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.

Smith v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

February 12, 2018

MELVIN SMITH and STAN FOWLER, Plaintiffs, [1]
v.
AUTO-OWNERS INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          STEPHAN M. VIDMAR, United States Magistrate Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Remand [Doc. 159], filed February 5, 2018. Plaintiff argues that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, and therefore, the case should be remanded to state court. The Court heard some argument on the motion at the Pretrial Conference on February 7, 2018. No response has been filed yet, but none is necessary. The Court finds, based on clear and convincing evidence that at all times relevant to the determination of jurisdiction: Defendant is and has been a citizen of Michigan; Plaintiff Smith and former-Plaintiff Fowler are and have been citizens of Illinois; and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. The Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). The motion will be denied.

         Standard

         Subject matter jurisdiction cannot be waived and thus may be raised by the parties or sua sponte at any time. Louisville & Nashville R.R. Co. v. Motley, 211 U.S. 149, 152 (1908). District courts have original jurisdiction of all civil actions between citizens of different States, as long as the amount in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. § 1332(a). The party asserting federal jurisdiction is required to prove jurisdictional facts by a “preponderance of the evidence[.]” McPhail v. Deere & Co., 529 F.3d 947, 953 (10th Cir. 2008). The relevant time period for proving jurisdictional facts is the time of the filing of the complaint. Grupo Dataflux v. Atlas Global Group, L.P., 541 U.S. 567, 570-71 (2004); Siloam Springs Hotel, L.L.C. v. Century Sur. Co., 781 F.3d 1233, 1239 (10th Cir. 2015). The “time-of-filing” rule requires a determination of “the jurisdictional facts as they are when the complaint is filed, not as they might be upon final judgment.” Symes v. Harris, 472 F.3d 754, 758 (10th Cir. 2006). Accordingly, in determining whether a court has diversity jurisdiction, the court must evaluate whether the parties were diverse at the time the complaint was filed. Id.

         Similarly, the amount in controversy requirement is determined at the time the complaint is filed.” Watson v. Blankenship, 20 F.3d 383, 386 (10th Cir. 1994) (emphasis added).

         At the time of the filing of the Complaint, Plaintiffs and Defendant were citizens of different states.

         In the Complaint, which was filed November 16, 2015, Plaintiff (and former co-Plaintiff, Mr. Fowler) alleged that they were citizens of New Mexico. [Doc. 1-1] at 1. However, on August 9, 2017, on inquiry by the Court, Plaintiff's counsel retracted that assertion. [Doc. 133] at 1. Plaintiff's counsel alleged that at the time of the underlying accident and currently, Plaintiff Smith and his former co-Plaintiff Fowler were citizens of Illinois. Id.; Audio Recording of Status Conference held on August 9, 2017, Picacho Courtroom at 9:33-34.

         As to Defendant, in its Notice of Removal [Doc. 1], filed on December 18, 2015, Defendant alleged that it was a citizen of Michigan. At the Pretrial Conference held on February 7, 2018, defense counsel maintained that Defendant was a citizen of Michigan and submitted documentation establishing its state of incorporation as Michigan and its principal place of business in Lansing, Michigan. See Ex. 1, attached hereto.

         Based on clear and convincing evidence, the Court finds that, at the time of the filing of the Complaint, Defendant was a citizen of Michigan. See § 1332(c) (A corporation is deemed to be a citizen of the state in which it is incorporated and in which it maintains its principal place of business). The Court further finds that, at the time of the filing of the Complaint, neither Plaintiff was a citizen of Michigan. At the relevant time period, therefore, the parties were diverse.

         In his Motion to Remand, Plaintiff makes two arguments regarding Defendant's citizenship. Neither argument is meritorious. First, Plaintiff argues that Defendant is a citizen “of every state.” [Doc. 159] at 5. He bases his argument on the second half of § 1332(c)(1), which reads:

(c) For the purposes of this section and section 1441 of this title-
(1) a corporation shall be deemed to be a citizen of every State and foreign state by which it has been incorporated and of the State or foreign state where it has its principal place of business, except that in any direct action against the insurer of a policy or contract of liability insurance, whether incorporated or unincorporated, to which action the insured is not joined as a party-defendant, such insurer shall be deemed a citizen of-
(A) every State and foreign state of which the insured is a citizen;
(B) every State and foreign state by which the insurer has been ...

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.