Diversity jurisdiction problem set: questions

About: Here are some hypos used in class, or variants thereof. Unless otherwise indicated, assume that all matters take place in federal court.

Instructions: Don’t look at the explanations until you have answered all the questions.

Question 1: Scope of Constitutional and statutory diversity.

P (citizen of Florida), sues D1 (citizen of Georgia) and D2 (citizen of Florida) for negligence for $500. Defendants argue that the Constitution and the diversity statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), both bar subject-matter jurisdiction over the suit. Are they correct?

Question 2: Establishing citizenship.

Paul, a citizen of Massachusetts, accepts a wonderful new job in Miami, Florida and decides to move to Ft. Lauderdale. While driving down to Florida, he gets into a car accident in Georgia with Debbie, a citizen of Florida. While stuck in the hospital in Georgia, Paul sues Debbie in Florida federal court for $100,000. Debbie moves to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, arguing that Paul should be treated as a citizen of Florida. Will Debbie succeed?

Question 3: Timing of diversity.

Same facts as # 2, but Paul files suit after he moves to Florida. Debbie moves to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Will Debbie succeed?

Question 4: Multiple residences.

Paul has lived in Massachusetts his entire life and has a home there. In 2005, he bought a vacation home in Miami Beach that he stays in during the summers but otherwise still lives in Massachusetts. Can he sue Debbie (a Florida citizen) in federal court on a state-law negligence claim?

Question 5: Representative diversity.

Patrick (citizen of Florida) gets into a bar fight with Danny (citizen of Georgia). Patrick later dies due to an unrelated medical condition. His brother, Eddie (citizen of Georgia) serves as executor and files suit against Danny on behalf of Patrick’s estate. Danny moves to dismiss for lack of diversity jurisdiction. Will he succeed?

Question 6: Foreign litigants I.

Pamela (citizen of Florida) gets into a bar fight in Miami with Caroline (citizen or subject of France). Pamela files suit against Caroline in the Southern District of Florida for $100,000. Is there subject-matter jurisdiction?

Question 7: Foreign litigants II.

Same facts as question 6, but assume that Caroline has moved to Miami, and although still having French citizenship, has obtained lawful permanent resident status in the United States. Is subject-matter jurisdiction appropriate?

Question 8. Foreign litigants III.

Pierre (citizen of France) gets into a bar fight in Miami with Hans (citizen of Germany). Pierre sues Hans in the Southern District of Florida for battery seeking $100,000. Both men are lawful permanent residents of the United States. Peter lives in Florida and Hans lives in New York. Is subject-matter jurisdiction appropriate under the 2011 revisions to Section 1332? Is subject-matter jurisdiction appropriate under the former version of Section 1332?

Question 9. Foreign litigants IV.

Same facts as question 8, but imagine that it was a four-person fight. Now Pierre (France) and Betty (Florida) sue Hans (Germany) and Veronica (New York). Subject-matter jurisdiction?

Question 10. Corporate diversity I.

Peter (citizen of Arkansas) enters into a contract with Mall-Mart, Inc. a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Arkansas. May Peter sue Mall-Mart in federal court for breach of contract?

Question 11. Corporate diversity II.

Pamela (citizen of Florida) enters into a contract with Bisney, Inc. a Delaware corporation with theme parks in Florida and California. The Florida theme park is 20% of the company’s business, and the California theme park is 25%. Movies distributed throughout the country constitute 30% of the company’s business. The remaining 25% of the company’s business is spread around the country. The company’s headquarters are located in Orlando, Florida. Can Pamela invoke diversity jurisdiction?

Question 12. Citizenship of partnerships and unincorporated associations.

Paul (Florida) wants to sue Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe, a general law partnership operating out of Atlanta, Georgia. Its three partners are citizens of Georgia, Louisiana, and Florida. May Paul invoke diversity jurisdiction?

Question 13. Amount in controversy I.

Paul (citizen of Florida) sues Debbie (citizen of Georgia) for negligence, seeking in good faith $80,000 for his medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. At trial, he was only awarded $70,000 because the jury found that Paul’s pain and suffering was somewhat less than he argued. As subject-matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time, was diversity of citizenship lacking?

Question 14. Amount in controversy II.

Paul (citizen of Florida) sues Dialco, Inc. (Delaware corporation with principal place of business in California) in Florida court seeking recovery under a state “unsolicited instant messaging” statute that prohibits unsolicited instant messages. The statute limits recovery to $1000 statutory damages per unsolicited instant message, and prohibits any other sort of remedy (including but not limited to injunction, actual or consequential damages, punitive damages, or attorneys fees). Paul alleges that he has received 10 unsolicited instant messages and seeks $100,000 in damages. Is the amount in controversy satisfied?

Question 15. Amount in controversy III.

Western Legal Publishing Co., Inc. (citizen of Florida and Delaware) sues a brand-new law book company, West Legal Publishing Co. (citizen of Nevada and California) in federal court under state law for trademark infringement. Western seeks an injunction. Western hasn’t yet suffered any harm (because West Legal hadn’t yet started operations), so the value of an injunction at this time to plaintiff is minimal. The cost to West Legal, however, will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Is the amount in controversy met?

Question 16. Aggregation I.

Paul (citizen of Florida) sues Debbie (citizen of Georgia) for negligence ($50,000), and an unrelated breach of contract ($50,000). Is the amount in controversy met?

Question 17. Aggregation II.

Paul and Penny are hurt in a car accident., Paul (citizen of Florida) sues Debbie (citizen of Georgia) for negligence ($50,000). In the same suit, Penny (citizen of Florida) joins a claim against Debbie for negligence ($50,000). Is the amount in controversy met?

Question 18. Aggregation III.

Paul (Florida) sues Car Dealer (Georgia) because the $50,000 Furrari car he bought from Car Dealer turned out to be a lemon. Paul’s complaint alleges three Counts: I) Breach of Warranty for $50,000; II) Negligent Misrepresentation for $50,000; and III) Fraud for $50,000. Is the amount in controversy met?

Last revised Aug. 22, 2016 (adding Q #16-18)