ONEBEACON AMERICA INSURANCE COMPANY v. OIL-DRI CORPORATION OF AMERICA et al
ORDER directing plaintiff to file evidence as to diversity not later than 8/9/2011. Ordered by Judge Hugh Lawson on 7/20/2011. (nbp)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
ONEBEACON AMERICA INSURANCE :
COMPANY, A/S/O THE ESTATE OF :
KENNETH D. HERMAN,
OIL-DRI CORPORATION OF
AMERICA and THOMAS WOOD,
Civil Action No.
The complaint, filed on July 19, 2011, alleges that the Plaintiff OneBeacon
American Insurance Company (“OneBeacon”) entered into an insurance contract with
Kenneth D. Herman. The contract provides that OneBeacon has subrogation rights
against negligent third parties that caused injury to Mr. Herman to the extent that
OneBeacon paid benefits to or on behalf of Mr. Herman. OneBeacon alleges that it
paid at least $130,000 in benefits on behalf of Mr. Herman as a result of Mr. Herman’s
personal injuries and death caused by Defendant Thomas Wood (“Wood”). Wood
backed a tractor trailer to the loading dock and in the process crushed Mr. Herman
against the loading dock. Wood was operating the tractor trailer on behalf of his
employer, Defendant Oil-Dri Corporation of America (“Oil-Dri”). OneBeacon seeks to
recover from Wood and Oil-Dri the amount of benefits it paid on behalf of Mr. Herman.
The asserted basis for the Court’s subject matter jurisdiction is diversity jurisdiction.
Consistent with this Court’s responsibility to examine the subject matter
jurisdiction of the cases that come before it, the Court has reviewed the complaint to
determine whether the diversity jurisdictional requirements in this case have been
satisfied. See Morrison v. Allstate Indem. Co., 228 F.3d 1255, 1261 (11th Cir. 2000)
(requiring that a district court must always answer the question of whether it has
subject matter jurisdiction to hear a case, even if no party raises the question of
jurisdiction by motion)
Having concluded that the requirements have not been satisfied, the Court
orders OneBeacon to come forward with evidence showing that diversity jurisdiction
Diversity jurisdiction is present when the dispute is between citizens of different
states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The
complaint shows that the amount in controversy in this case exceeds $75,000, but it
does not show diversity of citizenship.
A party must distinctly and affirmatively plead citizenship. Tucker v. Thomasville
Toyota, 623 F. Supp. 2d 1378, 1380 (M.D. Ga. 2008) (citations omitted). A complaint
merely alleging residency, as opposed to state citizenship or domicile, may be
insufficient to invoke diversity jurisdiction. Id. at 1381 (citations omitted). This is
because domicile is not always the same as residence, as a person may reside in one
place but be domiciled elsewhere. Id.
The complaint fails to plead that Wood is a citizen of Georgia; instead it alleges
that he is a resident of Georgia. OneBeacon may file evidence establishing the
citizenship of Wood. If OneBeacon does so and the evidence shows that OneBeacon
is not of the same citizenship of any Defendant, then the Court will find that there is
complete diversity between the parties.
Accordingly, OneBeacon is ordered to file with this Court, no later than August
9, 2011 evidence sufficient to show by a preponderance of the evidence that complete
diversity exists. The Defendants have until August 16, 2011 to respond. If OneBeacon
wishes to file a reply, then it must seek the Court’s permission to do so. The Court’s
Rules 16/26 Order will not issue until the Court determines it has subject matter
jurisdiction over the case.
SO ORDERED, this the 20th day of July, 2011.
s/ Hugh Lawson
HUGH LAWSON, SENIOR JUDGE
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