United States District Court, D. Connecticut
SHEIKH P. MEHEDI, Plaintiff,
MEMRY CORPORATION, Defendant.
ORDER ON SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION AND MOTION TO
INTERVENE BY ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY OF ILLINOIS
CHARLES S. HAIGHT, JR., Senior United States District Judge
Sheikh P. Mehedi commenced 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. At that time, Plaintiff was "an employee of a
temporary employment staffing agency known as Premier
Staffing Services of New York, Inc., " which was located
at 340 Glen Street, Suite 401, White Plains, New York 10603.
Doc. 1, ¶ 7. Premier had assigned Plaintiff to the
machine operator position at Memry's facility in Bethel,
Connecticut. Id., ¶ 8.
Complaint, Plaintiff based this Court's subject matter
jurisdiction solely upon "diversity of citizenship"
under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). Doc. 1, ¶ 5. However,
because Plaintiff's jurisdictional allegations were
insufficient for this case to proceed in federal court, the
Court ordered the parties to submit affidavits to establish
their citizenship for diversity purposes. See Mehedi v.
Memry Corp., No. 3:17-CV-809 (CSH), 2017 WL 2485377, at
*1 (D. Conn. June 8, 2017). The Court also ordered Plaintiff
to declare, and provide facts to support, that his damages
meet the requisite jurisdictional amount, exceeding the sum
or value of $75, 000, "exclusive of interest and costs,
" 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). The parties have filed
the requisite affidavits so that, as set forth below, the
Court may make its determination regarding subject matter
since the Court's prior Order, Zurich American Insurance
Company Of Illinois ("Zurich"), as subrogee of
Premier Staffing Services of New York, Inc., has filed a
motion to intervene as co-plaintiff in this action. Doc. 10.
The Court will examine the motion to intervene and its
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Court has reviewed the affidavits of Plaintiff Mehedi and
Defendant Memry [Doc. 8 & 11] with respect to citizenship
and has determined that the Court has "diversity of
citizenship" subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a). Specifically, the action is between
"citizens of different states" and the amount in
controversy "exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs." 28 U.S.C. §
respect to citizenship, individual Plaintiff Mehedi has
established through his affidavit that on "May 17, 2017,
the date this action was commenced, " he was domiciled
at "8069 88thAvenue, Woodhaven, New
York." Doc. 8-1, ¶ 3. An individual's
citizenship for diversity purposes is determined by his or
her domicile. See, e.g., Palazzo ex rel. Delmage v.
Corio, 232 F.3d 38, 42 (2d Cir. 2000); John Birch
Soc. v. Nat'l Broad. Co., 377 F.2d 194, 199 (2d Cir.
1967). Plaintiff is thus a citizen of New York.
the citizenship of Defendant Memry Corporation, 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."
Memry has proven by affidavit of its Vice President
Controller, John Schosser, that it is a citizen of Delaware
and Connecticut. Specifically, Memry was "only
incorporated by the state of Delaware" and has its
principal place of business "located at 3 Berkshire
Boulevard in Bethel[, ] Connecticut." Doc. 11,
¶¶ 3-4. Plaintiff Mehedi's citizenship (New
York) is therefore diverse from that of Defendant Memry
(Delaware and Connecticut).
with respect to damages, "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." Tongkook Am., Inc. v. Shipton Sportswear
Co., 14 F.3d 781, 784 (2d Cir. 1994). In his affidavit,
Plaintiff has provided sufficient facts to establish that the
amount in controversy meets the jurisdictional minimum,
exceeding "$75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs,
" 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
particular, Plaintiff has testified by affidavit that
"[a]s a result of the subject injuries which [he]
sustained on July 7, 2015": he was "required to
undergo two surgical procedures, as well as extensive
physical rehabilitation and therapy;" he has incurred
over $18, 000 in medical expenses; he has lost approximately
$28, 000 in wages due to his "inability to work;"
upon injury, he sustained "58.5% permanent partial
impairment to [his] left index finger" so he has lost
the ability to play the guitar and the flute, which were two
of his avocations prior to his injury; he now has
difficulties typing and/or using a computer keyboard with his
left index finger (which may impair his earning capacity
because his "educational background is in computer
science"); he has been advised by physicians that
further surgery "may only marginally improve [his] range
of motion" in his left index finger and will not help
with the "constant, significant, and at times,
debilitating pain" he experiences from his
injuries." Doc. 8-1, ¶¶ 5-8. In light of
these alleged facts, Plaintiff has amply supported his
submission that his "economic and non-economic damages
due to the permanent injuries [he] sustained on July 7, 2015,
exclusive of interest and costs, are well in excess of the
jurisdictional threshold amount of . . . $75, 000."
