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Thomas v. Tokio Marine America Insurance Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

October 28, 2014

DAVID THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
TOKIO MARINE AMERICA INSURANCE COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

ROGER B. COSBEY, Magistrate Judge.

This case was filed in this Court on October 27, 2014, based on diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). (Docket # 1.) The complaint alleges that at all material times, "Plaintiff David N. Thomas was a resident of Winchester, Kentucky, " and "upon information and belief..., Defendant[] Thomas W. Griffiths is and was an individual resident of Fort Wayne, Indiana...." (Compl. ¶¶ 1-2.) It further reflects that Defendant Tokio Marine America Insurance Company "is a corporation organized under the laws of the State of New York and is licensed to do business in the [S]tate of Indiana, and in fact conducts business in the State of Indiana." (Compl. ¶ 3.)

The complaint is inadequate in several ways. First, it is well-settled that "[a]llegations of federal subject matter jurisdiction may not be made on the basis of information and belief, only personal knowledge." Yount v. Shashek, No. Civ. 06-753-GPM, 2006 WL 4017975, at *10 n.1 (S.D. Ill.Dec. 7, 2006) (citing Am.'s Best Inns, Inc. v. Best Inns of Abilene, L.P., 980 F.2d 1072, 1074 (7th Cir. 1992)); Ferolie Corp. v. Advantage Sales & Mktg., LLC, No. 04 C 5425, 2004 WL 2433114, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 28, 2004); Hayes v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, No. 02 C 9106, 2003 WL 187411, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 21, 2003). Consequently, Plaintiff must amend his complaint to allege citizenship on the basis of personal knowledge rather than belief.

Second, as to Plaintiff David Thomas and Defendant Thomas Griffiths, residency of an individual is meaningless for purposes of diversity jurisdiction; an individual's citizenship is determined by his or her domicile. Dakuras v. Edwards, 312 F.3d 256, 258 (7th Cir. 2002); see Heinen v. Northrop Grumman Corp., 671 F.3d 669, 670 (7th Cir. 2012) ("But residence may or may not demonstrate citizenship, which depends on domicile-that is to say, the state in which a person intends to live over the long run."); Guar. Nat'l Title Co. v. J.E.G. Assocs., 101 F.3d 57, 58-59 (7th Cir. 1996) (explaining that statements concerning a party's "residency" are not proper allegations of citizenship as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1332); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Therefore, the Court must be advised of the individual parties' domicile, rather than their residence, as the former determines citizenship.

Finally, as to Defendant Tokio Marine Insurance Company, corporations "are deemed to be citizens of the state in which they are incorporated and the state in which they have their principal place of business." N. Trust Co. v. Bunge Corp., 899 F.2d 591, 594 (7th Cir. 1990); see 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1). The term "principal place of business" refers to the corporation's "nerve center"-the place where a corporation's officers direct, control, and coordinate the corporation's activities. Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 92-93 (2010). Therefore, Plaintiff's allegation that Tokio Marine is "licensed to do business... and in fact conducts business" is inadequate to determine its citizenship for purposes of determining diversity jurisdiction.

Therefore, Plaintiff is ORDERED to supplement the record on or before November 12, 2014, by filing an Amended Complaint that properly recites each party's citizenship.

SO ORDERED.


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