The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHARD CASEY, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Calvin Glasford and Evelyn Roman ("Plaintiffs") move to remand
this case to state court on the ground that the Court lacks
diversity jurisdiction.*fn1 For the reasons stated below,
Plaintiffs' motion is DENIED.
On June 29, 2003, Plaintiffs were involved in a car accident in
Westchester County, New York. (Complaint [Compl.] ¶ 19.) Grant
Schreier operated the car that hit them; with him was his father,
Andrew Schreier. (Id.) The car was leased to Andrew Schreier
and is owned by Saab Leasing Co. (Id.)
On September 4, 2003, Plaintiffs sued Andrew Schreier and Grant
Schreier (collectively, "Defendants") in New York State Supreme
Court, Bronx County, claiming that each sustained one million
dollars in injuries. (Id. ¶¶ 24, 30.) Both Plaintiffs were
domiciled in New York when they commenced this suit. (Id. ¶ 1.) Defendants timely filed a Notice of Removal pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1441 and 1446. The removal notice declared that
Defendants were citizens of Florida on the date the Complaint was
filed and thus the Court possessed diversity jurisdiction.
Plaintiffs move to remand, contesting Defendants' assertion that
they were domiciled in Florida on that date.
It is undisputed that at the time of the accident, Defendants
resided and were domiciled in Westchester County, New York.
However, on September 1, 2003, Defendant Andrew Schreier moved
from New York to Florida and began working at his
brother-in-law's investment company the following day. (Affidavit
of Andrew M. Schreier [A. Schreier Aff.] ¶ 3.) On September 3,
2003, Andrew Schreier sold his Scarsdale, New York home; one day
later, he closed on a Florida condominium and began living there.
(Id. ¶¶ 4-5.)
At least two months before Plaintiffs brought this action,
Andrew Schreier began to finalize personal and business affairs
in New York in anticipation of the move. For example, he resigned
from his New York law firm and shipped his office furniture to
Florida. (Id.) In the spring of 2003, Mr. Schreier purchased an
apartment in Manhattan, where he planned to stay during visits to
New York. (Id. ¶ 21.) In June 2003, he advised the New York
State Office of Court Administration that he would no longer be
practicing law at his New York firm and ended his membership in a
New York synagogue, where he had been a member for more than
thirty years. (Id. ¶¶ 10-11.) Andrew Schreier also notified
both the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic that he
would not be renewing his subscriptions, which had been in his
family for several years. (Id. ¶¶ 11, 14, 15.) During the
summer of 2003, he notified the Florida bar of his Florida
address. (Id. ¶ 17.)
Andrew Schreier's son and co-defendant, Grant Schreier, is an
undergraduate student at New York University. He lives in
university housing in New York. (Affidavit of Grant Schreier [G. Schreier Aff.] ¶ 2.)
The district courts have original jurisdiction over all civil
actions when the amount in controversy exceeds the sum of or
value of $75,000 and involves a dispute between citizens of
different states.*fn2 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Complete
diversity of the parties must be shown to sustain federal
jurisdiction. See Herrick Co. v. SCS Communication, Inc.,
251 F.3d 315, 322 (2d Cir. 2001).
For purposes of diversity, a party's citizenship is determined
by his place of domicile. See Willis v. Westin Hotel Co.,
651 F. Supp. 598, 601 (S.D.N.Y. 1986). Generally, a person's domicile
is the place of "his true, fixed, and permanent home and
principal establishment, and to which, whenever he is absent, he
has the intention of returning." Vitro v. Town of Carmel,
433 F. Supp. 1110, 1112 (S.D.N.Y. 1977). The elements needed to
establish domicile are: (1) residence in fact and (2) intent to
remain indefinitely. Everett v. Brief, No. 82 Civ. 3153, 1985
WL 3563 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 1, 1985). A person must be a domiciliary
of one state but may have more than one residence. See
Hamilton v. Accu-tek, 13 F. Supp.2d 366, 369 (E.D.N.Y. 1998).
For purposes of diversity jurisdiction, a court looks to a
party's domicile on the date the complaint was filed. See
Spanos v. Skouras Theatres Corp., 364 F.2d 161, 163 (2d Cir.
1966). Accordingly, whether the Court possesses jurisdiction in
this case depends on whether Defendants were domiciled in New York or Florida at the time the lawsuit was
filed. As the parties seeking to invoke federal jurisdiction by
asserting a change in domicile, Defendants have the burden of
proving this change by clear and convincing evidence. See Katz
v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 737 F.2d 238, 243 (2d Cir. 1984).
The facts on record show that Andrew Schreier was a domiciliary
of Florida when the Complaint was filed. First, he was physically
present in Florida on September 4, 2003. Second, he has
manifested an intent to indefinitely remain there as he made
numerous changes in his professional and personal life. Before
September 4, 2003, Andrew Schreier resigned from his New York law
firm, informed the New York Office of Court Administration that
he would no longer be practicing law in New York, notified the
Florida bar of his Florida address, and began working in Florida.
Andrew Schreier had sold his family home in Scarsdale, New York
on September 3, 2003, the day before the Complaint was filed. He
also ended his membership in various New York cultural
organizations, from his synagogue to the Metropolitan Opera.
Andrew Schreier's elderly parents live in Florida and he moved
there in part to care for them, an additional fact supporting his
claim that he intends to indefinitely remain in Florida. (A.
Schreier Aff. ¶ ...