Hampton v. MTC Medical, LLC
ORDERED: Defendant MTC Medical, LLC shall have until May 11, 2021, to provide the Court with sufficient information so that it can determine whether it has diversity jurisdiction over this action. See Order for details. Signed by Judge Marcia Morales Howard on 4/27/2021. (TMF)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Case No. 3:21-cv-449-MMH-PDB
MTC MEDICAL, LLC,
THIS CAUSE is before the Court sua sponte. Federal courts are courts
of limited jurisdiction and therefore have an obligation to inquire into their
subject matter jurisdiction. See Kirkland v. Midland Mortgage Co., 243 F.3d
1277, 1279-1280 (11th Cir. 2001); see also Burns v. Windsor Ins. Co., 31 F.3d
1092, 1095 (11th Cir. 1994). This obligation exists regardless of whether the
parties have challenged the existence of subject matter jurisdiction. See Univ.
of S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir. 1999) (“[I]t is well
settled that a federal court is obligated to inquire into subject matter jurisdiction
sua sponte whenever it may be lacking”). “In a given case, a federal district
court must have at least one of three types of subject matter jurisdiction: (1)
jurisdiction under a specific statutory grant; (2) federal question jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331; or (3) diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a).” Baltin v. Alaron Trading, Corp., 128 F.3d 1466, 1469 (11th Cir.
On April 23, 2021, Defendant MTC Medical, LLC (MTC Medical) filed a
notice of removal, seeking to remove this case from the Circuit Court, Seventh
Judicial Circuit, in and for Putnam County, Florida. See generally Defendant’s
Notice of and Petition for Removal (Doc. 1; Notice). In the Notice, MTC Medical
asserts that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because “Defendant is not a citizen of the State of Florida,
like Plaintiff” and because “it is beyond dispute that the amount in controversy
exceeds the $75,000 jurisdictional threshold for diversity jurisdiction.” See id.
at 5, 12. However, upon review of the Notice and the attached Complaint and
Demand for Jury Trial (see Doc. 1-1; Complaint), the Court finds that MTC
Medical fails to allege sufficient facts to plausibly demonstrate that the parties
are diverse. See Taylor v. Appleton, 30 F.3d, 1365, 1367 (11th Cir. 1994).
Specifically, MTC Medical does not sufficiently allege the citizenship of the
Plaintiff. See Notice at 4. In the Notice, MTC Medical merely alleges that “[i]n
his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that, ‘[a]t all times pertinent hereto, [he] has
been a resident of the State of Florida,’” see id., and equates this to alleging
For a court to have diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), “all
plaintiffs must be diverse from all defendants.” Univ. of S. Ala., 168 F.3d at 412.
To establish diversity over a natural person, a party must include allegations of
the person’s citizenship, not where he or she resides. Taylor, 30 F.3d at 1367.
A natural person’s citizenship is determined by his or her “domicile,” or “the
place of his true, fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment . . . to
which he has the intention of returning whenever he is absent therefrom.”
McCormick, 293 F.3d at 1257-58 (quotation and citation omitted). “Citizenship,
not residence, is the key fact that must be alleged in the complaint to establish
citizenship for a natural person.”
Taylor, 30 F.3d at 1367; Miss. Band of
Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, 490 U.S. 30, 48 (1989) (“‘Domicile’ is not
necessarily synonymous with ‘residence[.]’”). Thus, the Notice fails to present
allegations sufficient to establish that the parties are diverse from each other.
Without additional information regarding the citizenship of the Plaintiff,
the allegations presently before the Court are insufficient to invoke the Court’s
subject matter jurisdiction over this action. 1 Accordingly, it is
Indeed, carefully ascertaining the citizenship of the parties and whether the Court has
subject matter jurisdiction over this action is more than just an academic exercise, as is evident
from two Eleventh Circuit cases decided in 2017. See Thermoset Corp. v. Bldg. Materials Corp
of Am., 849 F.3d 1313, 1316-1317 (11th Cir. Mar. 2, 2017) (vacating summary judgment order
after three years of litigation where court determined on appeal that the pleadings below had
not sufficiently alleged the citizenship of a defendant limited liability company, and upon
further inquiry, found that the defendant limited liability company had a non-diverse
member); see also Purchasing Power, LLC v. Bluestem Brands, Inc., 851 F.3d 1218, 1222, 1228
(11th Cir. Mar. 20, 2017) (discussing whether sanctions were warranted in a case where
summary judgment was reversed on appeal after the appellate court discovered that the
Defendant MTC Medical, LLC shall have until May 11, 2021, to provide
the Court with sufficient information so that it can determine whether it has
diversity jurisdiction over this action.
DONE AND ORDERED at Jacksonville, Florida on April 27, 2021.
Counsel of Record
pleadings did not sufficiently allege the citizenship of the plaintiff LLC, leading to the
realization that there was no diversity jurisdiction) (“While the requirements of diversity
jurisdiction in this scenario are complicated, they are the law. No party in this case acted with
bad intentions, but the result was a colossal waste of time and effort. We trust that the damage
done to the parties' credibility, finances, and time is enough of a sanction to curb their conduct
and to serve as a warning to future diversity jurisdiction litigants. In the end, when the parties
do not do their part, the burden falls on the courts to make sure parties satisfy the
requirements of diversity jurisdiction. We must be vigilant in forcing parties to meet the
unfortunate demands of diversity jurisdiction in the 21st century.”).
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