The opinion of the court was delivered by: Present: The Honorable Gary Allen Feess
Renee Fisher None N/A Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder Tape No.
Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants:
Proceedings: (In Chambers)
ORDER RE: MOTIONS TO REMAND AND DISMISS
Plaintiff Chris Silva brings this action against Defendants Fletcher Asset Management,*fn1 ("FAM"), BRG Investments, LLC ("BRG"), and Alphonse "Buddy" Fletcher, Jr. ("Fletcher"), alleging that Defendants tortiously breached a financing arrangement he had arranged between them and Seven Arts Pictures, PLC ("Seven Arts"). (Docket No 1., Not., Ex. C [First Am. Compl. ("FAC")].) The matter is presently before the Court on Silva's motion to remand the action to Los Angeles County Superior Court, and Defendants' motion to dismiss Silva's first amended complaint. (Docket Nos. 6, 7.) These motions were previously before the Court, but the Court deferred ruling on either motion until subject matter jurisdiction could be established. (Docket No. 12, 05/17/12 Order.) The 05/17/12 Order granted Silva limited jurisdictional discovery because the Court did not have sufficient information to determine the citizenship of Defendants FAM and Fletcher. (05/17/12 Order at 7.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Defendants' inadequate responses to Plaintiff's special interrogatories served in accordance with this Court's 05/17/12 Order were not made in good faith and are therefore deemed by the Court as an admission that full, complete and responsive answers to those interrogatories would have established that Fletcher is a California citizen. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion to remand and DISMISSES Defendants' motion to dismiss as MOOT.
The Court's 05/17/12 Order gave a full and detailed recitation of the facts and background of this case. The Court will presume the parties' familiarity with that Order.
It is apparent from the 05/17/12 Order that the issue of citizenship, both for Defendants FAM and Fletcher, was close. Regarding FAM, Defendants argued that it is a Delaware corporation with a principal place of business in New York. (Not. ¶ 18.) Plaintiff contended, however, that under the Supreme Court's "nerve center" test, FAM's principal place of business shifted to California. (Docket No. 7, [Mot. to Remand ("P-Mem.")] at 7.) Regarding Fletcher, Defendants allege that he is a citizen of Connecticut. (Not. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff argues that Fletcher is in fact legally a citizen of California. (P-Mem. at 4-7.)
Both parties pointed to numerous factors in support of their respective positions. The Court found that it could not rule on the record before it and accordingly permitted Plaintiff to engage in limited jurisdictional discovery. (05/17/12 Order at 6.) In reaction to the Court's Order, Plaintiff propounded one set of fifteen interrogatories, and had limited follow-up with Defendants. (Docket 15, ...