United States District Court, D. Maine
MAURICE D. YOUNG, individually, and on behalf of minor, T.A.Y., Plaintiff
PROGRESSIVE INS. CO., Defendant
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON MOTION TO DISMISS
C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge.
action, Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of his minor
child, seeks to recover damages allegedly resulting from a
motor vehicle collision. Plaintiff asserts the claim directly
against the insurer for the drivers involved in the
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction. (ECF No. 30.) Following a
review of the pleadings and after consideration of the
Defendant's arguments,  I recommend that the Court grant
the Motion to Dismiss without prejudice.
following facts are derived from Plaintiff's complaint
and are accepted as true for purposes of evaluating the
pending motion to dismiss. McKee v. Cosby, 874 F.3d
54, 59 (1st Cir. 2017).
December 20, 2017, Plaintiff and his minor child were injured
in a motor vehicle collision in the town of Liberty, Maine.
(Complaint at 1 - 2, ECF No. 1.) The drivers of both vehicles
were insured by Defendant. (Id.)
March 1, 2018, Defendant paid Plaintiff for damage to his
vehicle. (Id. at 1.) Plaintiff has not received
payment, however, for the substantial medical expenses
incurred as a result of the collision. (Id. at 3;
Motion to Amend Complaint ¶ 2, ECF No. 4; Order Granting
Motion to Amend Complaint, ECF No. 5.)
“‘Federal courts are courts of limited
jurisdiction,' possessing ‘only that power
authorized by Constitution and statute.'” Gunn
v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251, 256 (2013) (quoting
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511
U.S. 375, 377 (1994)). Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), a defendant
may file a motion to dismiss asserting that the court lacks
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the litigation.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). On such a motion, the court must
“credit the plaintiff's well-pled factual
allegations and draw all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiff's favor.” Merlonghi v. United
States, 620 F.3d 50, 54 (1st Cir. 2010). The court may
also consider depositions and exhibits introduced by the
parties to establish jurisdictional facts. Id. The
burden of proving subject matter jurisdiction falls to the
party invoking the court's jurisdiction. Skwira v.
United States, 344 F.3d 64, 71 (1st Cir. 2003).
federal question jurisdiction, federal district courts
“have original jurisdiction of all civil actions
arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Plaintiff's
complaint alleges a cause of action arising under state tort
law, not a claim based on federal law. Accordingly, Plaintiff
has failed to assert facts that would support a claim within
the Court's federal question jurisdiction.
district courts also have original jurisdiction “where
the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,
000 . . . and is between citizens of different States.”
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). Plaintiff has asserted
sufficient facts to satisfy the amount in controversy
requirement for diversity jurisdiction. For Plaintiff's
claim to be within the Court's diversity jurisdiction,
Plaintiff and Defendant must have been citizens of different
states on the date the complaint was filed. See
Alvarez-Torres v. Ryder Memorial Hosp., Inc., 582 F.3d
47, 54 (1st Cir. 2009) (“[D]iversity jurisdiction does
not exist where any plaintiff is a citizen of the same state
as any defendant.”).
review of Plaintiff's filings reveals that Plaintiff was
incarcerated in Maine at the time he filed the complaint.
Significantly, he has not alleged that he was domiciled
anywhere other than Maine prior to his incarceration.
purposes of diversity jurisdiction, corporations are deemed
citizens of their state of incorporation as well as the state
of its principal place of business. 28 U.S.C. §
1332(c)(1). A corporation's principal place of business
is typically where its corporate headquarters are located.
Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 80 (2010). This
general rule for corporate citizenship applies “except
. . . in any direct action against the insurer of a policy or
contract of liability insurance, ” wherein “the
insured is not joined as a party- defendant . . . .” 28
U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1). In such actions, the “insurer
shall be deemed a citizen of . . . every State . . . of which
the insured is a citizen.” Id. §
1332(c)(1)(A). Congress crafted this exception in order to
prevent parties from invoking diversity jurisdiction
“in cases in which both the tortfeasor and the injured
party were residents of [a single state], but the
tortfeasor's insurer was considered a resident of another
State.” Northbrook Nat. Ins. Co. v. Brewer,
493 U.S. 6, 10 - 11 (1989).
Plaintiff asserts a claim against the tortfeasor's
liability insurer and the tortfeasor is not joined as a
party-defendant. Defendant has presented evidence, in the
form of documents filed in a state court proceeding, that its
insured is domiciled in Maine. The evidence is
uncontroverted. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c),
therefore, Defendant is deemed to be a citizen of Maine.
Given that the record establishes that at the time of the
filing of the complaint, Plaintiff was incarcerated in Maine,
and given that Plaintiff has not asserted that he was
domiciled in a state other than Maine prior to his
incarceration, Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts to
establish a diversity of citizenship between Plaintiff and
Defendant. Skwira ...