United States District Court, D. Connecticut
SHEIKH P. MEHEDI, Plaintiff,
MEMRY CORPORATION, Defendant.
ORDER REGARDING SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
CHARLES S. HAIGHT, JR. Senior United States District Judge.
Sheikh P. Mehedi brings this action to recover damages for
physical injuries he allegedly sustained to his left index
finger while he was working on a "wire draw
machine" during his assignment as a temporary employee
for Defendant Memry Corporation ("Memry") on July
7, 2015. In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that
this Court has "diversity of citizenship" subject
matter jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a)(1). Doc. 1, ¶ 5. However, as set forth below,
Plaintiff's jurisdictional allegations are insufficient
for this case to proceed in federal court. Accordingly,
additional submissions will be required to determine whether
there is subject matter jurisdiction.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction under
Article III, Section 2, of the United States Constitution.
See, e.g., Chicot Cnty. Drainage Dist. Baxter State
Bank, 308 U.S. 371, 376 (1940), reh'g
denied, 309 U.S. 695 (1940). The question of subject
matter jurisdiction is fundamental so that a court must raise
the issue sua sponte, of its own accord, when the
issue is not addressed by the parties. Mansfield, C.
& L.M. Ry. Co. v. Swan, 111 U.S. 379, 382 (1884).
See also Joseph v. Leavitt, 465 F.3d 87, 89 (2d Cir.
2006) ("Although neither party has suggested that we
lack appellate jurisdiction, we have an independent
obligation to consider the presence or absence of subject
matter jurisdiction sua sponte."), cert.
denied, 549 U.S. 1282 (2007); Univ. of S. Alabama v.
Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir. 1999)
("[I]t is well settled that a federal court is obligated
to inquire into subject matter jurisdiction sua
sponte whenever it may be lacking").
general, a federal district court may exercise subject matter
jurisdiction over an action only if there is either: (1)
"federal question" jurisdiction, applicable to
"all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws,
or treaties of the United States, " 28 U.S.C. §
1331; or (2) there exists "diversity of citizenship,
" complete diversity of citizenship between the
plaintiff and all defendants and the amount in controversy
exceeds "the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of
interest and costs, " 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).
See also Strawbridge v. Curtiss, 7 U.S. 267, 267-68
(1806); Da Silva v. Kinsho Int'l Corp., 229 F.3d
358, 363 (2d Cir. 2000) (delineating two categories of
subject matter jurisdiction).
personal jurisdiction, "failure of subject matter
jurisdiction is not waivable." Lyndonville Sav. Bank
& Trust Co. v. Lussier, 211 F.3d 697, 700 (2d Cir.
2000). If subject matter jurisdiction is lacking, the action
must be dismissed. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3);
Lyndonville, 211 F.3d at 700-01. See also, e.g.,
Cortlandt St. Recovery Corp. v. Hellas Telecomms.,
S.À.R.L., 790 F.3d 411, 416-17 (2d Cir. 2015)
("A district court properly dismisses an action . . .
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction if the court lacks
the statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate it . . .
.") (quoting Makarova v. United States, 201
F.3d 110, 113 (2d Cir. 2000)); Manway Constr. Co. v.
Housing Auth. of Hartford, 711 F.2d 501, 503 (2d Cir.
1983) ("It is common ground that in our federal system
of limited jurisdiction any party or the court sua
sponte, at any stage of the proceedings, may raise the
question of whether the court has subject matter
jurisdiction; and, if it does not, dismissal is
case at bar, there appears to be no basis for the Court to
exercise "federal question" jurisdiction -
i.e., no claim arising under the Constitution or
federal law. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Plaintiff's only claim is a state law negligence claim,
based on "the negligence of Memry and/or Memry's
agents or employees." Doc. 1, ¶ 15. Consequently,
Plaintiff's sole asserted jurisdictional basis is
"diversity of citizenship." Id., ¶ 5.
order for diversity of citizenship to exist, each
plaintiff's citizenship must be diverse from that of all
defendants. See, e.g., St. Paul Fire &
Marine Ins. Co. v. Universal Builders Supply, 409 F.3d
73, 80 (2d Cir. 2005) ("Diversity is not complete if any
plaintiff is a citizen of the same state as any
defendant.") (citing Owen Equip. & Erection Co.
v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 373-74 (1978)). Moreover,
"diversity must exist at the time the action is
commenced." Universal Licensing Corp. v. Lungo,
293 F.3d 579, 581 (2d Cir. 2002). See also Wolde-Meskel
v. Vocational Instruction Project Cmty. Servs., Inc.,
166 F.3d 59, 62 (2d Cir.1999) ("Satisfaction of the
§ 1332(a) diversity requirements (amount in controversy
and citizenship) is determined as of the date that suit is
filed - the 'time-of-filing' rule.").
addition, to invoke "diversity of citizenship"
jurisdiction, there must be a minimum amount in controversy
exceeding "$75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs,
" 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). The burden is on the
plaintiff to allege in good faith that he sustained the
mandatory minimum in damages. See, e.g., Scherer
v. Equitable Life Assurance Soc'y of U.S., 347 F.3d
394, 397 (2d Cir. 2003) ("A party invoking the
jurisdiction of the federal court has the burden of proving
that it appears to a 'reasonable probability' that
the claim is in excess of the statutory jurisdictional
amount.") (quoting Tongkook Am., Inc. v. Shipton
Sportswear Co., 14 F.3d 781, 784 (2d Cir.1994)). The
amount in controversy must "appear on the face of the
complaint or be established by proof." Miller v.
European Am. Bank, 921 F.Supp. 1162, 1167 (S.D.N.Y.
Citizenship of the Parties
examining the Complaint, Plaintiff's factual allegations
regarding his citizenship for diversity purposes are
insufficient. In paragraph one, Plaintiff states that he is
"a resident of the State of New York."
Doc. 1, ¶ 1 (emphasis added). However, an
individual's citizenship for diversity purposes is
determined by his or her domicile, as opposed to
residence. See Palazzo ex rel. Delmage v. Corio, 232
F.3d 38, 42 (2d Cir. 2000). See also John Birch Soc. v.
Nat'l Broad. Co., 377 F.2d 194, 199 (2d Cir. 1967)
("[I]t has long been held that a statement of residence,
unlike domicile, tells the court only where the parties are
living and not of which state they are citizens.").
"In general, the domicile of an individual is his true,
fixed and permanent home and place of habitation" -
i.e, "the place to which, whenever he is
absent, he has the intention of returning." Martinez
v. Bynum, 461 U.S. 321, 331 (1983) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted).
as to the citizenship of Defendant, Plaintiff alleges that
Memry "is a corporation organized and existing and
incorporated in and under the laws of the State of Delaware
with its headquarters and operations in Bethel,
Connecticut." Doc. 1, ¶ 3. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(c)(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." Therefore, if
Memry is a corporation, it is a citizen of each state in
which it has been incorporated, as well as the state where
its "principal place of business" is located. Under
the allegations contained in the Complaint, Memry appears to
be a citizen of Delaware ...