United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO AMEND
COMPLAINT AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR
LACK OF JURISDICTION
A. WOODCOCK, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
23, 2015, after thirteen days of emotional and contentious
testimony, a federal jury issued a stunning victory in this
defamation case in favor of the Plaintiffs and against the
Defendant in the total amount of $14, 500, 000. In an
extraordinary turn of events, while this case was on appeal
to the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the Defendant
fell upon a plausible argument that this Court never had
proper jurisdiction in the first place. The argument is based
on an arcane exception to diversity jurisdiction that deems
American citizens domiciled abroad "stateless" and
renders them unable to access the federal courts on the basis
of diversity jurisdiction. Here, the narrow issue is whether
Mr. Geilenfeld was domiciled in Iowa or Haiti at the time he
filed suit on February 6, 2013.
that the Defendant raised this issue late is an
understatement, but unlike virtually any other legal issue, a
court's jurisdiction cannot be waived and may be raised
at any time, even after verdict and on appeal, because
jurisdiction goes to whether the court can legally hear the
case. After the issue was presented to the First Circuit, the
appellate court remanded the case to this Court to make
factual findings and resolve the question of Mr.
Geilenfeld's domicile. On remand, the Court admitted
exhibits, received testimony from Mr. Geilenfeld and others,
and reviewed memoranda submitted by the parties.
analyzing the evidence and applying the law, the Court has
concluded that Mr. Geilenfeld was domiciled in Haiti, not
Iowa, as of February 6, 2013 and that the Court did not and
does not have jurisdiction over the case. The consequence of
this decision is that the hard-fought verdict in favor of the
Plaintiffs must be rendered a nullity and the case must be
the Court is issuing its ruling in strict accordance with the
facts as it has found them and the law as it understands it,
the Court profoundly regrets that this issue was not raised
earlier. In a court whose purpose it is to resolve sometimes
contentious disputes, this case stands apart. Even though
there were many side issues, the case turned on whether Mr.
Geilenfeld had sexually abused young boys under his care at
the St. Joseph Family of Haiti, an orphanage he founded in
Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Utterly convinced that Mr. Geilenfeld
had done wrong, Mr. Kendrick repeatedly proclaimed Mr.
Geilenfeld's guilt to all who could listen or read,
including Hearts With Haiti (HWH) and other financial backers
of the St. Joseph Family. Equally determined to clear his
name, Mr. Geilenfeld steadfastly denied Mr. Kendrick's
accusations. The discovery period was unusually rancorous,
resulting in this Court's imposition of sanctions, a rare
event in the District of Maine. The trial was long, arduous,
and consisted of difficult-occasionally searing-testimony
from supporters and detractors of Mr. Geilenfeld, including a
number of men who testified that Mr. Kendrick's
allegations were true. Championed by one of the state of
Maine's finest trial attorneys, the result of the trial
was an unconditional victory for Mr. Geilenfeld and HWH, a
United States nonprofit corporation whose main purpose has
been to support St. Joseph. This Court upheld the verdict
from post-trial attack and assumed that the First Circuit
would resolve the merits of the Defendant's appeal in the
ordinary course. The remand came from out of the blue.
Court is keenly aware that this case has taken an
extraordinary toll on its participants: untold hours of
attorney time and expense; the acute stress of the
contentious discovery period and emotional trial; the impact
on the parties and witnesses of an intense, prolonged
proceeding; the hard work of the jury in listening to the
evidence, applying the Court's instructions, and arriving
at a verdict; and the resounding victory for the Plaintiffs.
The Court assures the parties, particularly the Plaintiffs,
that it does not lightly take the fruits of such a laborious
victory from them. But it is this Court's duty to
neutrally find the facts and apply the law, and the Court has
concluded that it does not have and never had jurisdiction
over the dispute and therefore the Plaintiffs'
hard-earned victory is fated to be short-lived.
opinion, the Court endeavors to explain why it has reached
this conclusion. The Court understands that its explanation
is small solace to the disappointed litigants.
