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Liu v. 88 Harborview Realty, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. New York

March 12, 2014

HAI YANG LIU, Plaintiff,
v.
88 HARBORVIEW REALTY, LLC, CHEUNG YEUNG, YAN ZHUANG, JIA XI QUI a/k/a QUI JAI XI, QIAN HE, individually and as the Administratrix of the estate of You Laing Chen, and JOHN DOE 1-X AND JANE DOE 1-X, Defendants. QIAN HE, individually and as the Administratrix of the estate of You Laing Chen, Counter Claimant,
v.
HAI YANG LIU, Counter Defendant

Page 444

For Hai Yang Liu, Plaintiff: Scott Glen Goldfinger, O'Rourke & Degen, PLLC, New York, NY, USA; Vlad Anatole Kuzmin, Kuzmin & Associates, PLLC, New York, NY, USA.

For 88 Harborview Realty, Llc, Defendant: Kenneth Kangmin Ho, Kenneth Kangmin Ho, Attorney At Law, Flushing, NY, USA.

For Qian he, Individually and as the Administratrix of the estate of You Laing Chen, Defendant: Joseph Sferrazza, LEAD ATTORNEY, Sferrazza & Keenan, Melville, NY, USA; Edward Elkin, Law Offices of Edward Elkin, New York, NY, USA.

For Qian he, Individually and as the Administratrix of the estate of You Laing Chen, Counter Claimant: Joseph Sferrazza, LEAD ATTORNEY, Sferrazza & Keenan, Melville, NY, USA; Edward Elkin, Law Offices of Edward Elkin, New York, NY, USA.

For Hai Yang Liu, Counter Defendant: Scott Glen Goldfinger, O'Rourke & Degen, PLLC, New York, NY, USA; Vlad Anatole Kuzmin, Kuzmin & Associates, PLLC, New York, NY, USA.

OPINION

Page 445

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

ANALISA TORRES, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff, Hai Yang Liu, brings this action against Defendants 88 Harborview Realty, LLC (" Harborview" ), Cheung Teung, Yan Zhuang, Jia Xi Qui, Qian He, John Doe 1-X, and Jane Doe 1-X, asserting eleven claims under New York law. Defendant Qian He counterclaims that Plaintiff is not a member of Harborview. Plaintiff moves for partial summary judgment seeking a declaratory judgment that he is a member. Because of unresolved jurisdictional issues, the motion is DENIED without prejudice and the parties are directed to submit supplemental papers.

BACKGROUND

This lawsuit involves a series of disputed real estate transactions and investments in New York City. Plaintiff brings this lawsuit against four individual defendants, up to twenty fictitious " Doe" defendants, and Harborview, a limited liability company (" LLC" ), invoking subject matter jurisdiction by reason of diversity of citizenship pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff asserts that he immigrated to the United States from China, and resided in the New York City area during the years leading up to this lawsuit, including at a property he claims to have purchased in Brooklyn, at 2977 Fulton Street. Pl. Mot. at 1-3, ECF No. 62. Plaintiff alleges that all defendants, including the Doe defendants, " reside in the City, County and State of New York." Compl. ¶ ¶ 4-19.

Despite these New York connections, Plaintiff contends that on February 8, 2011, the date he filed the complaint, he was " a resident of the State of South Carolina." Id. ¶ 2. Annexed to Plaintiff's moving papers are documents indicating that he resided in Brooklyn or the Bronx when he commenced the action. First, an undated document - which purports to be a roster of Harborview members - lists Plaintiff's address as " 2977 Fulton St., #2/F, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11208." Pl. 56.1 Statement Appx., Ex. 4 (the " Membership List" ). The Membership List names twenty-five other members of Harborview, some of whom reside in states other than New York - contrary to what Plaintiff alleges in his complaint. Second, Plaintiff submits seven Internal Revenue Service 1065 forms given to him by Harborview, listing partnership income he received for years 2006 through 2012, each of which state that Plaintiff resides at a redacted street address in " Bronx, N.Y. 10451." Id., Ex. 8.

These documents and the issues raised in Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment compel the Court to address whether it has subject matter jurisdiction over this lawsuit; there are open questions as to Plaintiff's citizenship, Defendants' citizenship, and the Court's jurisdiction to adjudicate state law claims between potentially non-diverse parties.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

" The district courts of the United States . . . are courts of limited jurisdiction." Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 552, 125 S.Ct. 2611, 162 L.Ed.2d 502 (2005) (quotation and citation omitted). They only possess jurisdiction over a matter if they have both constitutional authorization under Article

Page 446

III and federal statutory authorization. Id. Article III, § 2 of the United States Constitution provides federal courts with original jurisdiction over suits, inter alia, " between Citizens of different States." Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), " [a] case falls within the federal district court's original diversity jurisdiction only if diversity of citizenship among the parties is complete, i.e., only if there is no plaintiff and no defendant who are citizens of the same State." Wisconsin Dept. of Corr. v. ...


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