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Smith v. Wilson

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 5, 2018

DWIGHT SMITH, LAURA WNUK, AND JOANNA MROZEK, Plaintiffs,
v.
DAVID WILSON, RUSHICK “IKE” CHIN, DERRICK CHIN, AMANDA BASDEO, WILSON BAIL BOND, LLC, AND RIO NUEVO VILLAGE Defendants.

          RULING AND ORDER

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Dwight Smith, Joanna Mrozek, and Laura Wnuk (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) have sued David Wilson, Rushike (“Ike”) Chin, Derrick Chin, Amanda Basdeo, Wilson Bail Bond LLC, and Rio Neuvo Village (collectively, “Defendants”) for breach of contract, common law fraud, and civil conspiracy. Am. Compl. at 3-4, ECF No. 80.

         Plaintiffs have moved for an Order authorizing alternative service on Defendants that Plaintiffs not yet successfully served: Amanda Basdeo and Rio Neuvo Village. ECF Nos. 100, 101, 123. Plaintiffs have also filed a number of motions relating to discovery disputes. ECF Nos. 116-122, 124.

         After reviewing these filings, a threshold issue of subject-matter jurisdiction became apparent: whether complete diversity existed in this case. See ECF No. 125. The Court directed the parties to file briefs addressing the Court's jurisdiction over the lawsuit. Id. Plaintiffs filed a response on February 9, 2018. ECF No. 132. Ike Chin and David Wilson each filed a response on February 21, 2018. ECF Nos. 133, 134. On February 26, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint against Derrick Chin. ECF No. 135.

         For the reasons discussed below, the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction because the parties are not completely diverse. The case therefore is DISMISSED, and Plaintiffs' pending motions are DISMISSED as moot.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. The Parties

         Dwight Smith, Joanna Mrozek, and Laura Wnuk are all citizens of Connecticut. Am. Compl. at 3-4.

         David Wilson resides in Jamaica and has a Bridgeport, Connecticut mailing address. Id. at 3. Plaintiffs allege that he is a co-owner and tenant in common of the land at issue in this lawsuit: Lot D, Spring Valley, Saint Mary, Jamaica. Id. He also is allegedly the part-owner and manager of Rio Nuevo Village. Id.

         Ike Chin resides in Easton, Connecticut, and is allegedly a business partner in Rio Nuevo Village. Id. Ike's brother, Derrick Chin, resides in Torington, Connecticut, and also is allegedly a business partner in Rio Nuevo Village. Id. at 3-4. David Wilson is allegedly the cousin of Ike and Derrick Chin, and all three are allegedly business partners. Id. at 9-10. Ike and Derrick are allegedly investors/owners in David's commercial property development enterprise in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, Jamaica. Id.

         Amanda Basdeo resides in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and is the Museum Curator at Rio Nuevo Village Great House Museum. Id. at 4.

         Wilson Bail Bond LLC is a business located in Easton, Connecticut. Id.

         Rio Nuevo Village is a business located at Lot D, Spring Valley, Saint Mary, Jamaica. Id.

         B. Factual Allegations

         In July 2011, Ike Chin allegedly approached Ms. Mrozek with an investment opportunity: she could purchase a two- or three-acre parcel of beachfront property at a discounted price in Jamaica. Id. at 4. Ike Chin allegedly told Ms. Mrozek that his business partner and cousin, David Wilson, had a right of first refusal on the property that would soon expire. Id. at 5. The land would be adjacent to David Wilson's 26.75 acre property in Jamaica known as Rio Nuevo Village. Id.

         Plaintiffs claim that they spoke to Ike Chin about the opportunity over the phone on July 27, 2011, and spoke to David Wilson about the opportunity in August 2011. Id. at 4-5. They allegedly “entered into verbal and written agreements that plaintiffs were to receive, as collateral for their $60, 000, a land title for two (2) acres of defendant David Wilson's currently held 26.75 acre land in Jamaica.” Id. at 5.

         On August 15, 2011, Plaintiffs allegedly met with Ike Chin at their house and signed a “Real Estate and Business Contract.” Id. at 5. The contract allegedly represented “the ‘buyers' as (among others) plaintiffs Dwight Smith, Laura Wnuk and Joanna Mrozek, ” and the “‘sellers' as Ike Chin, David Wilson and Derrick Chin.” Id. Plaintiffs claim that, on that day, Ike “informed plaintiffs of his failure to forward the plaintiffs['] $60, 000 to defendant David Wilson within the requisite time required and, thus, the opportunities for the discussed ‘right of first refusal' were forfeited.” Id. at 5-6.

         Plaintiffs also claim that, on August 17 or 18, 2011, they discussed the forfeited right of first refusal with David Wilson, and discussed the possibility of purchasing the land at an auction scheduled for August 28, 2011. Id. at 6. Mr. Wilson allegedly ...


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