United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court are defendants Donna Moore, Louis Moore, Giselle
Jackson, and Donald Julien & Associates, Inc's
(collectively “defendants”) motion to dismiss for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction (Rec. Doc. 11), plaintiff
Rickey Nelson Jones's response to motion to dismiss and
cross motion for order of default (Rec. Doc. 13),
defendants' response to plaintiff's cross motion for
order of default (Rec. Doc. 15) and reply to plaintiff's
response to defendants' motion to dismiss (Rec. Doc. 20),
and plaintiff's sur-reply to defendants' motion to
dismiss (Rec. Doc. 23). For the reasons discussed below,
IT IS ORDERED that the motion to dismiss for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction is
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the cross motion for order
of default is DENIED.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
is a resident of Maryland. See Rec. Doc. 1 at 2. He
is the personal representative of his mother's will and
independent court appointed executor and administrator of his
mother's estate. See id. Plaintiff's mother
died while domiciled in the Parish of Orleans, state of
Louisiana. See Rec. Doc. 11-1 at 2. Defendants are
residents of Louisiana. See id. at 1.
brings this breach of contract action asserting diversity
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. See
Rec. Doc. 1 at 2. The contract concerns plaintiff's
mother's real property located at 3430 Franklin Avenue,
New Orleans, Louisiana (“the Property”).
See Rec. Doc. 1-1 at 2. Plaintiff's mother's
will states that the Property is to be sold and the proceeds
are to be distributed equally amongst five individuals,
including plaintiff. See Rec. Doc. 20 at 1. The
succession of plaintiff's mother is filed in the Civil
District Court of the Parish Orleans, State of Louisiana.
See Rec. Doc. 11-1 at 2.
January 9, 2019, defendants filed a motion to dismiss for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. See Rec. Doc.
11. On January 11, 2019, plaintiff filed a response and cross
motion for order of default. See Rec. Doc. 13. On
January 17, 2019, defendants filed a response to
plaintiff's cross motion for order of default.
See Rec. Doc. 15. On January 23, 2019, defendants
filed a reply to plaintiff's response to defendants'
motion to dismiss. See Rec. Doc. 20. On March 1,
2019, plaintiff filed a sur-reply to defendants' motion
to dismiss. See Rec. Doc. 23.
Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. See Orlean
Shoring, LLC v. Patterson, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36105,
at *6 (E.D. La. 2011). “Because federal courts are
courts of limited jurisdiction, absent jurisdiction conferred
by statute, they lack the power to adjudicate claims.”
Buck Kreihs Co. v. Ace Fire Underwriters Ins. Co.,
2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12442, at *6 (E.D. La. 2004).
Therefore, federal courts must dismiss lawsuits whenever it
appears that subject matter jurisdiction is lacking. See
Buck Kreihs Co., 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12442, at *7.
12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a
party to move for dismissal of a complaint for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction. “A 12(b)(1) motion may be
appropriate . . . where a defendant alleges that there is no
diversity of citizenship between the parties, jurisdictional
amount, and/or the plaintiff's claim does not involve a
federal question.” Id. at *6. “A federal
court cannot adjudicate a case without proper subject matter
jurisdiction.” Pilgrim Bank v. Imperial Fire &
Cas. Ins. Co., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29299, at *5 (W.D.
deciding whether subject matter jurisdiction is lacking,
”a court may evaluate (1) the complaint alone, (2) the
complaint supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced in the
record, or (3) the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts
plus the court's resolution of disputed facts.”
Buck Kreihs Co., 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12442, at *6.
All uncontroverted allegations of the complaint must be
accepted as true. See id. “The party asserting
jurisdiction bears the burden of proof on a Rule 12(b)(1)
motion to dismiss and must show that jurisdiction
exists.” Lipscomb v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., 2012
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72955, at *3 (E.D. La. 2012).
diversity jurisdiction to exist, the amount in controversy
must exceed $75, 000, and there must be complete diversity
between the plaintiff and defendants. See Plaquemines
Parish v. BEPCO, L.P., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87880, at
*29 (E.D. La. 2015). Complete diversity means that a
plaintiff may not be a citizen of the same state as the
defendants. See Pilgrim Bank, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
29299, at *5. There is no dispute here as to the amount in
controversy. The dispute here is whether there is complete
diversity between plaintiff and defendants. Specifcally, the
dispute is whether plaintiff is a Louisiana or Maryland
citizen for diversity purposes. It is undisputed that
defendants are Louisiana citizens for diversity purposes.
diversity between plaintiff and defendants is absent here.
Based on submitted matters of record, plaintiff entered into
a contract with defendants to sell the Property to distribute
the proceeds of the Property amongst the five individuals
listed in his mother's will. See Rec. Doc. 20 at
1 (quoting plaintiff's mother's last will and
testament). Plaintiff engaged in such action to carry out his
fiduciary responsibility as the court appointed executor and
administrator of his mother's estate. See La.
Code Civ. Proc. art. 3191; see also Rec. Doc. 1 at 2
(stating that plaintiff has a fiduciary responsibility for
the Property). Plaintiff offers no evidence that he, in his