American citizen domiciled abroad is considered
"stateless" and does not satisfy the requirements
for diversity jurisdiction. During the pendency of Mr.
Kendrick's appeal to the First Circuit, the Plaintiffs
moved to amend their complaint to reflect their position that
Mr. Geilenfeld remained a citizen of his home state of Iowa
when they filed suit. Mr. Kendrick then moved to dismiss for
lack of jurisdiction on the ground that Mr. Geilenfeld was
domiciled in Haiti at that time. The First Circuit remanded
the jurisdictional issue for resolution by this Court. On
remand, the Court held a jurisdictional hearing, and the
parties submitted briefs on the issue after the hearing.
requires both physical presence in a place and intent to
remain there. A review of the voluminous record establishes
that Mr. Geilenfeld left Iowa decades ago, that he traveled
extensively for a time, and that he moved to Haiti in the
1980s. From then until the filing of this suit on February 6,
2013, he lived and worked for an organization he founded in
Port au Prince. While he maintained some ties to Iowa, his
life was firmly rooted in Haiti. As such, the Court concludes
that Mr. Geilenfeld was beyond its jurisdiction as a
stateless American citizen domiciled abroad. It further
concludes that considerations of finality cannot trump the
jurisdictional defect, and that Mr. Geilenfeld's status
as an indispensable, nondiverse party to this case requires
the other plaintiff, HWH, to lose its verdict as well. The
Court denies the Plaintiffs' motion to amend complaint
and grants Mr. Kendrick's motion to dismiss.
Initiation of the Suit
February 6, 2013, Michael Geilenfeld and HWH filed suit in
this Court against Paul Kendrick. Compl. (ECF No. 1)
(Compl.). The Plaintiffs invoked jurisdiction
"pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 based on diversity of
citizenship and because the amount in controversy exceeds
Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars ($75, 000)." Id.
¶ 4. Regarding the parties' citizenship, the
Plaintiffs alleged that HWH "is a North Carolina
nonprofit corporation located in City of Raleigh, County of
Wake, State of North Carolina, USA"; that Mr. Geilenfeld
"is an individual residing in Pétion-Ville
Commune, Port-au-Prince Arrondissement, Republic of Haiti and
is the founder and Executive Director of St. Joseph Family of
Haiti"; and that Mr. Kendrick "is an individual
residing in the Town of Freeport, County of Cumberland, State
of Maine, USA." Id. ¶¶ 1-3. On March
8, 2013, Mr. Kendrick filed an Answer, denying "that the
amount in controversy exceeds Seventy-Five Thousand
Dollars" and admitting "the remaining
allegations" as regards diversity jurisdiction.
Defenses and Answer ¶¶ 4-6 (ECF No. 8).
the Court originally scheduled the trial to begin on October
7, 2014, Trial List (ECF No. 231), Mr.
Geilenfeld's arrest by Haitian authorities necessitated a
continuance of the trial date. Oral Mot. to Continue
(ECF No. 260); Oral Order Granting Mot. to Continue Trial
for 90 Days (ECF No. 261). Eventually, the Court learned
of Mr. Geilenfeld's release by Haitian authorities,
Min. Entry (ECF No. 315), and on July 6, 2015, the
jury trial commenced. Tr. of Proceedings I (ECF No.
484). On July 23, 2015, the jury returned a verdict for the
Plaintiffs: the jury awarded $2, 500, 000 on the defamation
claim and $5, 000, 000 on the intentional interference claim
to HWH, and it awarded $7, 000, 000 on the defamation, false
light, and intentional interference claims to Mr. Geilenfeld.
Jury Verdict Form as to Michael Geilenfeld (ECF No.
474) (Geilenfeld Jury Verdict Form); Jury
Verdict Form as to Hearts with Haiti (ECF No. 475)
(HWH Jury Verdict Form); J. (ECF No. 480).
the Court denied Mr. Kendrick's motion for new trial on
October 30, 2015, Order on Def.'s Rule 59 Mot. for a
New Trial or Alternative Post-J. Relief and Pls.' Rule
59(e) Mot. to Alter or Amend J. to Include Pre- and Post-J.
