United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
RAD MANUFACTURING, L.L.C., formerly known as RAD Wood Work Company, et al., Plaintiffs,
ADVANCED FABRICATION SERVICES, INC. t/d/b/a AFS ENERGY SYSTEMS, Defendant.
MALACHY E. MANNION, United States District Judge.
the court is the defendant's motion to dismiss. (Doc.
8). The defendant seeks to dismiss the
plaintiffs' amended complaint. (Doc. 5). For the
foregoing reasons, the defendant's motion is GRANTED.
plaintiff RAD Manufacturing, L.L.C. (“RAD”) is an
owner and operator of a wood floor manufacturing facility
incorporated in Delaware with its principle place of business
in Pennsylvania. The defendant Advanced Fabrication Services,
Inc. (“AFS”) is in the business of designing,
troubleshooting, installing, maintaining, servicing, and
repairing boilers and boiler control systems. AFS is
incorporated in Pennsylvania and has its principle place of
business in Pennsylvania. The plaintiff Indiana Lumbermens
Mutual Insurance Company (“Lumbermens”) insures
and acts as subrogee to RAD. Lumbermens is incorporated in
Indiana with its principle place of business in Indiana. The
plaintiff The Travelers Indemnity Company
(“Travelers”) reinsures and acts as subrogee to
Lumbermens. Travelers is incorporated in Connecticut and has
its principle place of business in Connecticut.
to November 2014, RAD hired and contracted with AFS to
design, fabricate, construct, program, assemble, install,
inspect, test, maintain, repair, and service a boiler control
system on RAD's premises. On November 2, 2014, the boiler
dry fired causing damage to RAD's real property. The
boiler control system was supposed to prevent dry fires by
monitoring the level of cooling water in the boiler and
shutting off the boiler if the level of water was below
predetermined levels. The boiler control system did not
operate as intended, leading to the dry fire. RAD submitted a
claim to Lumbermens following the real property loss.
Lumbersmens and Travelers have paid and may continue to pay
in excess of two million dollars as compensation for that
loss. RAD also suffered additional property losses of
approximately $431, 000.00 not covered by any insurance,
which RAD seeks to recover. (Doc. 21 at 3).
October 24, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a complaint in this
court. (Doc. 1). The plaintiffs filed an amended
complaint on November 4, 2016 as a matter of right. (Doc.
5). The plaintiffs' amended complaint alleged
four claims against the defendant: (1) negligence-Count I;
(2) strict liability-Count II; (3) breach of warranty-Count
III; and (4) breach of contract-Count IV. RAD also commenced
a civil action against the defendant in the Luzerne County
Court of Common Pleas by filing a praecipe for writ of
summons. RAD Mfg. LLC v. AFS Energy Systems, No.
201600589 (Ct. Com. Pl. 2016). No complaint has been filed.
November 23, 2016, the defendant filed the current motion to
dismiss the plaintiffs' claims. (Doc. 8). A
brief is support was filed on December 6, 2016. (Doc.
9). The defendant's motion seeks dismissal of
the plaintiffs' amended complaint primarily based on the
court's alleged lack of subject matter jurisdiction
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1). In the alternative, the defendant seeks
dismissal of the plaintiffs' strict liability claim
(Count II) and breach of warranty claim (Count III) based on
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and the
plaintiffs' failure to state a claim. The defendant also
moves for a more definitive statement with respect to the
negligence claim (Count I) pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(e), also in the alternative. The
plaintiffs filed a proper brief in opposition on December 27,
2016. (Doc. 13).
February 9, 2017, the court ordered the parties to submit
supplemental briefs to aid the court's resolution of the
jurisdictional issue. (Doc. 20). On February 23, 2017, the
parties submitted their supplemental briefs per the
court's order. (Docs. 21-22). The defendant's motion
is now fully ripe for review.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
12(b)(1) provides for the dismissal of a complaint based on a
“lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). “A motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(1) challenges the jurisdiction of the court to address
the merits of the plaintiff's complaint.” Vieth
v. Pennsylvania, 188 F.Supp.2d 532, 537 (M.D. Pa. 2002).
