ALLSTATE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF NEW YORK v. FIORELLO et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER Granting Application for In forma Pauperis. The Clerk of the Court shall file the Notice of Removal without prepayment of fees; This case is remanded to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County for further proceedings; All other pending motions (ECF Nos. 11, 13, 15) are denied without prejudice to re-filing in state court. Signed by Judge Michael A. Shipp on 12/16/2015. (kas, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
ALLSTATE LIFE INSURANCE
COMP ANY OF NEW YORK,
Civil Action No. 15-7313 (MAS) (TJB)
FIORELLO, et al.,
MEMORANDUM ORDER ON
APPLICATION TO PROCEED
WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF FEES
This matter comes before the Court on the application of Defendant Irene Fiorello
("Defendant" or "Ms. Fiorello"), attached to her Notice of Removal, to proceed without
prepayment of fees under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (ECF No. 1-2.) The Court will grant the application
on the strength of Defendant's allegation of indigence but remands the case to state court for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) ("If at any time before final judgment it
appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded.").
Federal courts, as courts of limited jurisdiction, may not decide a matter in the absence of
federal subject matter jurisdiction. See Ins. Corp. ofIr., Ltd. v. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee,
456 U.S. 694, 702 (1982). "Generally, there are three bases for federal subject matter jurisdiction:
(1) jurisdiction under a specific statutory grant, (2) federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1331 and (3) diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)." TM Mktg., Inc. v.
Art &Antiques Assocs., L.P., 803 F. Supp. 994, 997 (D.N.J. 1992). "[T]he burden of demonstrating
the existence of federal jurisdiction is on the party seeking to invoke it." Cohen v. Kurtzman, 45
F. Supp. 2d 423, 429 (D.N.J. 1999) (citing Dev. Fin. Corp. v. Alpha Hous. & Health Care, Inc.,
54 F.3d 156, 158 (3d Cir. 1995)).
Here, Defendant seeks to invoke this Court's jurisdiction by asserting that there is federal
question and diversity jurisdiction. (ECF No. 1.) Under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, federal question
jurisdiction exists when a claim arising under the United States Constitution or other federal law
can be found on the face of the complaint. Westmoreland Hosp. Ass 'n v. Blue Cross of W. Pa.,
605 F.2d 119, 122 (3d Cir.1979) (quoting Gully v. First Nat'! Bank, 299 U.S. 109, 112-13, (1936))
("[F]or a civil action to arise under 28 U.S.C. [§ ] 133 l(a), the 'right or immunity created by the
Constitution or laws of the United States must be an element, and an essential one, of the plaintiffs
cause of action' and 'the controversy must be disclosed upon the face of the complaint, unaided
by the answer or by the petition for removal.'"). The Complaint in this interpleader action seeks
a determination of the proper beneficiary of the proceeds payable on a life insurance policy. (See
generally Compl., ECF No. 1-1.) No claim arising under the United States Constitution or other
federal law can be found on the face of the Complaint, thus this Court does not have federal
questionjurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Furthermore, this Court lacks diversity jurisdiction,
because under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) diversity jurisdiction requires that the amount in controversy
"exceed the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs," and here the amount in
controversy is $50,000. (See Compl. if 7 (stating that the life insurance policy provides "for a death
benefit in the amount of $50,000").)
IT IS, on this~ day of December 2015, ORDERED that:
1. Defendant's application to proceed informa pauperis (ECF No. 1-2) is hereby
granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
2. The Clerk of the Court shall file the Notice of Removal without prepayment of fees or
3. This case is remanded to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County for
4. Plaintiff Allstate Life Insurance Company ofNew York's Motion to Remand (ECF
No. 5) is denied as moot.
5. All other pending motions (ECF Nos. 11, 13, 15) are denied without prejudice to
refiling in state court.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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