Interest, to Include the April 22, 2015 Sanction, and to
Reflect Dismissal without Prejudice of Pls.' Punitive
Damages Claims (ECF No. 498), Mr. Kendrick filed a
notice of appeal to the First Circuit on November 18, 2015.
Def.'s Notice of Appeal (ECF No. 502).
January 8, 2016, while the case was on appeal, the Plaintiffs
moved to amend the pleadings to allege facts establishing
diversity of citizenship. Hearts With Haiti,
Inc. v. Kendrick, No. 15-2401, Pls.-Appellees'
Mot. to Amend Pleadings to Show Jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1653 (Doc. No. 00116942323) (Pls.'
Mot.). On January 12, 2016, Mr. Kendrick objected
to the Plaintiffs' motion to amend the pleadings and
moved to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. Hearts With Haiti, Inc. v. Kendrick,
No. 15-2401, Def.-Appellant's Obj./Resp. to
"Pls.-Appellees' Mot. to Amend Pleadings to Show
Jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1653" and
Def.-Appellant's Mot. for Affirmative Relief in the Form
of Dismissal of the Case on Grounds of Lack of Subject Matter
Jurisdiction (Doc. No. 00116943575) (Def.'s
Mot.). On January 15, 2016, the Plaintiffs responded to
Mr. Kendrick's motion. Hearts With Haiti, Inc. v.
Kendrick, No. 15-2401, Pls.-Appellees' Resp. in
Opp'n to Def.-Appellant's Mot. for Affirmative Relief
in the Form of Dismissal of the Case for Lack of Subject
Matter Jurisdiction and to Def.-Appellant's Mot. to Stay
and to Clarify filed on January 14, 2016 (Doc.
No.00116945980) (Pls.' Resp.). On January 20,
2016, Mr. Kendrick replied to the Plaintiffs' response.
Hearts With Haiti, Inc. v. Kendrick, No. 15-2401,
Def.-Appellant's Reply to Pls.-Appellees' Resp.
in Opp'n to his Mot. for Affirmative Relief in the Form
of Dismissal of the Case for Lack of Subject Matter
Jurisdiction (Doc. No. 00116947111) (Def.'s
February 16, 2016, the First Circuit remanded to this Court
the questions "as to whether the amendment proposed by
the appellees should be allowed and as to whether diversity
jurisdiction existed at the time the action was
commenced." Order of the Ct. (ECF No. 508).
Events on Remand
March 30, 2016, the Court held a hearing on the
jurisdictional issue. Tr. of Proceedings (ECF No.
532) (Hr'g Tr.). The Plaintiffs filed their
post-hearing brief on April 15, 2016. Pls.'
Post-Hr'g Br. (ECF No. 534) (Pls.'
Br.). Mr. Kendrick filed a response on April 29, 2016,
Def.'s Suppl. Br. on Jurisdiction (ECF No. 535)
(Def.'s Resp.), and the Plaintiffs replied on
May 6, 2016. Pls.' Reply Br. in Supp. of
Jurisdiction (ECF No. 538) (Pls.' Reply).
20, 2016, Mr. Kendrick filed a motion to supplement the
record by including an excerpt of one of Mr. Geilenfeld's
earlier depositions. Def.'s Mot. to Suppl.
Jurisdictional Hr'g Ex. D23 (ECF No. 541)
(Def.'s Mot. to Suppl.). On May 25, 2016, the
Plaintiffs responded and objected to the inclusion of the
exhibit. Pls.' Resp. in Opp'n to Def.'s Mot.
to Suppl. Jurisdictional Hr'g Ex. D23 (ECF No. 544)
(Pls.' Resp. in Opp'n to Suppl. Jurisdictional
Record). On May 27, 2016, Mr. Kendrick replied.