Because the district court is a court of limited
jurisdiction, the burden of establishing subject matter
jurisdiction always rests upon the party asserting it. See
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life. Ins. Co. of America, 511
U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Generally, however, district courts
“enjoy substantial flexibility in handling Rule
12(b)(1) motions.” McCann v. Newmann Irrevocable
Trust, 458 F.3d 281, 290 (3d Cir. 2006).
attack on the court's jurisdiction may be either
“facial” or “factual” and the
“distinction determines how the pleading must be
reviewed.” Const. Party of Pa. v. Aichele, 757
F.3d 347, 357 (3d Cir. 2014). A facial attack tests the
sufficiency of the pleadings, while a factual attack
challenges whether a plaintiff's claims fail to comport
factually with jurisdictional prerequisites. Id. at
358; see also S.D. v. Haddon Heights Bd. of Educ.,
833 F.3d 389, 394 n. 5 (3d Cir. 2016). If the defendant
brings a factual attack, the district court may look outside
the pleadings to ascertain facts needed to determine whether
jurisdiction exists, which is distinct from a facial attack.
Id. If there are factual deficiencies, the
court's jurisdictional determination may require a
hearing, particularly where the disputed facts are material
to finding jurisdiction. McCann, 458 F.3d at 290. Here, the
defendant complains of factual deficiencies. The plaintiffs
do not dispute these facts and, instead, argue that
jurisdiction is proper despite these deficiencies as a matter
of law. The court disagrees.
district court is a court of “limited
jurisdiction.” Exxon Mobile Corp. v. Allapattah Servs.,
Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 552 (2005) (Kokkonen v. Guardian Life
Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). It
“possess[es] only that power authorized by Constitution
and statute.” Id. “[A] federal court
always has jurisdiction to determine its jurisdiction.”
Zambelli Fireworks Mfg. Co., Inc. v. Wood,
592 F.3d 412, 418 (3d Cir. 2010). When the court's
jurisdiction is at issue, however, “it is incumbent
upon the courts to resolve such doubts . . . before
proceeding to a disposition on the merits.”
Id. (quoting Carlsberg Res. Corpo. v. Cambria
Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 554 F.2d 1254, 1256 (3d Cir.
courts have original jurisdiction over federal question
cases-those involving the Constitution, federal law, or
treaties of the United States. 28 U.S.C. §1331. The
district court also has original jurisdiction and serves as
neutral forum for disputes between citizens of different
states, between U.S. citizens and foreign citizens, and
between U.S. citizens and foreign states where the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000.00-i.e., diversity cases. 28
U.S.C. §1332. A district court may also exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over claims “so related to
claims in the action within [the court's] original
jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or
controversy under Article III of the United States
Constitution.” 28 U.S.C. §1367(a). Because the
plaintiffs' claims present no federal question, this
court's jurisdiction must be premised on either diversity
of citizenship or supplemental jurisdiction. Neither form of
jurisdiction is appropriate here. Further, the court cannot
cure the jurisdictional defect.
The Court Lacks Diversity and Supplemental
jurisdiction requires complete diversity between the parties
in the action. Otherwise stated, “presence in the
action of a single plaintiff from the same State as a single
defendant deprives the district court of original
jurisdiction over the entire action.” Exxon Mobile, 545
U.S. at 553. Complete diversity is an essential component of
jurisdiction. Without it, the principle reason for conferring
jurisdiction-to serve as a neutral forum and not favor
home-state litigants-is eliminated. Id. at 553-54.
presence in this action destroys complete diversity in this
action. For jurisdictional purposes, a corporation is deemed
to be a citizen of its place of incorporation and its
principle place of business. 28 U.S.C. §1332(c)(1).
Based on allegations within the amended complaint, RAD is
incorporated in Delaware, but has its principle place of
business in Pennsylvania. Thus, RAD is deemed a citizen of
both Delaware and Pennsylvania. Also based on allegations in
the amended complaint, AFS is incorporated in and has its
principle place of business in Pennsylvania and is,
therefore, also deemed ...