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DRAKE v. LABORATORY CORPORATION OF AMERICA HOLDINGS
June 4, 2004.
RICHARD W. DRAKE, Plaintiff,
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
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.
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