Def.'s Reply Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot. to Suppl.
Jurisdictional Hr'g Ex. D23 (ECF No. 545). On June
9, 2016, the Court granted the Defendant's motion to
supplement over the Plaintiffs' objection. Order on
Mot. to Suppl. Jurisdictional Hr'g Record (ECF No.
THE PARTIES' POSITIONS
Arguments before the First Circuit
The Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend
Plaintiffs moved to amend pleadings to show jurisdiction,
arguing that complete diversity existed on the date the suit
commenced: February 6, 2013. Pls.' Mot. at 1.
They write that "while diversity of citizenship was
uncontested and in fact existed at the time the action was
filed (and continues to exist to this day), the pleadings do
not address citizenship specifically." Id. at
2. They emphasize Mr. Geilenfeld's ties to Iowa, the
state where he was born and raised, maintained his voter
registration and driver's license, and kept a mailing
address and a bank account. Id. at 2-3. According to
the Plaintiffs, their error was merely technical in that they
referred to "residency" rather than
"citizenship" in the Complaint, and they ask the
First Circuit to allow them to correct this error pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1653. Id. at 3.
Mr. Kendrick's Objection to Plaintiffs' Motion and
Motion to Dismiss
Kendrick alleges that "[t]here is simply no doubt that
when Mr. Geilenfeld filed his complaint in 2013, and during
trial, Mr. Geilenfeld was domiciled in Port-au-Prince, Haiti,
as he had been for a long, long time, and not by any stretch
of the imagination living in Iowa." Def.'s
Mot at 6 (footnote omitted). As Mr. Kendrick sees it,
this factual allegation carries fatal implications for this
case's jurisdictional validity given the rule that
"American citizens who are domiciled abroad do not
satisfy any of the enumerated categories required for a
federal court's exercise of diversity jurisdiction."
Id. at 6-7 (quoting Freidrich v. Davis, 767
F.3d 374, 377 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing Newman-Green, Inc.
v. Alfonzo-Larrain, 490 U.S. 826, 828-29 (1989))). Mr.
Kendrick concludes, "Mr. Geilenfeld is
‘stateless' and he must be dismissed for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction." Id. at 9
(citations and footnotes omitted).
Kendrick then turns his attention to the other plaintiff,
HWH, which he contends "must be dismissed from this case
because Mr. Geilenfeld is an indispensable party and HWH
gained a significant tactical advantage by the introduction
of evidence of Mr. Geilenfeld's time in a Haitian prison
made possible only due to Mr. Geilenfeld's presence in
this case as a party." Id. Mr. Kendrick recalls
Mr. Geilenfeld's "elegantly scripted and humbly
delivered" testimony, as well as other evidence
regarding his life that he believes affected the jury, and
claims that this "is not a case where the appellate
court is permitted to ignore the lack of complete diversity
and dismiss only Mr. Geilenfeld . . . ." Id. at
13, 15 (citing Newman-Green, 490 U.S. 826). Finally,
Mr. Kendrick argues that the doctrines of offensive and
defensive nonmutual collateral estoppel, which exist to
prevent re-litigation of previously decided issues, would
apply here and underscore the notion that Mr. Geilenfeld an
indispensable party. Id. at 16-17.
The Plaintiffs' Response
Plaintiffs begin by chronicling the case's protracted
history and write that "[n]ow facing an impending
deadline to brief a meritless appeal, Kendrick perceives in
Plaintiffs' Motion for a technical conforming amendment
of the pleadings, an opportunity for a ‘get out of jail
free' card, claiming for the first time ever that he
denies Geilenfeld's domiciliary intent."
