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.

Shao v. Beta Pharma, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 27, 2017

SHANSHAN SHAO, HONGLIANG CHU, QIAN LIU, SONG LU, AND XINSHAN KANG, Plaintiffs,
v.
BETA PHARMA, INC., AND DON ZHANG, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION HAIGHT, Senior District Judge:

          CHARLES S. HAIGHT, JR. Senior United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         In this Memorandum and Order, the Court performs a task the Second Circuit lays upon the judiciary in Wight v. BankAmerica Corp., 219 F.3d 79, 90 (2d Cir. 2000): "Irrespective of how the parties conduct their case, the courts have an independent obligation to ensure that federal jurisdiction is not extended beyond its proper limits."

         That obligation arises in the captioned case, a civil action alleging claims for breach of contract and tort, which the five Plaintiffs filed in the Connecticut Superior Court, Judicial District of New Haven, and the two Defendants thereafter removed to this Court. The sole basis for removal identified by Defendants was complete diversity of citizenship between the parties, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).

         This case presents circumstances which require the Court to conduct an inquiry to ensure that the proper limits of diversity jurisdiction have not been exceeded. If they have been exceeded, the case will be remanded to State court. If complete diversity is sufficiently alleged and clearly present, the case will go forward in this Court.

         II. BACKGROUND

         There are three motions pending sub judice in this action. Decision will be stayed awaiting further Order because the Court raises sua sponte the question whether complete diversity of citizenship exists in the case. That is the only basis asserted by Defendants for their removal of the case from the Connecticut state court where Plaintiffs filed it ("the State Action").

         The circumstances giving rise to the Court's inquiry are as follows. According to the State Action complaint, the five individual Plaintiffs are investors in a "privately owned organization" (Plaintiffs' phrase) under the laws of the People's Republic of China called Zhejiang Beta Pharma Co., Ltd. ("Zhejiang" or "ZBP"). ZBP is affiliated with the corporate Defendant in this case, Beta Pharma, Inc. ("Beta" or "BP"). The individual Defendant, Don Zhang, is alleged to be the majority stockholder and president of BP, and the vice-president and a director of ZBP. Plaintiffs assert claims for breach of contract and tort against both Defendants.

         According to Defendants' Notice of Removal to this Court [Doc. 1], after Plaintiffs served Defendants with copies of the summons and complaint on July 14, 2014, Plaintiffs filed their complaint in the Connecticut Superior Court, Judicial District of New Haven, commencing the State Action on July 25, 2014. The complaint, included as Exhibit A to Doc. 1 [Doc. 1-1] and dated July 10, 2014, was signed four days before service of copies was made on Defendants, on July 14, 2014. The case docket in the Connecticut state action indicates that the complaint was filed with the summons and return of service on July 25, 2014, officially commencing the State Action.[1] Removal by Defendants to this federal court on August 13, 2014, was timely under 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b) in that it was filed within 30 days after Defendants were served on July 14, 2014.[2]

         III. DISCUSSION

         As stated supra, Defendants' Notice of Removal indicates that the sole basis for this Court's subject matter jurisdiction is "diversity of citizenship" pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Doc. 1, at 2.

         Pursuant to Article III of the Constitution, a federal court may only exercise subject matter jurisdiction where either: (1) the plaintiff sets forth a colorable claim arising under the Constitution or federal statute, creating "federal question" jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331; or (2) there is complete diversity of citizenship between all plaintiffs and all defendants and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).[3] Upon review of the complaint, it appears that the only potential basis for subject matter jurisdiction is diversity of citizenship, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Specifically, the only claims included are state law causes of action (i.e., breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty). There are no claims arising pursuant to federal statute or the United States Constitution.

         With respect to diversity, Defendants' Notice of Removal alleges that as to each of the first two Plaintiffs (Shanshan Shao and Hongliang Chu), he "is a resident of Connecticut." The summons in the State Action recites the street address of "247 Lookout Road, New Milford, CT 06460" as the current address for both Shao and Chu. The Notice of Removal alleges that Plaintiff Qian Liu is "a resident of Kirkland, Quebec, Canada"; the summons recites a street address of "3 Place Dubonnet, Kirkland, QC, Canada." The Notice of Removal alleges that Plaintiff Song Lu is "a resident of Beijing, People's Republic of China"; the summons recites a street address in Beijing. The Notice of Removal alleges that Plaintiff Kinshan Kang is "a resident of Fuzhou, People's Republic of China"; the summons recites a street address in Fuzhou. The pleadings do not contain any allegation or representation of the citizenship of any of these five individual Plaintiffs.

         As for Defendant Beta Pharma, the summons in the State Action, served on July 14, 2014, recites a street address of "5 Vaughn Drive, Suite 106, Princeton, N.J. 08540 c/o Secretary of State, 30 Trinity Street, Hartford CT 06106." The State Action complaint, filed 11 days later on July 25, 2014, alleges at ¶ 1 that Beta Pharma "is a privately owned Delaware corporation with a principal place of business in Branford, Connecticut." The Notice of Removal, filed on August 13, 2014, alleges that Beta Pharma "formerly had a principal place of business in Connecticut, but moved its principal place of business to New Jersey in January 2013, before the filing of the Removed Action." The pleadings contain no allegation or representation of the state(s) of incorporation of ...


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.