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DRAKE v. LABORATORY CORPORATION OF AMERICA HOLDINGS

United States District Court, E.D. New York


June 4, 2004.

RICHARD W. DRAKE, Plaintiff,
v.
LABORATORY CORPORATION OF AMERICA HOLDINGS, KEVIN WILSON, NORTHWEST TOXICOLOGY, INC., DAVID J. KUNTZ, ELSOHLY LABORATORIES, INC., DR. WILLIAM H. WHALEY, and WEST PACES FERRY MEDICAL CLINIC, Defendants.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: FREDERIC BLOCK, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

As stated at the status conference on June 2, 2004, the parties are directed to collectively submit evidence, within two weeks from the date of this Order, to support a finding that the Court has diversity jurisdiction over this action. In doing so, the parties are reminded that under federal diversity jurisdiction, the court has jurisdiction over "all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between [inter alia] citizens of different states." 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). Moreover, "diversity jurisdiction is available only when all adverse parties to a litigation are completely diverse in their citizenships." Herrick Co., Inc. V. SCS Communications, Inc., 251 F.3d 315, 322 (2d Cir. 2001).

  Jurisdiction and its factual basis — i.e. the amount in controversy and the citizenship of the parties — is assessed "as of the moment the complaint was filed," E.R. Squibb & Sons, Inc. v. Lloyd's & Co., 241 F.3d 154, 163 (2d Cir. 2001), even if a complaint is later amended to assert diversity jurisdiction. See Le Blanc v. Cleveland, 248 F.3d 95, 99-100 (2d Cir. 2001) ("an amendment to allege diversity jurisdiction relates back under Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and therefore we assess [plaintiff's] citizenship at the time the complaint was first filed"). "Federal jurisdiction is not defeated if one party, subsequent to the filing of a complaint, becomes a citizen of the same state as his opponent." E.R. Squibb & Sons, 241 F.3d at 163-64. See also Le Blanc, 248 F.3d at 100 ("that [plaintiff] has become a citizen of New York for diversity purposes since filing this lawsuit does not destroy diversity jurisdiction; her status at the time she filed her complaint is controlling"). Thus, the citizenship of each party will be based upon citizenship at the time the complaint was filed.

  With regard to corporate citizenship, the parties are reminded that a corporation is "deemed to be a citizen of any State by which it has been incorporated and of the State where it has its principal place of business." 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1). The "principal place of business prong does not replace the citizenship of the state of incorporation; it merely adds another state of citizenship — either of which could destroy diversity," Grunblatt v. Unumprovident Corp., 270 F. Supp.2d 347, 351 (E.D.N.Y. 2003) (emphasis added); therefore, the Court must be satisfied that the corporate defendants are not incorporated nor have their principal place of business in the same state in which plaintiff was a citizen, at the time the action was filed.

 

SO ORDERED.
20040604

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