United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. BURKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
are several motions pending before the Court: (1) Motion to
Dismiss (Doc 5); (2) “Plaintiff's Response for an
Order Finding Diversity and Subject-Matter Jurisdiction
Exists Pursuant to Rule 15” (Doc. 12), which the Court
has construed as a response to the Motion to Dismiss; (3)
Motion to Dismiss Thirteenth Dimension (Doc. 16); and (4)
Renewed Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 18). The Court also entered
an order (Doc. 14) directing defendant Thirteenth Dimension,
LLC (“Thirteenth Dimension”) to obtain
counsel. These filings raise a variety of issues
that the Court will address separately below.
November 15, 2018, plaintiff Dwayne O'Neal
(“plaintiff”) filed a complaint against
defendants Farmers Insurance Company, Inc., Mid-Century
Insurance Company, Inc., Leah Goslee (collectively,
“Farmers”), and Geronda Gendron
(“Gendron”). On November 8, 2018, Farmers filed a
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 5), arguing lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. On November 13, 2018, plaintiff filed an
amended complaint (Doc. 10) against Farmers and Tina Sheldon
(“Sheldon”). Gendron was not listed as a defendant
with the other defendants; therefore, the Court assumes that
she is no longer a defendant. On November 13, 2018, plaintiff
also filed a response (Doc. 12) to the Motion to Dismiss.
November 14, 2018, the Court issued an order (Doc. 14)
directing plaintiff Thirteenth Dimension to obtain counsel by
November 21, 2018. On November 20, 2018, plaintiff filed a
response (Doc. 15) to that order, requesting that the Court
permit him to represent Thirteenth Dimension, or, in the
alternative, give him additional time to obtain counsel on
behalf of Thirteenth Dimension. Then, on November 26, 2018,
plaintiff filed a Motion for Order Dismissing Thirteenth
Dimension (Doc. 16). On November 29, 2018, Farmers filed a
Renewed Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 18). On November 29, 2018,
the Court issued an order to show cause, directing plaintiff
to respond to the Renewed Motion to Dismiss and to
demonstrate why subject matter jurisdiction exists. On
November 30, 2018, plaintiff filed a response (Doc. 20) to
the order to show cause.
Court will first address the issue of Thirteenth
Dimension's lack of legal representation and then the
issue of subject matter jurisdiction.
Court has stated in its November 14 order (Doc. 14), a legal
entity may not proceed pro se. The Court also advised
Thirteenth Dimension that it must obtain representation by
November 21, 2018. That deadline has passed, and no attorney
has entered an appearance on behalf of Thirteenth Dimension.
And, while plaintiff cannot act as counsel for Thirteenth
Dimension, the Court has reviewed his response (Doc. 15) to
the November 14 order, as well as the Motion to Dismiss
Thirteenth Dimension (Doc. 16) filed by plaintiff. Therefore,
the Court will dismiss Thirteenth Dimension from this lawsuit
due to lack of proper representation.
Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction
response to plaintiff's amended complaint (Doc. 10),
Farmers filed a Renewed Motion to Dismiss (Doc.
Farmers argues that the Court does not have subject matter
jurisdiction because complete diversity does not exist.
Specifically, Farmers asserts that plaintiff and Sheldon are
both residents of Alabama and therefore there is not complete
response, plaintiff appears to argue that removing Sheldon as
a defendant will cure the defect and, as a result, diversity
jurisdiction will exist. Plaintiff then appears to request
permission to amend his complaint to dismiss Sheldon as a
1332(a) states that district courts shall have original
jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in
controversy exceeds $75, 000 and is between “citizens
of different States.” Id. at §
1332(a)(1). “This statute and its predecessors have
consistently been held to require complete diversity of
citizenship. That is, diversity jurisdiction does not exist
unless each defendant is a citizen of a different
State from each plaintiff.” Owen Equip.
& Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 373-74
(1978) (emphasis in original).
plaintiff amends his complaint and removes Sheldon as a
defendant, it appears that the basis of Farmers' Renewed
Motion to Dismiss will be moot. Because Rule 15 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure commands the Court to freely
give leave to amend, the Court will permit plaintiff to amend
his complaint to remove Sheldon as a defendant. However, the
Court cautions plaintiff that it will not look ...