WILLIAMS v. RESMED et al
ORDER DISMISSING without prejudice Plaintiff's complaint. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE MARC THOMAS TREADWELL on 11/9/2017. (tlh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
RESMED, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 5:17-CV-276(MTT)
Kellie Williams alleges that the Defendants are liable for the wrongful death of
her mother. Doc. 1 at 4. Williams contends that the Court has diversity jurisdiction over
this case. Id. at 3. The Court granted Williams’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis.
Doc. 4. But the Court ordered Williams to amend her complaint to state sufficient
factual allegations to avoid dismissal because Williams’s “citizenship allegations are
unclear” and Williams “fails to allege any dates relevant to a wrongful death claim,” so
the original complaint fails to make clear whether lack of jurisdiction or untimeliness bar
the Court from hearing this case. Id. at 3; see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) (requiring a
district court to dismiss a pro se complaint if the complaint “fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted”). Williams has now amended her complaint. Doc. 9.
A pro se litigant’s pleadings “are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings
drafted by attorneys and will, therefore, be liberally construed.” Miller v. Donald, 541
F.3d 1091, 1100 (11th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). But
even construed liberally and in the most favorable light, Williams’s amended complaint
still fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Williams has failed to plead
complete diversity as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Williams’s amended complaint
alleges that (1) she is a citizen of Houston County, Georgia; (2) the cause of action
arose in Houston County, Georgia; (3) Defendant RESMED “is a global manufacturer”
of products to manage respiratory conditions and “can be served at 600 Riverside
Pkwy, Lithia Springs, GA 30122;” and (4) Defendant “Hobbs Home Medical of Georgia
provides home medical equipment, supplies and services to patients in the middle
Georgia area,” and Hobbs Home Medical of Georgia’s “principal place of business is
Warner Robins, GA.” Doc. 9 ¶¶ 1-4. Diversity jurisdiction requires the parties to be
“citizens of different States,” and a corporation “shall be deemed to be a citizen of every
State . . . by which it has been incorporated and of the State . . . where it has its
principal place of business.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1), (c)(1). According to Williams’s
amended complaint, the parties are not citizens of different states.
The Court notes that Williams’s wrongful death claim is likely untimely. Williams
filed this lawsuit on July 17, 2017. Doc. 1 at 6. In her amended complaint, Williams
alleges that her mother passed away on July 16, 2015. Doc. 9 ¶ 5. Georgia law
imposes a two-year statute of limitations on “actions for injuries to the person,” including
wrongful death, and a two-year statute of limitations on “action[s] for medical
malpractice” resulting in injury or death. O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33; O.C.G.A. § 9-3-71; see also
Miles v. Ashland Chem. Co., 261 Ga. 726, 727-28, 410 S.E.2d 290, 291-92 (1991)
(applying O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33 to a wrongful death claim and holding that the cause of
action accrued on the date of the death). Williams was therefore required to file suit on
or before July 16, 2017.
In any event, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, and therefore the
complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice.1
SO ORDERED, this 9th day of November, 2017.
S/ Marc T. Treadwell
MARC T. TREADWELL, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
As discussed above, it appears the statute of limitations has run. “[W]here a dismissal without prejudice
has the effect of precluding the plaintiff from re-filing his claim due to the running of the statute of
limitations, it is tantamount to a dismissal with prejudice.” Stephenson v. Doe, 554 F. App’x 835, 837
(11th Cir. 2014) (citing Justice v. United States, 6 F.3d 1474, 1482 n.15 (11th Cir. 1993)). If this dismissal
is effectively with prejudice, dismissal is nonetheless appropriate because, as discussed above, the Court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
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