Pls.' Resp. at 3-4. But as the Plaintiffs see
it, the case has proceeded to final judgment, so
"considerations of finality, efficiency, and economy
become overwhelming." Id. at 4 (quoting
Caterpillar, Inc. v. Lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 75 (1996)).
merits of Mr. Kendrick's motion, the Plaintiffs assert
that "[m]ere residence is insufficient to determine a
party's jurisdictional status." Id. at 5
(quoting Chico v. P.R. Elec. Power Auth., 312
F.Supp.2d 153, 156 (D.P.R. 2004)). The Plaintiffs contend
that all the "key indicia" of Mr. Geilenfeld's
domicile point toward Iowa:
[H]is voter registration is in Linn County, Iowa (valid at
the time suit commenced); his home address is at the same
Linn County, Iowa location, and is a physical residence where
he receives mail, has physical presence, and to which he
returns when he has been away; his drivers licenses are and
have always been Iowa licenses; his personal banking and
financial headquarters were and remain based in Iowa banks.
Id. at 6. Of these indicia, the Plaintiffs find
especially significant the fact that Mr. Geilenfeld retained
an Iowa voter registration-a "weighty" factor,
according to the First Circuit. Id. at 14-15
(quoting Bank One v. Montle, 964 F.2d 48, 50 (1st
Cir. 1992)). Moreover, the Plaintiffs argue that there is a
presumption of "domicile by birth, " which
establishes Mr. Geilenfeld's domicile as Iowa, and that
once domicile has been established, there is a presumption of
"continuing domicile, " which can only be broken by
"both presence in the new domicile, and the intent to
remain there." Id. at 7 (citing
Padilla-Mangual v. Pavía Hosp., 516 F.3d 29,
31-32 (1st Cir. 2008); Chico, 312 F.Supp.2d at 157).
On this point, the Plaintiffs claim that "the exact
opposite from a change in domicile has occurred, " as
Mr. Geilenfeld "has taken undisputed steps to maintain a
presence and home base in Iowa . . . ." Id. at
9 (citing Bank One, 964 F.2d at 50).
Mr. Kendrick's argument that Mr. Geilenfeld's
supposed lack of diversity would also require HWH to lose its
judgment, the Plaintiffs urge the Court to take a pragmatic
[A] party that is a "jurisdictional spoiler" may be
dropped from the case, particularly when-as here-the
objecting party has waited until appeal to raise the
challenge and requiring dismissal of the whole action
"after years of litigation, would impose unnecessary and
wasteful burdens on the parties, judges, and other
Id. at 16 (quoting Newman-Green, 490 U.S.
at 827). Further, the Plaintiffs submit that because HWH made
claims based on "separate torts and separate
damages" and because "the jury's verdict was
based upon the sound instruction provided by the trial court
that the jury was to determine liability and damages
separately as to both plaintiffs, " Mr. Geilenfeld
cannot be considered an indispensable party to HWH's
case. Id. at 17-18.
Mr. Kendrick's Reply
Kendrick takes issue with several of the Plaintiffs'
statements of fact and law. On the facts, Mr. Kendrick seeks
to contradict Mr. Geilenfeld's declared intention to
return to Iowa by quoting a deposition in which he said:
"I will always continue to do good works with Haitians
because my whole life is in Haiti." Def.'s
Reply at 2 (quoting Def.'s Obj. and Opp'n
Mem. to Pls.' Mot. in Limine to Include Test. of Alain
Lemithe Attach. 2 Extracts from the Mins. of the Ct.
Registry of the Ct. of the First Instance in Port au
Prince, at 2 (ECF No. 392) (Ct. of First Instance
Mins.)). Mr. Kendrick also tries to undermine the
Plaintiffs' reliance on the domicile factors, writing,
inter alia, "it is very common for U.S. citizens living
in a foreign country, especially a developing country like
Haiti, to maintain a U.S. mailing address so that they can
hold a U.S. driver's license." Id. at 3.
law, Mr. Kendrick clarifies that "the burden is on the
proponent of federal jurisdiction to prove the jurisdictional
facts by a preponderance of the evidence." Id.
at 4 (citing García Pérez v.
Santaella, 364 F.3d 348, 351-52 (1st Cir. 2004)). He
also rejects that notion that the Court can find Mr.
