Jeremiah Hunley v. Glencore, Ltd, Inc, et al
OPINION filed : We REMAND so that the district court may dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, decision not for publication. Danny J. Boggs (AUTHORING), John M. Rogers and Jane Branstetter Stranch, Circuit Judges.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 15a0339n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
SANDVIK MINING & CONSTRUCTION,
U.S.A., LLC, et al.,
May 07, 2015
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT FOR THE EASTERN
DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
BEFORE: BOGGS, ROGERS, and STRANCH, Circuit Judges.
BOGGS, Circuit Judge: Plaintiff-Appellant Jeremiah Hunley mined zinc. On December
8, 2007, his machine malfunctioned.
The resulting accident seriously injured Hunley.
Subsequently, Hunley filed a series of three law suits—one in state court and two in federal
court. Hunley voluntarily dismissed his first federal suit and his state-court suit, and the federal
district court below dismissed this case, the second federal suit. Hunley appeals. We affirm the
judgment of the district court because Hunley failed to establish that the district court had
jurisdiction over this case.
Although Hunley filed two earlier cases, we need only to consider the present case. On
October 25, 2010—the day that he filed his notice of dismissal in state court—Hunley filed a
second federal case, which is the present action, against (1) East Tennessee Zinc Company, LLC
(East Tennessee), (2) Tennessee Zinc Services Company, LLC (Tennessee Zinc), (3) Glencore
Limited, Inc., (4) Sandvik USA, (5) Sandvik OY (together with Sandvik USA, “Sandvik”), and
(6) Detroit Diesel (DDC).
In that complaint, Hunley identified himself as a resident of
Between November 2010 and February 2011, Defendants-Appellees moved to
dismiss Hunley’s second federal case.1 On March 29, 2012, the federal district court issued an
order dismissing Sandvik and DDC on statute-of-limitations grounds. Hunley now appeals that
In the same March 29, 2012 order, the district court concluded that Hunley’s complaint
did not adequately show complete diversity. In particular, the district court held that Hunley had
not established that one of the other defendants—East Tennessee Zinc Company, LLC—was not
a citizen of Tennessee for purposes of the litigation. The district court allowed Hunley to file an
amended complaint. Hunley’s amended complaint adequately pled that East Tennessee Zinc
Company, LLC was not a citizen of Tennessee for purposes of the litigation.3 But the amended
complaint declared that Hunley was a citizen of Kentucky, not Tennessee. East Tennessee and
Glencore moved to dismiss, with East Tennessee offering evidence that Hunley was a citizen of
Tennessee. The district court denied the motion on the ground that it did “not have sufficient
information to rule on whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists.” It did note that both East
Defendants-appellees also argued that Tennessee’s statute of limitations barred Hunley’s claim.
The court also dismissed Tennessee Zinc on workers’-compensation grounds.
The relevant paragraph reads, in its entirety:
Defendant East Tennessee Zinc Company, LLC is a company
incorporated in the State of Delaware. The sole member of East Tennessee Zinc
Company, LLC, is Tennessee Zinc Company, LLC, a company incorporated in
the State of Delaware. Neither Tennessee Zinc Services LLC nor Tennessee
Zinc Company, LLC has no members or sub-members that are citizens or
residents of Tennessee. Since East Tennessee Zinc, LLC, and their sole member,
Tennessee Zinc Company, LLC, as well as any members of Tennessee Zinc
Company, LLC, are not citizens and/or residents of Tennessee, complete
diversity exist and the Court has subject-matter jurisdiction in this matter.
Assuming Nyrstar Holdings Inc. is the sole member of East Tennessee Zinc
Company LLC, according to the Delaware Secretary of State, Nyrstar Holdings
Inc. is a resident of Delaware.
RE 77 at 2, ¶ 3, Page ID # 991. The amended complaint failed to name DDC as a defendant.
Tennessee and Glencore would be “free to raise the jurisdictional argument after the parties have
a chance to engage in discovery.”
Hunley subsequently settled with East Tennessee and
That Hunley failed to establish that he was completely diverse from East Tennessee Zinc
Company for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1332 should have disposed of the case.4
The burden of
establishing that federal courts have jurisdiction rests on the party asserting federal jurisdiction.
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377-78 (1994). By filing in federal
court, Hunley asserted federal jurisdiction. As the district court noted, at no point in the districtcourt proceedings did he establish that he was diverse from all defendants. So the district court
lacked jurisdiction to consider this case.
We remand so that the district court may dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
Although Hunley offered below an additional theory of federal jurisdiction, he concedes on appeal that
the only basis for federal jurisdiction would be diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Appellant Br. 2.
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