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FIORENTINO v. TRAVELERS INS. CO.

May 1, 1978

SALVATORE J. FIORENTINO and LINDA FIORENTINO, Parents and natural guardians of FRED D. FIORENTINO, a minor
v.
THE TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY and JACK LENAHEN and JOSEPH TUCKER



The opinion of the court was delivered by: FOGEL

 FOGEL, J.

 Defendant Jack Lenahen, filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and a motion for new trial on April 27, 1977. These motions were denied by Order dated November 18, 1977. Notice of Appeal was filed December 12, 1977. This memorandum is in support of our November 18, 1977 Order. Both motions raised similar issues and therefore will be treated as one.

 This is an action against Jack Lenahen (Lenahen), an insurance agent, for his failure to provide liability insurance coverage to Salvatore and Corlinda Fiorentino (Fiorentinos), the plaintiffs, for off-the-premises accidents. This suit was also brought against the Travelers Insurance Company (Travelers) for failure to provide such coverage through its agent, Lenahen. The jury found in favor of Travelers and against the plaintiffs, and in favor of the plaintiffs and against Lenahen.

 I. JURISDICTION

 This matter is properly based on diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. ┬ž 1332. Plaintiffs are citizens of New Jersey; Travelers is a Connecticut corporation with its principal place of business in Connecticut; and Jack Lenahen is a citizen of Pennsylvania. The amount in controversy, exclusive of interest and costs, exceeds $10,000.00.

 II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

 In August, 1968, Mr. and Mrs. Fiorentino moved to a residence located at 1739 South 12th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where they resided until January, 1970. In April, 1969, an alleged meeting took place between the plaintiffs and Lenahen, who in the past had handled all of the plaintiffs' business and much of their personal insurance needs. Lenahen, after he was informed of the plaintiffs' insurance needs, allegedly led the Fiorentinos to believe that they would be covered for off-the-premises accidents and that they need not seek coverage elsewhere. Actually, Lenahen had obtained an owners/landlord and tenant policy appropriate for properties owned but leased to others by the plaintiffs rather than a Homeowner's policy which would cover the premises owned-and-resided-in by them. The result was that plaintiffs were not covered for off-the-premises accidents.

 On October 18, 1969, Fred Fiorentino, the plaintiffs' minor son, while playing at his school's playground, accidentally struck and injured one Richard E. Purnevas. This incident resulted in a civil action commenced in the District Court for the State of New Jersey on December 10, 1970 by the parents of Purvenas. Travelers withdrew as counsel for the Fiorentinos claiming that the plaintiff was not covered for this incident.

 III. THE MOTIONS

 Lenahen's motion for judgment N.O.V. is based on the assertion that there was insufficient evidence on the record.

 A) Lenahen contends that we erred in upholding jurisdiction in this case because plaintiff failed to prove the principal place of business of Travelers. A corporation is deemed to be a citizen of both the state where it has been incorporated and where it has its principal place of business. The citizenship of the other party must be different from both of these places for a diversity action to be sustained on jurisdictional grounds. Canton v. Angelina Casualty Company, 279 F.2d 553 (5th Cir. 1960).

 Paragraph One of the complaint alleges that plaintiffs are citizens of the State of New Jersey. Paragraph Two alleges that ". . . Travelers Insurance Company is a corporation organized and existing under the Laws of Connecticut and has as a principal place of business, the State of Connecticut." Paragraph Three alleges that Lenahen is a citizen of Pennsylvania. The amended complaint re-alleges the above statements.

 Travelers, in its answer to the complaint, admitted both paragraphs One and Two. Travelers also admitted the following statements contained in ...


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