The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARSH
This diversity action arose from an alleged gas explosion in a room occupied by Wade Richard Blue causing burns resulting in his death on July 4, 1975. The decedent lived in Farrell, Pennsylvania. He had previously lived in Miami, Florida. After the death of his wife and mother, the decedent moved to Farrell in 1974. The Plaintiff administrator of decedent's estate, Kenneth G. Blue, is a son of the decedent. Letters of Administration were issued to Kenneth by the Register of Wills of Mercer County in June, 1976.
The plaintiff administrator brought this suit on July 6, 1976 alleging that he was a citizen of New Jersey. The defendants challenged the jurisdiction of this court. A hearing was held on September 6, 1977. From the facts elicited at the hearing, the deposition of the plaintiff taken on November 26, 1976, and the interrogatories answered by plaintiff filed March 11 and September 1, 1977, we find that the plaintiff administrator was a citizen of New Jersey on July 6, 1976 when the complaint was filed.
It is well established that the burden of proof to show that a federal court has jurisdiction of a case is upon the plaintiff who brings the action. McNutt v. General Motors Accept. Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 56 S. Ct. 780, 80 L. Ed. 1135 (1936); Krasnov v. Dinan, 465 F.2d 1298 (3rd Cir. 1972); McSparran v. Weist, 402 F.2d 867, 875 (3rd Cir. 1968), cert. den. sub nom., Fritzinger v. Weist, 395 U.S. 903, 23 L. Ed. 2d 217, 89 S. Ct. 1739 (1969).
The plaintiff, now 24 years old, was domiciled in Sharon, Pennsylvania, from his birth until August 17, 1975. He was born in Sharon and was raised there by his grandparents, John and Fannie Sutton, in their house on Baldwin Avenue. The plaintiff, who never lived with his father, resided with Mr. Sutton, his step-grandfather, after the plaintiff's grandmother died in 1974. The plaintiff attended public schools in Sharon and graduated from Slippery Rock State College in August, 1975.
While employed he began to attend classes at Glassboro as a non-matriculated graduate student. He was formally enrolled as a graduate student in January, 1976. His goal is to get a Master's Degree in education and public relations in 1978 and continue to work as an employee of the college as an administrator. His compensation is $4,000 a year plus room and board and he tutors students at $40 per week. (Deposition pp. 4, 6). He works at the college during the summer vacation. The college considers plaintiff to be a resident of New Jersey and charges him the student tuition applicable to a New Jersey resident. His employment at the college has continued to the present.
When he obtains his Master's Degree at Glassboro he desires to work in a college administrative position. He has applied for positions at five New Jersey colleges, two New York colleges, a Vermont college and Slippery Rock State College in Pennsylvania. He has applied to schools in the states mentioned but his focus is on New Jersey, and he intends to reapply to the New Jersey colleges when he obtains his Master's Degree if he has not been hired by one of them at that time.
The plaintiff pays New Jersey state income taxes. The address given on his 1976 Wage and Tax Statement (Plaintiff's Exhibit 1) is Mullica Apartment, Glassboro State College, Glassboro, New Jersey. He is not registered to vote anywhere.
In September, 1975, plaintiff opened two bank accounts in the First National Bank of South Jersey, Glassboro Branch. Plaintiff and his step-grandfather have a joint bank account at McDowell National Bank in Sharon, Pennsylvania. This account was opened after the death of decedent. The original balance was $2,000 and presently is $408. The source of the funds was decedent's social security and veteran benefits. From this account decedent's funeral expenses were paid.
In 1975, plaintiff obtained a Pennsylvania driver's license which expired in September, 1977.
In December, 1976, he purchased a Pontiac sedan in Sharon because his step-grandfather was familiar with Sharon auto dealers and the cars appeared to be less expensive in Sharon than in New Jersey. On January 10, 1977 the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles issued to him a Certificate of Ownership of a Motor Vehicle. In March, 1977, he obtained a New Jersey driver's license. The Pennsylvania license has not been renewed. The car is insured through a State Farm agent in New Jersey.
In November, 1975, plaintiff began to attend the Mount Zion Baptist Church in New Jersey and is now a member of that church following baptism. He did not attend any church in Pennsylvania. He has a New Jersey girlfriend to whom he expects to become engaged. He has no girlfriends in Pennsylvania.
Plaintiff's step-grandfather now lives in Ardmore, Pennsylvania for health reasons. Plaintiff visits him every two weeks. He also visits relatives in Farrell two or three times a year. He has about ten friends in Mercer County. Athletic mementos received in high school and college are on display at his prior residence in Sharon. He stated these were gifts to his grandmother. Other mementos are in his New Jersey apartment.
The plaintiff testified he considers New Jersey as his residence and intends to stay there indefinitely. In 1975 he told his cousin Gary Richard Ross that he hoped to make New Jersey his home because he ...