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Kyle Brown v. Depuy Mitek

December 27, 2012

KYLE BROWN
v.
DEPUY MITEK, LLC, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Percy Anderson, United States District Judge

JS-6

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

Present: The Honorable PERCY ANDERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Paul Songco Not Reported N/A

Deputy Clerk Court Reporter Tape No.

Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants:

None None

Proceedings: IN CHAMBERS -- COURT ORDER

Before the Court is a Notice of Removal filed by defendants DePuy Mitek, LLC, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, and Shane Pierce ("Defendants") on December 3, 2012. [Docket No. 1.] Defendants assert that this Court has jurisdiction over the action brought against it by plaintiff Kyle Brown ("Plaintiff") based on the Court's diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff's Complaint alleges a number of state law causes action against Defendants, including claims based on strict products liability and negligence, for injuries arising from a medical device implant he received. Defendants manufacture and distribute the medical device at issue in this litigation.

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S. Ct. 1673, 1675, 128 L. Ed. 2d 391 (1994). A suit filed in state court may be removed to federal court if the federal court would have had original jurisdiction over the suit. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). A removed action must be remanded to state court if the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). "The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction is on the party seeking removal, and the removal statute is strictly construed against removal jurisdiction." Prize Frize, Inc. v. Matrix (U.S.) Inc., 167 F.3d 1261, 1265 (9th Cir. 1999). "Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992).

Diversity of Citizenship

In attempting to invoke this Court's diversity jurisdiction, Defendants must prove that there is complete diversity of citizenship between the parties and that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. To establish citizenship for diversity purposes, a natural person must be a citizen of the United States and be domiciled in a particular state. Kantor v. Wellesley Galleries, Ltd., 704 F.2d 1088, 1090 (9th Cir. 1983). Persons are domiciled in the places they reside with the intent to remain or to which they intend to return. See Kanter v. Warner-Lambert Co., 265 F.3d 853, 857 (9th Cir. 2001). "A person residing in a given state is not necessarily domiciled there, and thus is not necessarily a citizen of that state." Id. For the purposes of diversity jurisdiction, a corporation is a citizen of any state where it is incorporated and of the state where it has its principal place of business.

28 U.S.C. § 1332(c); see also Indus. Tectonics, Inc. v. Aero Alloy, 912 F.2d 1090, 1092 (9th Cir. 1990).

The Notice of Removal states that "[D]efendants assume that Plaintiff is a citizen of California based on his allegation that he is a resident of California, and based on hsi filing of his Complaint in California state court." (Notice of Removal at 2-3 (citing Complaint at ΒΆ 1).) However, Plaintiff's Complaint only alleges his residence. Defendants' allegations of Plaintiff's citizenship, based on an allegation of residence, are insufficient to establish Plaintiff's citizenship. "Absent unusual circumstances, a party seeking to invoke diversity jurisdiction should be able to allege affirmatively the actual citizenship of the relevant parties." Kanter, 265 F.3d at 857; Bradford v. Mitchell Bros. Truck , 217 F. Supp. 525, 527 (N.D. Cal. 1963) ("A petition ...


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