United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
January 29, 2004.
SALVADOR D. RIVAS and JOVITA SANCHEZ HERNANDEZ, h/w
IMA S.R.L. a/k/a IMA INTERNATIONAL S.R.L. a/k/a MAINO S.A.S
The opinion of the court was delivered by: CYNTHIA RUFE, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the Court is Defendant Adriano Castella's*fn1 Motion for Remand
Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). Because complete diversity is
lacking in this case, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, and
the Motion is granted.
RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The above-captioned matter is a products liability case involving an
allegedly defective pasta maker. On March 15, 2003, the case was
commenced via writ of summons in the Philadelphia County Court of Common
Pleas and was thereafter removed to this Court. In accordance with the
Court's directive, Plaintiffs Salvador D. Rivas and Jovita Sanchez
Hernandez filed a complaint on July 14, 2003.
According to the Complaint, on April 13, 2001, Rivas, who resides in
Naulcalpan, Mexico, was operating a pasta-making machine manufactured by
Defendant IMA S.R.L., a corporation organized and existing under the laws
of Italy, while he was working at Talluto's
Authentic Italian Foods, Inc. in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Rivas
was injured when his arm and hand came into contact with moving,
unguarded blades in the machine. Rivas and his wife, who also resides in
Mexico, advance negligence, strict product liability, and breach of
warranty claims against various foreign and domestic entities and two
alien individuals allegedly involved in the design, manufacturing,
marketing, advertising, redesign, rebuilding, and distribution of the
subject pasta-making machine.*fn2
On December 8, 2003, Costella, a Canadian citizen who is not a
permanent resident of the United States, filed the instant Motion for
Remand in which he asserts that the Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over this action.*fn3 In his Motion, Costella contends that
Plaintiffs are citizens of Mexico and that neither plaintiff is a
resident alien of the United States. Def.'s Mot. for Remand ¶ 4. The
Motion further alleges that the various defendants include foreign
corporations and individuals that are citizens of Italy and Canada.
Because claims are being advanced by non-resident aliens against alien
defendants, Costella argues that complete diversity is lacking and,
therefore, this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this
matter. Since no party has responded to the instant Motion, for the
purposes of deciding the jurisdictional
issue the Court accepts as true all factual averments in Costella's
Motion for Remand.*fn4
STANDARD OF REVIEW
When a case is removed from state court to the district court, federal
jurisdictional requirements must be met. Medlin v. Boeing Vertol Co.,
620 F.2d 957, 960 (3d Cir. 1980). Generally, a defendant may remove a
case to federal court as long as the federal court would have had
jurisdiction over the matter had it originally been filed in federal
court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Upon a motion for remand, a party who
urges jurisdiction on a federal court bears the burden of establishing
that jurisdiction exists. Boyer v. Snap-On Tools Corp. 913 F.2d 108, 111
(3d Cir. 1990). Once a case is removed, it may be remanded if there was a
procedural defect or if the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. See
28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). Removal jurisdiction is to be strictly
construed, with all doubts as to its propriety to be resolved in favor of
remand. Steel Valley Auth. v. Union Switch and Signal Div., 809 F.2d 1006,
1010 (3d Cir. 1987).
According to the Notice of Removal filed by Defendant Square D Company,
jurisdiction in this case is premised upon the diversity statute, which
provides, in part, as follows:
§ 1332. Diversity of citizenship; amount in
(a) The district courts shall have original
jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in
controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000,
exclusive of interest and costs, and is between
(1) Citizens of different States;
(2) citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of
a foreign state;
(3) citizens of different States and in which
citizens or subjects of a foreign state are
additional parties; and
(4) a foreign state, defined in section 1603(a) of
this title, as plaintiff and citizens of a State or
of different States.
For the purposes of this section, section 1334, and
section 1441, an alien admitted to the United States
for permanent residence shall be deemed a citizen of
the State in which such alien is domiciled.
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). A foreign corporation is deemed to be a
citizen of the place where it is incorporated. See Jerguson v. Blue
Dot Investment. Inc., 659 F.2d 31. 35 (5th Cir. 1981).
The instant Motion requires the Court to consider alienage
jurisdiction. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(2),*fn5
"federal jurisdiction is authorized where there is a suit between a
citizen of a state and citizens or subjects of a foreign state." Eze v.
Yellow Cab Co. of Alexandria. Va., Inc., 782 F.2d 1064, 1065 (D.C. Cir.
1986). The primary reason for alienage jurisdiction under subsection
(a)(2) "is to promote international relations by assuring other countries
that litigation involving their nationals will be treated at the national
level, and alienage jurisdiction is also intended to allow foreign
subjects to avoid real or perceived bias in state courts. . . ." Court
v. Prot. 85 F.3d 244, 250 (5th Cir. 1996). Like subsection (a)(1),
however, subsection (a)(2) requires complete diversity. Eze. 782 F.2d at
1065 (citing Strawbridge v. Curtiss. 7 U.S. (3 Cranch) 267 (1806)).
Alienage jurisdiction may not be maintained in federal court by an alien
against a citizen of a state and a citizen of another foreign country.
Here, Plaintiffs are citizens of Mexico, and Defendants include foreign
corporations and individuals that are citizens of Italy and Canada.
Because there is not complete
diversity, this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs'
claims. See Karazano v. Madison Two Assocs., 147 F.3d 624 (9th Cir.
1998); Eze, 782 F.2d at 1065 ("A diversity suit in line with the
Strawbridge rule may not be maintained in federal court by an alien
against a citizen of a state and a citizen of some other foreign
country."); Field v. Volkswagenwerk AG, 626 F.2d 293, 296 (3d Cir. 1980)
("[The complete diversity] requirement applies to suits between aliens as
well as to suits between citizens."); see also 15 James W. Moore, Moore's
Federal Practice ¶ 102.77 (3d ed. 1997) (noting that "when an alien
plaintiff sues an alien and a citizen of the United States, there is no
diversity jurisdiction"). Because it appears that this case was
improvidently removed and jurisdiction is lacking, the matter is hereby
remanded to state court in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Adriano Costella's Motion for
Remand Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) is granted. An appropriate
AND NOW, this 29th day of January, 2004, upon consideration of
Defendant Adriano Castella's Unopposed Motion for Remand Pursuant to
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) [Doc. No. 15], it is hereby ORDERED and DECREED
that the Motion is GRANTED. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), the
above-captioned matter is hereby REMANDED to the Philadelphia County
Court of Common Pleas. The Clerk of this Court shall forthwith cause the
file and record to be delivered to the Prothonotary of the Philadelphia
County Court of Common Pleas.
The Clerk is directed to close this case for statistical purposes.