Geilenfeld nondiverse yet allow HWH to keep its judgment,
arguing that "the most important factual issue for the
jury was whether Mr. Geilenfeld sexually abused young men in
Haiti. That issue was common to the defamation claims of both
plaintiffs, so that if the jury found Mr. Geilenfeld did
molest children, each of the plaintiff's cases would have
failed." Id. at 5.
Arguments on Remand
The Plaintiffs' Brief
their post-hearing brief, the Plaintiffs stress the anomalous
aspect of statelessness doctrine, which they describe as a
jurisdictional "loophole" that the Court ought to
avoid if it can do so. Pls.' Br. at 3 n.1. They
say that Mr. Geilenfeld is a missionary and argue that
"[t]he issue of domicile must be viewed through this
lens." Id. at 4. While Mr. Geilenfeld
"maintained his domiciliary intent in Iowa with all
other objective indicia of domicile in Iowa, " the
Plaintiffs nonetheless caution against adherence to
"[a]bstract lists of indicia of domicile" for
persons-like Mr. Geilenfeld-fitting within the
"recognized exceptions for United States citizens who,
in pursuit of a calling or occupation, spend significant
periods of time abroad . . . ." Id. at 5-6;
see also Id. at 8 (citing Kaiser v. Loomis,
391 F.2d 1007 (6th Cir. 1968) (missionary doctor residing
away from domicile); Lewis v. Splashdam By-Products
Corp., 233 F.Supp. 47 (W.D. Va. 1964) (same for labor
union representative); Sherman v. Roosevelt Co., 48
F.Supp. 434 (D. Mass. 1943) (same for railroad transportation
Plaintiffs document Mr. Geilenfeld's and his family's
deep ties to Iowa, as well as the fact that he often referred
to Iowa as "home" and to himself as an
"Iowan." Id. at 9-11. After Mr.
Geilenfeld's mother died in 2003, the family sold its
home in Algona, Iowa, and Mr. Geilenfeld began keeping a room
in a house owned by Lucille Dietrich-a close friend whom he
considers "surrogate" family-at 212 Wesley Drive
NW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Id. at 11-12. The Plaintiffs
allege this address was Mr. Geilenfeld's "home"
from that time to this day. Id. at 12.
to the indicia, the Plaintiffs point to Mr. Geilenfeld's
voter registration, driver's license, and bank accounts
bearing his Iowa address, as well as ties between his mission
work and Iowa. Id. at 12-14. From the Plaintiffs
vantage, "[t]here is not much more that Geilenfeld could
have done to establish and maintain domicile in Iowa . . .
." Id. at 18. They maintain that Mr. Geilenfeld
"has very little by way of personal possessions, "
and that while he "technically" owns the assets
comprising his mission work in Haiti, these assets are
"essentially" held in trust by Mr. Geilenfeld for
the benefit of the children whom he serves. Id. at
14-15. Regarding Mr. Geilenfeld's immigration status in
Haiti, they explain that he applies annually for an extended
visa referred to as "Permis de Sejure."
Id. at 15.
"in an abundance of caution, " the Plaintiffs
reiterate the argument they made to the First Circuit that if
Mr. Geilenfeld is found to be non-diverse, he should also be
found to be a dispensable party with regard to HWH's
claim against Mr. Kendrick. Id. at 18-20. As a
consequence, they maintain, HWH's verdict against Mr.
Kendrick should stand however the Court resolves the issue of
Mr. Geilenfeld's domicile. Id.
The Defendant's Brief
law, Mr. Kendrick argues that "[t]he intent to remain
need not be permanent, only indefinite, " Def.'s
Resp. at 2 (citing Hawes v. Club Ecuestre el
Comandante, 598 F.2d 698, 701 (1st Cir. 1978)), and that
affidavits regarding a person's subjective intent made
after a jurisdictional challenge are "suspect."
Id. at 3 (quoting Hawes, 598 F.2d at 704).
