United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
A. RICHARD CAPUTO, District Judge.
Presently before the Court is the Complaint filed by Plaintiff Shoener Environmental, Inc. ("Shoener"). (Doc. 1.) Because the Complaint fails to establish that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action, it will be dismissed unless Plaintiff can show that diversity jurisdiction is proper.
Plaintiff commenced this action on or about May 27, 2014. Plaintiff alleges that this Court has jurisdiction over the action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. ( Compl., ¶ 1.) Plaintiff Shoener alleges it is "a Pennsylvania corporation with a principle [sic] place of business located at 239 Main Street, Suite 301, Dickson City, Pennsylvania, 18519." ( Id. at ¶ 2.) Defendant Tiko Patel ("Patel") is alleged to be "an adult and competent individual currently residing at 2085 Route 88, Brick, New Jersey, 08724." ( Id. at ¶ 3.) Defendant Tihali Wind Turbines, LLC is alleged to be "a business entity with a principle [sic] place of business located at 2085 Route 88, Brick, New Jersey, 08724." ( Id. at ¶ 4.)
Federal courts have an obligation to address issues of subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte. See Shaffer v. GTE North, Inc., 284 F.3d 500, 502 (3d Cir.2002) (citing Club Comanche, Inc. v. Gov't of the Virgin Islands, 278 F.3d 250, 255 (3d Cir. 2002)). Plaintiff alleges that the Court's basis for jurisdiction is pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). Section 1332(a)(1) gives district courts original jurisdiction to hear cases where the matter in controversy exceeds the value of seventy-five thousand dollars ($75, 000) and is between citizens of different states. In order for jurisdiction to exist, there must be complete diversity, meaning that each defendant must be a citizen of a different state from each plaintiff. Owen Equip. & Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 373, 98 S.Ct. 2396, 57 L.Ed.2d 274 (1978). Of course, "[t]he person asserting jurisdiction bears the burden of showing that the case is properly before the court at all stages of the litigation." Packard v. Provident Nat'l Bank, 994 F.2d 1039, 1045 (3d Cir. 1993).
"It is... well established that when jurisdiction depends upon diverse citizenship the absence of sufficient averments or of facts in the record showing such required diversity of citizenship is fatal and cannot be overlooked by the court, even if the parties fail to call attention to the defect, or consent that it may be waived." Thomas v. Bd. of Trs., 195 U.S. 207, 211, 25 S.Ct. 24, 49 L.Ed. 160 (1904). Moreover, "[w]hen the foundation of federal authority is, in a particular instance, open to question, it is incumbent upon the courts to resolve such doubts, one way or the other, before proceeding to a disposition of the merits." Carlsberg Res. Corp. v. Cambria Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 554 F.2d 1254, 1256 (3d Cir. 1977); see also Fed R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3).
A. Citizenship of Plaintiff
First, the Complaint fails to adequately allege the citizenship of Plaintiff. As set forth above, Plaintiff alleges it is "a Pennsylvania corporation with a principle [sic] place of business located at 239 Main Street, Suite 301, Dickson City, Pennsylvania, 18519." ( Compl., ¶ 2.)
A corporation may have more than one state of citizenship: "a corporation shall be deemed to be a citizen of every State... by which it has been incorporated and of the State... where it has its principal place of business." 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1). A corporation may only have one principal place of business, and proper invocation of diversity jurisdiction requires that the plaintiff allege where a corporation has "its principal place of business." See S. Freedman & Co., Inc. v. Raab, 180 F.App'x 316, 320 (3d Cir. 2006) (affirming the district court's dismissal of a complaint alleging where the plaintiff corporation maintained "a principal place of business, " rather than "its principal place of business"). A corporation's principal place of business is its "nerve center, " that is, the place "where a corporation's officers direct, control, and coordinate the corporation's activities." Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 130 S.Ct. 1181, 1192, 175 L.Ed.2d 1029 (2010).
Here, the Complaint only includes facts as to where Plaintiff has a principal place of business. But, to properly plead the citizenship of this corporation, Plaintiff must allege where it has its principal place of business. Because the Complaint does not contain this fact, the Court cannot determine whether there is proper jurisdiction over this action.
B. Citizenship of Individual Defendant
Second, the Complaint fails to adequately allege the citizenship of individual Defendant Patel. For purposes of diversity jurisdiction, a natural person is deemed to be a citizen of the state where she is domiciled. Swiger v. Allegheny Energy, Inc., 540 F.3d 179, 182 (3d Cir. 2008) (citing Gilbert v. David, 235 U.S. 561, 569, 35 S.Ct. 164, 59 L.Ed. 360 (1915)). To be domiciled in a state, a person must reside there and intend to remain indefinitely. Krasnov v. Dinan, 465 F.2d 1298, 1300-01 (3d Cir. 1972). A person may have only one domicile, and thus may be a citizen of only one state for diversity jurisdiction purposes. See Williamson v. Osenton, 232 U.S. 619, 34 S.Ct. 442, 58 L.Ed. 758 (1914).
To the extent the Complaint alleges that individual Defendant Patel is currently "residing" in New Jersey, this is not sufficient. Residence is not the same as domicile and does not establish citizenship for diversity purposes. See Krasnov, 465 F.2d at 1300 (3d Cir. 1972) ("Where one lives is prima facie evidence of domicile, but mere residency in a state is insufficient for purposes of diversity") (internal citations omitted). To properly plead diversity, Plaintiff must allege the individual Defendant's state of citizenship, not merely ...