United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Richard Caputo United States District Judge.
before me is a Notice of Removal filed by Defendants.
(See Doc. 1). Because the Notice of Removal fails to
establish that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction over
this action, it will be dismissed unless Defendants can show
that diversity jurisdiction is proper.
Brenda Shalongo and Edward Shalongo originally filed this
action in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas.
(See Doc. 1, Ex. “C”). In the Complaint,
Plaintiffs allege claims against Defendants for negligence
and loss of consortium. (See id.).
removed the action to this Court on June 29, 2018.
(See Doc. 1, generally). In the Notice of
Removal, Defendants contend that jurisdiction over this
action exists pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).
(See id. at ¶¶ 4-5, 12). Plaintiffs are
alleged to “reside at 174 Steffens Road, Danville,
Montour County, Pennsylvania.” (Id. at ¶
5). Defendants are alleged to be incorporated in Delaware
with “a principle [sic] place of business in
Florida.” (Id. at ¶ 7).
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)). The Notice of Removal 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 Plaintiffs.
Notice of Removal fails to adequately allege the citizenship
of Plaintiffs. For purposes of diversity jurisdiction, a
natural person is deemed to be a citizen of the state in
which he is domiciled. Swiger v. Allegheny Energy,
Inc., 540 F.3d 179, 182 (3d Cir. 2008) (citing
Gilbert v. David, 235 U.S. 561, 569 (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, 625 (1914).
extent the Notice of Removal alleges that Plaintiffs
“reside” in Pennsylvania, 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 (“Where one lives is prima facie
evidence of domicile, but mere residency in a state is
insufficient for purposes of diversity.”). To properly
plead diversity, the state of citizenship of each Plaintiff
must be alleged, not merely his or her state of residence. As
the Notice of Removal does not contain these facts, the Court
cannot determine whether subject matter jurisdiction exists.
Citizenship of Defendants.
Notice of Removal also fails to properly allege
Defendants' own citizenship. 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). If a party is a corporation, in order to properly
plead diverse citizenship, both the corporation's state
of incorporation and its principal place of business must be
alleged. See VICI Racing, LLC v. T-Mobile USA, Inc.,
763 F.3d 273, 282 (3d Cir. 2014). A corporation may only have
one principal place of business, and proper invocation of
diversity jurisdiction requires an allegation of where a
corporation has “its principal place of
business.” See S. Freedman & Co., Inc. v.
Raab, 180 Fed.Appx. 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).
while the Notice of Removal adequately identifies
Defendants' state of incorporation, it only identifies
where Defendants have a principal place of business. To
properly plead corporate citizenship, however, each Defendant
must plead where it has its principal place of business.
Because the Notice of Removal does not contain these facts,
it cannot be determined whether jurisdiction over this action