federal courts are of limited jurisdiction, and this Court has an
independent and continuing obligation to confirm its subject matter jurisdiction, even when the parties
do not question its existence. University of South Alabama v. American Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d
409, 411 (11th Cir. 1999); accord Smith v. GTE Corp., 236 F.3d 1292, 1299 (11th Cir. 2001).
The complaint consists of four counts, the latter two of which address only fictitious defendants.
Count One is styled as a claim for “wrongful termination,” but the body of the count alleges that the
plaintiff was not afforded “his due process rights, as guaranteed in the Fourteenth Amendment of the
United States Constitution.” (Complaint, ¶ 14). Georgia-Pacific concludes that this statement supports
removal on the basis of federal question jurisdiction. (Doc. 1, ¶ 3).
“A federal court may dismiss a federal question claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction only
if ... such a claim is wholly insubstantial and frivolous.” International Café, S.A.L. v. Hard Rock Café
International, Inc., 252 F.3d 1274, 1277 (11th Cir. 2001). While the complaint invokes the
Fourteenth Amendment, “a Fourteenth Amendment claim must include some element of state action.
Purely private actions are not subject to the strictures of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Davis v. Cluet,
Peabody & Co., 667 F.2d 1371, 1373 (11th Cir. 1982). Absent any express allegation of state action