United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER REGARDING SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
CHARLES S. HAIGHT, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
AT&T Corp. ("AT&T") brings this action
against Defendant From You Flowers, LLC ("From You
Flowers"), asserting that Defendant has failed to pay
for services provided by AT&T in the amount of $154,
300.73, in breach of the Master Agreement and other contracts
entered between the parties. Doc. 1 ("Compl.")
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that this Court has subject
matter jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship under
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(2). Compl. ¶ 3. That statutory
provision states that "[t]he district courts shall have
original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter
in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs, and is between - . . .
citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a foreign
state, except that the district courts shall not have
original jurisdiction under this subsection of an action
between citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a
foreign state who are lawfully admitted for permanent
residence in the United States and are domiciled in the same
State." 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(2) (2016).
the Complaint, however, the Court finds that the Plaintiff
has failed to allege sufficient facts from which this Court
may determine the citizenship of the parties for purposes of
diversity of citizenship jurisdiction. Therefore, as set
forth infra, the Court must ascertain whether
subject matter jurisdiction exists or this case should be
dismissed for lack thereof. It thus follows that Plaintiff
must make additional submissions so the Court may consider
the existence vel non of its subject matter
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.
v. 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
(2016); 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) (2016). 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),
Lussier, 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
order for diversity of citizenship to exist, the
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, such
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 Comm. 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'
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 (2016). Plaintiff has brought state law claims of breach
of contract and quantum meruit. Compl. ¶¶ 12-23.
Consequently, Plaintiff's sole asserted jurisdictional
basis is "diversity of citizenship." Id.
¶ 3. Plaintiff declares that AT&T "is a
corporation organized and existing under the laws of New
York. Its principal place of business is located at One
AT&T Way, Bedminster, New Jersey 07921."
Id. ¶ 1. As for From You Flowers, it is a
"foreign limited liability company registered to do
business in Connecticut with its registered business address
located at 143 Mill Road East, Old Saybrook, Middlesex
County, Connecticut 06475." Id. ¶ 2.
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) (2016). The burden is
on the plaintiff to allege in good faith that it sustained
the mandatory minimum in damages. See,
e.g., Scherer v. Equitable Life Assurance
Soc'y of the United States, 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. 1996).