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Castellucci v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, C.D. California

October 16, 2019

Linda Castellucci
v.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

          Present: The Honorable PERCY ANDERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         Proceedings: IN CHAMBERS - COURT ORDER

         Before the Court is a Notice of Removal filed by defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“Defendant”). Defendant asserts that this Court has jurisdiction over the action brought against it by plaintiff Linda Castellucci (“Plaintiff”) based on the Court's diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

         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).

         In attempting to invoke this Court's diversity jurisdiction, Defendant 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). For the purposes of diversity jurisdiction, a national bank is “a citizen of the State in which its main office, as set forth in its articles of association, is located.” Wachovia Bank v. Schmidt, 546 U.S. 303, 307, 126 S.Ct. 941, 945, 163 L.Ed.2d 797 (2006) (construing 28 U.S.C. § 1348).

         In an effort to establish the Court's diversity jurisdiction, Defendant's Notice of Removal alleges:

“For purposes of diversity jurisdiction, a person is a citizen of the state in which he or she is domiciled. Newman-Green, Inc. v. Alfonzo-Larrain, 490 U.S. 826, 828 (1989). “[D]omicile is established by physical presence in a place in connection with a certain state of mind concerning one's intent to remain there.” Miss. Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, 490 U.S. 30, 48 (1989). Plaintiffs are “individuals residing in the Country of Los Angeles, State of California” (Ex. B, ¶ Compl. para 1). As a result, Plaintiff is a citizen of California for purposes of diversity jurisdiction.

(Notice of Removal ¶ 3.) As the Notice of Removal alleges, Defendant's support for its allegations concerning Plaintiff's citizenship relies solely on, relies solely on paragraphs 1of the Complaint that Plaintiff filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court. That paragraph of Plaintiff's Complaint alleges only Plaintiff's residence, and does not allege Plaintiff's state of domicile or citizenship. Because an individual is not necessarily domiciled where he or she resides, Defendant's allegations of Plaintiff's citizenship are insufficient to establish their 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 Lines, 217 F.Supp. 525, 527 (N.D. Cal. 1963) (“A petition [for removal] alleging diversity of citizenship upon information and belief is insufficient.”). As a result, Defendant's allegations are insufficient to invoke this Court's diversity jurisdiction.

         For the foregoing reasons, Defendant has failed to satisfy its burden of showing that diversity jurisdiction exists over this action. Accordingly, this action is hereby remanded to Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case No. 19STCV31681, for ...


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