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Hulsey-Smith v. Auto Club Insurance Co. of Florida

United States District Court, Middle District of Louisiana

January 22, 2015

MELISSA HULSEY-SMITH, ET AL
v.
AUTO CLUB INSURANCE COMPANY OF FLORIDA, ET AL

ORDER TO AMEND NOTICE OF REMOVAL

STEPHEN C. RIEDLINGER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Defendants Westfield Insurance Company, Timothy Sorel and Studio 601, Inc., removed this case asserting subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, diversity of citizenship. Defendants alleged in the Notice of Removal that the plaintiffs are “domiciled in the City of Diamondhead, Hancock County, State of Mississippi, and citizens of Mississippi.”[1] As to the defendants’ citizenship, in the Notice of Removal the removing defendants alleged as follows:

ACICF [Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida] is a foreign insurance corporation organized and existing under the laws of a state other than the State of Louisiana, and with its principal place of business in the State of Florida.[2]
Westfield Insurance Company is a foreign insurance corporation organized and existing under the laws of a state other than the State of Louisiana, and with its principal place of business in the State of Ohio.[3]
GEICO [Government Employees Insurance Company] is a foreign insurance corporation organized and existing under the laws of a state other than the State of Louisiana, and with its principal place of business in Washington, D.C.[4]

When jurisdiction depends on citizenship, the citizenship of each party must be distinctly and affirmatively alleged in accordance with § 1332(a) and (c).[5]

Under § 1332(c)(1) a corporation is deemed to be a citizen of any state in which it is incorporated, and of the state in which it has its principal place of business.

Removing defendants’ jurisdictional allegations as to defendants ACICF, Westfield and GEICO are not sufficient to establish diversity jurisdiction. Although none are incorporated in Louisiana, what matters for diversity jurisdiction is that they not be incorporated in Mississippi - the state where the plaintiffs are citizens. Being incorporated in a state other than Louisiana leaves open the possibility of incorporation in Mississippi.

Therefore;

IT IS ORDERED that removing defendants Westfield Insurance Company, Timothy Sorel and Studio 601, Inc., shall have seven days to file an Amended Notice of Removal which properly alleges the citizenship of defendants Westfield Insurance Company, Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida and Government Employees Insurance Company.

Failure to comply with this order may result in the case being remanded for lack of subject matter jurisdiction without further notice.


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