The opinion of the court was delivered by: William C. Conner, Senior District Judge.
In these diversity actions, plaintiffs seek damages for
personal injuries allegedly sustained as a result of drinking
contaminated water while staying at a hotel in Bermuda. Presently
before the Court is defendants' motion to dismiss the respective
Complaints pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. In the alternative, defendants move to
dismiss on the ground of forum non conveniens. For the reasons
discussed below, defendants' motion is granted.
Defendant Marriott International Services, Ltd. ("Marriott
Services"),*fn2 is a corporation organized and existing under
the laws of Bermuda, with its principal place of business in
Bermuda Properties Limited ("Bermuda Properties"), a Bermuda
corporation not named as a defendant herein, owns the Hotel
buildings and land upon which the Hotel is situated.*fn5
Defendant Marriott International, Inc. ("Marriott
International"), is a corporation organized and existing under
the laws of the State of Delaware. Marriott Services is a wholly
owned subsidiary of Marriott International. See Conklin Aff. ¶ 6.
Plaintiffs Jeffrey D. Klein, M.D., Barbi Blaire Klein,
Alexander Bennett Klein, Ian Daniel Klein,*fn6 Barbara Blumberg,
Murrey Targownik, Frank Brookfield, Eleanor Brookfield and
Michelle Brookfield are residents and citizens of the State of
New York, and were such at all times relevant to their
Plaintiffs David Whitaker and Mary Lou Whitaker are residents
and citizens of the State of New Jersey, and were such at all
times relevant to their Complaint.
All plaintiffs were guests of the Hotel for different periods
of time between February 14, 1998 and February 23, 1998.
Plaintiffs claim that during their stay at the Hotel, they
ingested contaminated water and became ill as a result. All
Complaints allege that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because there is a diversity of
citizenship between plaintiffs and defendants and the amounts in
controversy exceed $75,000.00 exclusive of interest and costs.
Defendants now move to dismiss these actions for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction on the ground that the amounts in
controversy do not exceed $75,000, or, in the alternative,
pursuant to the doctrine of forum non conveniens.
Plaintiffs invoke this Court's diversity jurisdiction under
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(3), which provides original jurisdiction over
civil actions where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000,
and are between "citizens of different States and in which
citizens or subjects of a foreign state are additional parties."
The diversity statute must be strictly construed. See Matimak
Trading Co. v. Khalily, 118 F.3d 76, 87 (2d Cir. 1997), cert.
denied, ___ U.S. ___, 118 S.Ct. 883, 139 L.Ed.2d 871 (1998).
Further, when plaintiffs sue more than one defendant in a
diversity action, the plaintiffs must meet the requirements of
the diversity statute for each defendant or face dismissal. See
Strawbridge v. Curtiss, 7 U.S. (3 Cranch) 267, 2 L.Ed. 435
(1806). Therefore, if a putative U.S. citizen joined as a
defendant with foreign defendants pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(3) is proven to be "stateless," complete diversity is
destroyed and the Court must either dismiss the case in its
entirety, or dismiss only the nondiverse party if he is
dispensable and his dismissal would preserve the court's
diversity jurisdiction. See Newman-Green, Inc. v.
Alfonzo-Larrain, 490 U.S. 826, 109 S.Ct. 2218, 104 L.Ed.2d 893
(1989). The same action would be required if the U.S. citizen met
the diversity requirement, but the foreign defendants proved not
to qualify as "citizens or subjects of a foreign state" within
the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(3).*fn7