United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
EUNICE OJO, Administratrix of THE ESTATE OF EMMANUEL OJO, Plaintiff,
CLARKS SUMMIT HOSPITALITY, LLC d/b/a NICHOLS VILLAGE HOTEL AND SPA, and NICHOLS VILLAGE MOTOR INN, INC. d/b/a THE INN AT NICHOLS VILLAGE, Defendants.
Richard Caputo United States District Judge
before the Court is an Amended Complaint filed by Plaintiff
Eunice Ojo, Administratrix of the Estate of Emmanuel Ojo.
(Doc. 6.) Because the Amended Complaint again 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.
commenced this action on June 16, 2017. (Doc. 1.) On June 22,
2017, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to file an Amended
Complaint which properly pleaded the existence of subject
matter jurisdiction. (Docs. 3 & 4.) Plaintiff filed an
Amended Complaint on July 6, 2017, naming as Defendants
Clarks Summit Hospitality, LLC d/b/a Nichols Village Hotel
and Spa, and Nichols Village Motor Inn, Inc. d/b/a The Inn at
Nichols Village. (Am. Compl., Doc. 6.) Plaintiff alleges
that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1), “based
upon diversity of citizenship.” (Id. ¶
8.) Plaintiff also asserts that the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. (Id. ¶ 9.) With respect to
the citizenship of Defendant Nichols Village Motor Inn, Inc.
d/b/a The Inn at Nichols Village, the relevant allegation in
the Amended Complaint is that “Nichols Village Motor
Inn, Inc. is a business entity regularly conducting business
as The Inn at Nichols Village and registered in the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to do business at ¶ 1,
Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania 18411 with a
principal place of business at 1100 Northern Blvd., Clarks
Summit, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania 18411.”
(Id. ¶ 6.)
courts have an obligation to address issues of subject matter
jurisdiction sua sponte. See Shaffer v. GTE N.,
Inc., 284 F.3d 500, 502 (3d Cir. 2002) (citing Club
Comanche, Inc. v. Gov't of the V.I., 278 F.3d 250,
255 (3d Cir. 2002)). Plaintiff's Amended Complaint
alleges that the Court has jurisdiction 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 diversity 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 (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. of Ohio State Univ., 195 U.S. 207, 211 (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).
Citizenship of Defendant Nichols Village Motor Inn, Inc.
d/b/a The Inn at Nichols Village
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint cures some of the
jurisdictional defects contained in the original Complaint,
the Amended Complaint still fails to correctly plead the
citizenship of Defendant Nichols Village Motor Inn, Inc.
d/b/a The Inn at Nichols Village. As this Defendant is
alleged to be a corporation, in order to properly plead
diverse citizenship, Plaintiff must allege both the
Defendant's principal place of business and state of
incorporation. See VICI Racing, LLC v. T-Mobile USA,
Inc., 763 F.3d 273, 282 (3d Cir. 2014).
Amended Complaint states that this Defendant is “a
business entity regularly conducting business as The Inn at
Nichols Village and registered in the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania to do business at ¶ 1, Clarks Summit,
Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania 18411 with a principal place
of business at 1100 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit, Lackawanna
County, Pennsylvania 18411.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 6.)
This is not sufficient. While Plaintiff adequately pleads the
Defendant's principal place of business, Plaintiff omits
any allegation concerning the Defendant's state of
incorporation. The allegation that the Defendant is
registered to do business in Pennsylvania is not equivalent
to an allegation that the Defendant is incorporated in the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. See Randazzo v.
Eagle-Picher Indus., Inc., 117 F.R.D. 557, 558 (E.D. Pa.
1987); see also U.S. Foodserv., Inc. v. Long Island
Rest., LLC, No. 3:06-cv-1293, 2008 WL 144217, at *2
(M.D. Pa. Jan. 11, 2008) (“Plaintiff is registered to
do business in New York, but is not incorporated in that
state.”) Accordingly, because Plaintiff fails to
adequately plead this Defendant's state of incorporation,
the Court cannot determine whether complete diversity exists
in this case.
the Court cannot determine whether subject matter
jurisdiction exists, this matter is subject to dismissal
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(h)(3). However,
Plaintiff will be given another opportunity to amend and show
that diversity jurisdiction exists. Plaintiff will be granted
seven (7) days in which to file a second amended complaint.
Failure to do so will result in this action being dismissed.
appropriate order follows.