SOUTHERN PILOT INSURANCE COMPANY v. MATTHEWS AUTO REPAIR, INC.
ORDER - The Court ORDERS Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint by April 25, 2017, which addresses the issues outlined in this Order and properly alleges a basis for this Court's diversity jurisdiction. SEE ORDER. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 4/18/2017.(JRB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTHERN PILOT INSURANCE COMPANY,
MATTHEWS AUTO REPAIR, INC.,
Plaintiff Southern Pilot Insurance Company has filed a Complaint in which it alleges that
this Court has diversity jurisdiction over this matter. The Court notes the following issues with
Plaintiff’s jurisdictional allegations:
Plaintiff alleges that it is “a corporation incorporated under the laws of the State
of Wisconsin, with its principal place of business in New York, New York,”
but does not specify whether it is a mutual insurance company. This is significant because the citizenship of a mutual insurance company turns on the corporate form it is considered to be by applicable state law. See Mut. Serv. Cas. Ins.
Co. v. Country Life Ins. Co., 859 F.2d 548, 551 (7th Cir. 1988) (noting that
Texas law rendered Texas mutual insurance company an unincorporated association while Minnesota law rendered Minnesota mutual insurance company a
corporation). Plaintiff must allege whether or not it is a mutual insurance company, and set forth its citizenship accordingly.
Plaintiff does not properly allege the amount in controversy. The amount in
controversy must exceed “$75,000, exclusive of interest and costs.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332. The “exclusive of interest and costs” language must be included in the
amount in controversy allegation.
The Court is not being hyper-technical: Counsel has a professional obligation to analyze
subject-matter jurisdiction, Heinen v. Northrop Grumman Corp., 671 F.3d 669, 670 (7th Cir.
2012), and a federal court always has a responsibility to ensure that it has jurisdiction, Hukic v.
Aurora Loan Servs., 588 F.3d 420, 427 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court must know the details of the
underlying jurisdictional allegations because parties cannot confer jurisdiction on the Court simply
by stipulating that it exists. See Evergreen Square of Cudahy v. Wisconsin Housing and Economic
Development Authority, 776 F.3d 463, 465 (7th Cir. 2015) (“the parties’ united front is irrelevant
since the parties cannot confer subject-matter jurisdiction by agreement…and federal courts are
obligated to inquire into the existence of jurisdiction sua sponte”).
For these reasons, the Court ORDERS Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint by April
25, 2017, which addresses the issues outlined in this Order and properly alleges a basis for this
Court’s diversity jurisdiction. Defendant need not answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint
at which this Order is directed. Defendant is cautioned, however, that when it does respond to the
Amended Complaint, and to the extent that it denies any of Plaintiff’s jurisdictional allegations or
states that it does not have sufficient information to respond to those allegations, the Court will
require the parties to conduct whatever investigation is necessary and file a joint jurisdictional
statement confirming that all parties are in agreement with the underlying jurisdictional allegations
before the litigation moves forward.
Date: April 18, 2017
Distribution via ECF only to all counsel of record
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