United States District Court, D. Maine
ALAN J. PERRY, et al., Plaintiffs
PETER TINKHAM, et al., Defendants PETER TINKHAM, et al., Plaintiffs
LAURA PERRY, et al., Defendants
DECISION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION ON
C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge
Juliet Alexander and Peter Tinkham challenge the Court's
jurisdiction in this matter. (Motion, ECF No. 254.) The Court
construes Defendants' request as a motion to dismiss the
case for lack of jurisdiction. The Court denies the motion.
consolidated case comprises two actions. The first action is
case number 1:12-cv-00229, which action Defendants commenced
with a complaint filed in federal district court, based on
diversity of citizenship. The second action is case number
2:15-cv-00310, which action Defendants removed to this Court
from the Maine Superior Court based on diversity
their complaint in case number 12-229,  Defendants
asserted that they were residents of Massachusetts, and they
identified the other parties as residents of Florida and
Maine. (Complaint at 1.) In that action, Plaintiff Alan Perry
filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction,
contending that Defendants were residents of Maine. (ECF No.
7.) Defendants opposed the motion to dismiss, and filed
affidavits attesting to their residency in Massachusetts.
(ECF Nos. 16 - 18.) The Court noted Defendants' sworn
statements concerning residency and concluded that diversity
of citizenship was established for purposes of the
Court's exercise of subject matter jurisdiction.
(Recommended Decision, ECF Nos. 83 at 3 - 9; Order Affirming
Recommended Decision, ECF No. 92.)
August 5, 2015, Defendants removed to this Court a
foreclosure and defamation action Plaintiffs filed in the
Maine Superior Court. The grounds for removal included
diversity of citizenship. (Notice of Removal at 2, ECF No.
1.) Additionally, Defendants argued that case 15-310 should
be consolidated with case 12-229 given the common nucleus of
operative facts. (Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1 at
Plaintiffs filed a motion to remand (ECF No. 8), which motion
the Court granted based on procedural irregularities related
to the notice of removal. (ECF No. 19.) Defendants appealed
from the remand order (ECF No. 25), and the First Circuit
vacated the Court's order of remand. (ECF No. 29.)
Defendants then filed a motion to consolidate case 12-229 and
case 15-310 (ECF No. 34), which motion the Court granted.
(ECF No. 46.)
case, the subject matter jurisdiction of the Court is based
on 28 U.S.C. § 1332, which provides that the district
courts of the United States “shall have original
jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in
controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive
of interest and costs, and is between [inter alia] citizens
of different States[.]” Id.
exercise of diversity jurisdiction to be valid, there must be
“complete diversity of citizenship as between all
plaintiffs and all defendants.” Connectu LLC v.
Zuckerberg, 522 F.3d 82, 91 (1st Cir. 2008). In the
context of removal, the relevant citizenship is the
citizenship that existed on the date of removal. D.B.
Zwirn Special Opportunities Fund, L.P. v. Mehrotra, 661
F.3d 124, 125 (1st Cir. 2011) (per curiam).
the uncontroverted record, which includes Defendants'
representations to the Court, establish the complete
diversity required for jurisdiction. In addition, based on
the parties' filings, the Court is convinced that the
amount in controversy satisfies the jurisdictional threshold.
The matter, therefore, is within the Court's subject
extent Defendants contend the Court lacks jurisdiction over
their persons, in a diversity action, a federal district
court's power to exercise jurisdiction over the person of
a defendant who lives outside of the state in which the court
is located is the same as that of a state court. Tice v.
Taiwan Shin Yeh Enter. Co., 608 F.Supp.2d 119, 121 (D.
Me. 2009). A federal court, therefore, looks to the
state's long-arm statute to determine whether it
restricts the reach of the state's courts and, if not,
the federal court must determine whether the exercise of
jurisdiction is consistent with the Due Process Clause of the
United States Constitution. Id. The Maine long-arm
statute provides that state courts may exercise jurisdiction
over claims against nonresident persons “to the fullest
extent permitted by the due process clause, ” 14 M.R.S.
§ 704-A(1), and thus the due process inquiry generally
controls. Tice, 608 F.Supp.2d at 121 - 22.
process principles provide that a court can exercise personal
jurisdiction over a defendant in the context of a specific
case where (1) the litigation arises out of the
defendant's forum-state activities; (2) the
defendant's in-state contacts reflect the
“purposeful availment of the privilege of conducting
activities in the forum state, thereby invoking the benefits
and protections of that state's laws and making the
defendant's involuntary presence before the state's