Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

John Windle v. Douglas P. Earl

May 14, 2012

JOHN WINDLE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DOUGLAS P. EARL, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Slomsky, J.

OPINION

I. INTRODUCTION

This action is based on diversity of citizenship jurisdiction and involves a breach of contract claim between Plaintiff John Windle ("Plaintiff") and Defendant Douglas P. Earl, Esquire ("Defendant"). Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6). (Doc. No. 10.) Plaintiff has filed a Response to Defendant's Motion (Doc. No. 12), along with a Motion to Amend the Complaint (Doc. No. 13).

Upon review by the Court of Plaintiff's Response and Motion to Amend the Complaint, a question arose as to whether there was subject-matter jurisdiction over this case on the basis of diversity of citizenship jurisdiction. Upon request of the Court, the parties submitted briefs regarding the jurisdictional issue. (Doc. Nos. 15 and 16.) On February 9, 2012, the Court held a hearing on the jurisdictional question. (Doc. No. 18.) Upon consideration of the parties' briefs, exhibits, and arguments at the February 19, 2012 hearing, and for reasons that follow, the Court will dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.

II. BACKGROUND

On March 16, 2011, Plaintiff John Windle filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"). (Doc. No. 1.) In his application, Plaintiff stated that he owned a home at 2421 West Gordon Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Id.) On March 21, 2011, Plaintiff's Motion to proceed IFP was granted. At the time Plaintiff filed his March 16, 2011 application, he was incarcerated at the Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution ("FCI Ft. Dix") in New Jersey. (See Doc. No. 1.) On April 21, 2011, Plaintiff filed in this case a Notice of Change of Address from the FCI Ft. Dix mailing address to the address of a halfway house located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Doc. No. 7.) On August 5, 2011, Plaintiff filed another Notice of Change of Address from the halfway house in Philadelphia to 7175 Andrews Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Doc. No. 8.) Since the August 5, 2011 Notice of Change of Address, Plaintiff has not filed another notice with this Court that his address has changed. Additionally, according to Plaintiff's driver's license, as of September 24, 2010, Plaintiff considered 7175 Andrews Street to be his home address. (Doc. No. 15 at 5, "Plaintiff [sic] Exhibit C.")

On March 21, 2011, Plaintiff filed the initial Complaint (Doc. No. 3), in which he essentially alleges a claim of "contract fraud" against Defendant Douglas P. Earl, Esquire. The contract at issue here is an agreement dated March 31, 2008, in which Defendant agreed to provide legal representation to Plaintiff regarding a property located on Gordon Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The contract provides, in relevant part:

This agreement is made between Marcella Windle [Plaintiff's wife], whose address is 7175 Andrews Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19138 . . . and Law Office of Douglas P. Earl, P.C., whose office address is 1015 Chestnut Street, Suite 902, Philadelphia, PA 19107. . . .

Law Firm is to represent John Windle The Real Property and Improvements Known as 2421-2425 W. Gordon Street, Philadelphia, PA 19132, CP-51-MD-0010220-2007, October Term, 2007 on April 17, 2008 . . . . (Doc. No. 15 at 4, "Plaintiff's Exhibit B.")

According to Plaintiff, the breach of contract claim arose during Defendant's representation of Plaintiff in a forfeiture action in state court. (Doc. No. 3.) Plaintiff describes the nature of his claims as "contract fraud" (id.), which leaves the impression that in his Complaint Plaintiff may also be alleging a legal malpractice claim. In any event, the forfeiture action involved the building located at 2421-2425 West Gordon Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Id.) It is unclear whether the forfeiture matter has concluded.

On October 5, 2011, Defendant filed in this case a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. No. 10.) On November 14, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Response to Defendant's Motion. (Doc. No. 12.) That same day, Plaintiff also filed a Motion to Amend the Complaint. (Doc. No. 13). For reasons discussed below, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(h)(3) for lack of diversity of citizenship jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). The Court will also deny as moot Plaintiff's Motion to Amend the Complaint. (Doc. No. 13.)

III. STANDARD

District courts have original subject-matter jurisdiction over civil matters where the parties have diversity of citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Section 1332(a) provides, in pertinent part:

The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.