State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company v. Fire Protection, Inc. et al (TV2)
MEMORANDUM OPINION in support of the following Order dismissing case. Signed by Chief District Judge Thomas A. Varlan on 4/26/17. (ADA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
STATE AUTOMOBILE MUTUAL
FIREMAN FIRE PROTECTION, INC.,
JAMES G. STONE III,
ROBIN ALETRAS, and
FIREMAN FIRE PROTECTION, INC.
and JAMES G. STONE III,
JAMES G. STONE, JR., and
STATE AUTOMOBILE MUTUAL
INSURANCE COMPANY and
This civil case is before the Court on plaintiff’s Motion for Voluntary Dismissal of
State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company’s Cause of Action Against Fireman Fire
Protection, Inc., James G. Stone, III and Robin Aletras Pursuant to F.R.C.P. 41(a)(2)
[Doc. 73]. Defendants did not respond, and the time to do so has passed. E.D. Tenn.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2) provides that any action may be
dismissed at the plaintiff’s request by court order, on terms that the Court considers
proper. Upon review of Rule 41 and the record in this case, and in light of the lack of
opposition from defendants, the Court will grant plaintiff’s Motion for Voluntary
Dismissal [Doc. 73] and will dismiss without prejudice plaintiff’s claims against
defendants Fireman Fire Protection, Inc. (“Fireman”), James G. Stone, III (“Stone III”),
and Robin Aletras (“Aletras”) pursuant to Rule 41(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil
The only claims remaining are intervening plaintiffs James G. Stone, Jr. and Betty
R. Stone’s cause of action against Aletras [Doc. 31] and defendants Fireman and Stone
III’s cross-claims against Aletras [Doc. 27 pp. 9–10]. For the following reasons, the
Court will sua sponte dismiss these claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
“Subject matter jurisdiction is always a threshold determination,” Am. Telecom
Co. v. Republic of Lebanon, 501 F.3d 534, 537 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Steel Co. v.
Citizens for a Better Env’t, 523 U.S. 83, 101 (1998)), and may be raised by the Court sua
sponte at any stage in the proceedings. See United States v. Hays, 515 U.S. 737, 742
(1995) (“The federal courts are under an independent obligation to examine their own
jurisdiction.”); Shultz v. Gen. R.V. Ctr., 512 F.3d 754, 756 (6th Cir. 2008); Ford v.
Hamilton Invs., Inc., 29 F.3d 255, 257 (6th Cir. 1994) (noting that subject matter
jurisdiction is an issue that “may be raised at any time, by any party or even sua sponte
by the court itself” (quotation omitted)). “If the court determines at any time that it lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3).
A federal court has original subject matter jurisdiction over two types of actions.
The first type involves those actions raising a federal question. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The
second type involves those actions where there is diversity of citizenship and an amount
in controversy greater than $75,000, excluding costs and fees.
28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Generally, “[d]iversity jurisdiction in the district court requires complete diversity, i.e.,
none of the defendants can be citizens of the same state as any of the plaintiffs.” Maiden
v. N. Am. Stainless, L.P., 125 F. App’x 1, 3 (6th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). Federal
courts have supplemental jurisdiction “over all other claims that are so related to claims
in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or
controversy.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
The Court has reviewed the intervening plaintiffs’ claims, and defendants Stone III
and Fireman’s cross-claims against Aletras, and it does not appear that there is complete
diversity of citizenship among the parties as to these claims, seeing as all relevant parties
are citizens of Tennessee. Thus, the Court does not possess subject matter jurisdiction
over these claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Furthermore, the remaining claims
consist of negligence causes of action against Aletras, so the Court does not have federal
question jurisdiction over these claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
With regard to the Court’s potential supplemental jurisdiction over the claims
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367, a district court may decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over a claim if it has dismissed all claims over which it has original
jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c) (“The district courts may decline to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over a claim under subsection (a) if . . . the district court has
dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction.”). As discussed herein, the
Court will dismiss the only claims over which it has original jurisdiction in this case
based on plaintiff’s motion for voluntary dismissal, and the Court declines to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over the intervening plaintiff’s claims against Aletras, as well
as over Fireman and Stone III’s cross-claims. Accordingly, the Court will dismiss these
Thus, in sum, the Court will GRANT plaintiff’s Motion for Voluntary Dismissal
[Doc. 73] and will DISMISS without prejudice plaintiff’s claims against defendants
Fireman, Stone III, and Aletras, pursuant to Rule 41(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Further, the Court will DISMISS intervening plaintiffs’ Complaint [Doc. 31]
and defendants Fireman and Stone III’s cross-claims against Aletras [Doc. 27 pp. 9–10].
There being no other issues remaining, the Clerk of Court will be DIRECTED to
CLOSE this case.
s/ Thomas A. Varlan
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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