United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
A. BRIMMER CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court takes up this matter sua sponte on
plaintiff's Complaint for Damages, Declaratory Judgment,
and Jury Demand [Docket No. 1]. Plaintiff asserts that this
Court has jurisdiction pursuant to “diversity.”
Docket No. 1 at 2, ¶ 13.
every case and at every stage of the proceeding, a federal
court must satisfy itself as to its own jurisdiction, even if
doing so requires sua sponte action. See
Citizens Concerned for Separation of Church & State v.
City & County of Denver, 628 F.2d 1289, 1297 (10th
Cir. 1980). Absent an assurance that jurisdiction exists, a
court may not proceed in a case. See Cunningham v. BHP
Petroleum Great Britain PLC, 427 F.3d 1238, 1245 (10th
Cir. 2005). Courts are well-advised to raise the issue of
jurisdiction on their own, regardless of parties'
apparent acquiescence. First, it is the Court's duty to
do so. Tuck v. United Servs. Auto. Ass'n, 859
F.2d 842, 844 (10th Cir. 1988). Second, regarding subject
matter jurisdiction, “the consent of the parties is
irrelevant, principles of estoppel do not apply, and a party
does not waive the requirement by failing to challenge
jurisdiction.” Ins. Corp. of Ireland v. Compagnie
des Bauxites de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694, 702 (1982)
(internal citations omitted). Finally, delay in addressing
the issue only compounds the problem if, despite much time
and expense having been dedicated to the case, a lack of
jurisdiction causes it to be dismissed. See U.S. Fire
Ins. Co. v. Pinkard Constr. Co., No.
09-cv-00491-PAB-MJW, 2009 WL 2338116, at *3 (D. Colo. July
party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of
establishing such jurisdiction as a threshold matter.”
Radil v. Sanborn W. Camps, Inc., 384 F.3d 1220, 1224
(10th Cir. 2004). Plaintiff asserts that
“[j]urisdiction is proper on the basis of
diversity.” Docket No. 1 at 2, ¶ 13. Diversity
jurisdiction stems from 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Pursuant to
that section, “district courts shall have original
jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in
controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive
of interest and costs, and is between . . . citizens of
different States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). The facts
presently alleged are insufficient to determine the
citizenship of either party or the amount in controversy.
the complaint states that “[o]n August 3, 2015, and all
times relevant hereto, plaintiff Pierre Powel . . . was a
resident of Colorado.” Docket No. 1 at 1, ¶ 1.
However, “an individual's state citizenship is
equivalent to domicile.” Smith v. Cummings,
445 F.3d 1254, 1259 (10th Cir. 2006). Residency is not
synonymous with domicile, see Mississippi Band of Choctaw
Indians v. Holyfield, 490 U.S. 30, 48 (1989)
(“‘Domicile' is not necessarily synonymous
with ‘residence,' and one can reside in one place
but be domiciled in another.”) (citations omitted), and
only the latter is determinative of a party's
citizenship. See Whitelock v. Leatherman, 460 F.2d
507, 514 (10th Cir. 1972) (“[A]llegations of mere
‘residence' may not be equated with
‘citizenship' for the purposes of establishing
diversity.”). Rather, “[t]o establish domicile in
a particular state, a person must be physically present in
the state and intend to remain there.”
Cummings, 445 F.3d at 1260. As such, the allegations
regarding plaintiff's residence do not permit the Court
to make a finding as to his citizenship.
the facts currently alleged are insufficient to determine
defendant Liberty Mutual Insurance Company's citizenship.
The complaint alleges that defendant “is a foreign
corporation registered in the state of Massachusetts.”
Docket No. 1 at 1, ¶ 2. A corporation is deemed to be a
citizen of “every State and foreign state by which it
has been incorporated and of the State or foreign state where
it has its principal place of business, ” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(c)(1). The present allegations are insufficient
to determine defendant's citizenship because the
complaint does not allege the state in which defendant
maintains its principal place of business. As a result, the
Court is unable to determine defendant's citizenship.
the complaint does not contain allegations from which the
Court could infer that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000. Plaintiff alleges that defendant's policies cover
him up to $250, 000 per person and $500, 000 per occurrence.
Docket No. 1 at 2, ¶ 11. Plaintiff also alleges that he
recovered $25, 000 from the at-fault driver's insurance
company through settlement. Id. at 4, ¶ 43.
But, as to his damages, plaintiff has only alleged that his
“injuries, damages, and losses exceed[ed] $25,
000.” Id. at 4, ¶ 45. Thus,
plaintiff's allegations as to the amount in controversy
the allegations are presently insufficient to allow the Court
to determine the citizenship of either party, the amount in
controversy, or whether the Court has jurisdiction, see
United States ex rel. General Rock & Sand Corp. v. Chuska
Dev. Corp., 55 F.3d 1491, 1495 (10th Cir. 1995)
(“The party seeking the exercise of jurisdiction in his
favor must allege in his pleading the facts essential to show
jurisdiction.” (internal quotation marks omitted)), it
that, on or before November 4, 2019,
plaintiff shall show cause why this case should not be
dismissed due to the ...