Mr. Kendrick says that Mr. Geilenfeld moved to Haiti on his
own accord in 1985 and has lived and worked exclusively in
Haiti since then, including at the time the Complaint was
filed. Id. 3-5. Mr. Kendrick also finds significance
in the fact that Haiti is where Mr. Geilenfeld owns property
worth "several millions of dollars, " operates a
sizeable organization with people who are like family to him,
and even had a crypt constructed for himself. Id. at
6-10. Moreover, according to Mr. Kendrick, Mr.
Geilenfeld's proclamations of his status as a missionary
do not change the legal analysis, as "the word
‘missionary' is not a magic talisman that exempts
any person who affixes that label to himself from the
established law of domicile." Id. at 11.
Mr. Kendrick sees any Iowa ties as superficial matters of
"personal convenience, " noting that "Mr.
Geilenfeld has not lived or worked in Iowa for over forty
years, does not own any real property in Iowa, does not pay
any taxes in Iowa, and has had no involvement in any civic
affairs, charitable works, or organizations of any kind in
Iowa." Id. at 12-13. Mr. Kendrick points out
that Mr. Geilenfeld has been to Iowa twice since 2010 and has
not voted there since the 1972 presidential election.
Id. at 13-15. He also alleges that Mr. Geilenfeld
"fraudulently" applied for an Iowa voter
registration as a means of more easily obtaining an Iowa
driver's license. Id. at 15. According to Mr.
Kendrick, Mr. Geilenfeld used his Iowa State Bank account for
the purpose of running his organization in Haiti and cannot
be considered to have been domiciled in a friend's guest
room that "he has only visited twice for a matter of
weeks in the last six years." Id. at 16-17.
Kendrick advocates for an application of diversity
jurisdiction's usual rules notwithstanding
"practical concerns" and "considerations of
finality." Id. at 18-19 (citing Grupo
Dataflux v. Atlas Glob. Grp., L.P., 541 U.S. 567,
568-69, 575-82 (2004)). He relies on his briefing to the
First Circuit for his argument "that Mr. Geilenfeld
cannot be dropped as a party to preserve complete
diversity." Id. at 1 n.1.
The Plaintiffs' Reply Brief
Plaintiffs portray Mr. Kendrick as making "two central,
categorical errors" in his brief. Pls.'
Reply at 1. His first is "to equate
‘residence' with ‘domicile, ' and to
urge, incorrectly, that every reference to Haitian residence
is a reference to citizenship or domicile." Id.
His second relates to his understanding of Mr.
Geilenfeld's missionary work:
[I]f it is true as the Defendant appears to concede that the
Court would exercise jurisdiction over Geilenfeld had he
not left the Brothers' ecclesiastical order,
because his native Iowa domicile would have continued
presumptively, then there must still be jurisdiction over him
despite whatever canonical decision permitted him to leave
the Brothers but to engage in precisely the same work.
Id. at 3.
Newman-Green, Inc. v. Alfonzo-Larrain, the Supreme
Court wrote that "[i]n order to be a citizen of a State
within the meaning of the diversity statute, a natural person
must be both a citizen of the United States and be
domiciled within a state." 490 U.S. at 828 (emphasis in
original) (citing Robertson v. Cease, 97 U.S. 646,
648-49 (1878); Brown v. Keene, 33 U.S. 112, 115
(1834)). That is, "Americans who are domiciled abroad do
not satisfy any of the enumerated categories required for a
federal court's exercise of diversity jurisdiction."
Friedrich, 767 F.3d at 377 (citing
Newman-Green, 490 U.S. at 828-29); see also D.B.