Id., ¶ 9.
is a rebuttable presumption that the Plaintiff's alleged
amount in controversy is a "good faith
representation" of that amount. Wolde Meskel v.
Vocational Instruction Project Cmty. Servs., Inc., 166
F.3d 59, 63 (2d Cir. 1999) (citing Tongkook, 14 F.3d
at 785-86) ("If the right of recovery is uncertain, the
doubt should be resolved . . . in favor of the subjective
good faith of the plaintiff."). Accordingly, based on
Plaintiff's testimony in his affidavit regarding his
injuries, the Court finds that the jurisdictional amount in
controversy has been met.
carefully reviewed the contents of the parties'
affidavits, the Court concludes that it has "diversity
of citizenship" jurisdiction. Pending before the Court,
however, is Zurich's motion to intervene, which the Court
must resolve before determining whether the action may
proceed - i.e., whether Zurich must or may intervene
as co-plaintiff; and whether, in either event, its entry in
the action would destroy "diversity of citizenship"
subject matter jurisdiction. The Court now turns to that
Motion to Intervene
23, 2017, Zurich American Insurance Company of Illinois, as
subrogee of Premier Staffing Services of New York, Inc.,
filed a motion to intervene in this action as co-plaintiff.
Doc. 10. Zurich asserts that it may intervene pursuant to
Connecticut General Statutes § 31-293(a), which
authorizes an employer to intervene in the employee's
action against a third-party tortfeasor within thirty (30)
days of receiving notification of such action. See
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-293(a) ("[A]ny employer or
the custodian of the Second Injury Fund, having paid, or
having become obligated to pay, [workers'] compensation
under the provisions of this chapter may bring an action
against such person to recover any amount that he has paid or
has become obligated to pay as compensation to the injured
Connecticut law, although the insurance carrier of the
employer is not specifically covered by § 31-293, that
insurer may bring an action against the third-party
tortfeasor as the employer's subrogee under the common
law. See Pac. Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Champion Steel, LLC,
323 Conn. 254, 266 (2016) ("Our conclusion that a
workers' compensation insurer may maintain a common-law
equitable subrogation action against a third-party tortfeasor
who is liable for injuries sustained by an employee is also
supported by public policy. . . . [A]llowing insurers to
bring such actions serves the public policy of containing the
cost of workers' compensation insurance.") (citing
Quire v. Stamford, 231 Conn. 370, 375 (1994) (§
31-293[a] implements public policy of containing cost of
workers' compensation insurance)).
motion, Zurich represents that Mehedi's alleged injuries
in this action "arose out of and in the course of his
employment [by Premier, while on assignment as a
"machine operator" to Memry] and the employment was
in the scope of Connecticut's Workers' Compensation
Act." Doc. 10-1, ¶ 1. Due to the injuries for which
Mehedi seeks recovery in this action, Zurich "has paid
and become obligated to pay large sums to and on behalf of
Mehedi under the Connecticut Workers' Compensation
Act." Id., ¶ 2. Zurich
"claims that any damages recovered in said action shall
be so paid and apportioned so that it will be reimbursed the
amount it has paid and may become obligated to pay under the
Connecticut Workers' Compensation Act, and a credit made
toward any proceeds which Mehedi may receiver [sic] against
any future benefits." Id., ¶ 3. See
also Doc. 10-1, ¶ 7. Finally, Zurich states that,
"pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-293, [it] was
duly notified of the bringing of this action, and hereby
intervenes within thirty days thereof." Doc. 10, ¶
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