Zwirn Special Opportunities Fund, L.P. v. Mehrotra, 661
F.3d 124, 126 (1st Cir. 2011) ("United States citizens
who are domiciled abroad are citizens of no state"
(citing Newman-Green, 490 U.S. at 829). "For
the purposes of diversity, a person is a citizen of the state
in which he is domiciled." Padilla-Mangual, 516
F.3d at 31 (collecting cases). The courts refer to these
United States citizens who domicile in none of her
constituent states as "stateless." See,
e.g., Zwirn, 661 F.3d at 126. Stateless
litigants fall through the cracks of the diversity
jurisdiction statute because their American citizenship
deprives them of diversity as "citizens or subjects of a
foreign state" under § 1332(a)(2), while their
statelessness disqualifies them from diversity as
"citizens of different States" under §
1332(a)(3). Id. In Professor Chemerinsky's crisp
articulation, the rule is that "a person may not sue or
be sued in a diversity case if he or she is a citizen of the
United States but not a citizen of a particular state."
Erwin Chemerinksy, Federal Jurisdiction § 5.3 (6th ed.
the crucial question is domicile, which must be determined
from the time the suit was filed. Padilla-Mangual,
516 F.3d at 31 (citations omitted). "Once challenged,
the party invoking diversity jurisdiction must prove domicile
by a preponderance of the evidence." García
Pérez, 364 F.3d at 350 (citing Bank One,
964 F.2d at 50). "A person's domicile ‘is a
place where he has his true, fixed home and principal
establishment, and to which, whenever he is absent, he has
the intention of returning.'"
Padilla-Mangual, 516 F.3d at 31 (quoting
Sierra-Martínez, 853 F.2d 1027, 1029 (1st Cir.
1988)). Significantly, "[w]hile a person may have more
than one residence, he can only have one domicile."
One Bank, 964 F.2d at 53; see also
Valentín v. Hosp. Bella Vista, 254 F.3d 358, 366
(1st Cir. 2001) ("A party only can have one domicile at
a time") (citing Bank One, 964 F.2d at 53).
There are two requirements for domicile: (1) "physical
presence in a place" and (2) "the intent to make
that place one's home." Valentín,
254 F.3d at 366 (citing
Rodríguez-Díaz, 853 F.2d at 1029).
assessing the latter requirement, intent, the First Circuit
has instructed courts to consider these factors:
"current residence; voting registration and voting
practices; location of personal and real property; location
of brokerage and bank accounts; membership in unions,
fraternal organizations, churches, clubs and other
associations; place of employment or business; driver's
license and other automobile registration; [and] payment of
taxes." García Pérez, 364 F.3d at
351 (alteration in original) (quoting 13B Charles A. Wright,
Arthur R. Miller & Edward H. Cooper, Federal Practice and
Procedure § 3612 (2d ed. 1984)); see also Bank
One, 964 F.2d at 50 ("the place where civil and
political rights are exercised, taxes paid, real and personal
property (such as furniture and automobiles) located,
driver's and other licenses obtained, bank accounts
maintained, location of club and church membership and places
of business or employment") (quoting Lundquist v.
Precision Valley Aviation, Inc., 946 F.2d 8, 11-12 (1st
Cir. 1991) (per curiam)). These factors are to be applied in
a holistic rather than mechanistic manner, as "[n]o
single factor is dispositive, and the analysis focuses not
simply on the number of contacts with the purported domicile,
but also on their substantive nature." García
Pérez, 364 F.3d at 351 (citing
Lundquist, 946 F.2d at 12).
terms of the evidence the Court may consider in making its
domicile determination, the Court-consistent with First
Circuit guidance-takes an inclusive approach in an effort to
bring before it all relevant, probative facts. See,
e.g., Padilla-Mangual, 516 F.3d at 34 ("In
conducting a jurisdictional inquiry, the court enjoys broad
authority to order discovery, consider extrinsic evidence,
hold an evidentiary hearing, and hear testimony in order to
determine its own jurisdiction") (citing
Valentín, 254 F.3d at 363); Bank
One, 964 F.2d at 54-55 ("[W]e direct the district
court to conduct further inquiry into the relevant
jurisdictional facts and make further findings thereon.
Additional evidence should be secured in whatever expeditious
manner the district court determines-whether by evidentiary
hearing, discovery, further affidavits, or any combination of
these, or by other means").