United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
JENISA A. BRENNECKE, individually and as special administrator of the estates of Marleen L. Comiskey and M. Marie Comiskey Plaintiff,
GERTRUDE F. LUDMER, U-HAUL INTERNATIONAL, INC. and INTACT INSURANCE CO., Defendants.
D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE
personal injury suit against defendant Gertrude F. Ludmer and
her insurers, U-Haul International, Inc. and Intact Insurance
Co. Plaintiff Jenisa A. Bennecke alleges that Ludmer
negligently crashed a car towing a U-Haul trailer into
another vehicle, which was occupied by Marleen Comiskey and
M. Marie Comiskey. The Comiskeys were fatally injured.
Brennecke is Marleen's sister and administrator of the
Ludmer and Intact Insurance Co. removed this case from the
Circuit Count for Dane County, Wisconsin. Dkt. 2. Because the
notice of removal does not show that the court can exercise
jurisdiction over the case, the court will give defendants an
opportunity to file supplemental materials to cure the
deficiencies. If they fail to do so, the court will remand
the case to state court.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.”
Int'l Union of Operating Eng'rs, Local 150 v.
Ward, 563 F.3d 276, 280 (7th Cir. 2009). Unless the
party invoking federal jurisdiction establishes complete
diversity of citizenship among the parties and an amount in
controversy exceeding $75, 000, or raises a federal question,
the court must dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.
Smart v. Local 702 Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers,
562 F.3d 798, 802 (7th Cir. 2009). Federal courts “have
an independent obligation to determine whether subject-matter
jurisdiction exists, even when no party challenges it.”
Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 94 (2010). The
party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of
establishing that jurisdiction is proper. Smart, 562
F.3d at 802-03.
rely solely on 28 U.S.C. § 1332 as a basis for
jurisdiction. That statute requires complete diversity of
citizenship between the parties and an amount in controversy
greater than $75, 000. Complete diversity means that none of
the defendants can be a citizen of the same state as the
plaintiff. See Smart, 562 F.3d at 803. Here,
defendants have sufficiently alleged that Brennecke is a
citizen of Illinois and Ludmer is a citizen of Arizona. They
also allege that there is more than $75, 000 in controversy.
But defendants have not adequately alleged the citizenship of
U-Haul or Intact, nor have they made any allegations that
would permit the court to determine the citizenship of
Marleen L. Comiskey and M. Marie Comiskey.
allege that both U-Haul and Intact are corporations. A
corporation is a citizen of its state of incorporation and
the state where it has its principal place of business.
Hertz, 559 U.S. at 88. Here, defendants state that
U-Haul is an “out of state domestic corporation with
its registered agent being The Corporation Trust Company of
Nevada, 701 S. Cason Street, Suite 200, Carson City, Nevada
89701.” Dkt. 2, ¶ 3. They do not specify
U-Haul's state of incorporation or the state where it has
its principal place of business. As for Intact, defendants
state that it is a “foreign corporation” with its
principal place of business in Toronto, Canada. Id.
But they do not state specifically where it is incorporated;
they simply assert that it is foreign. Defendants must allege
U-Haul's state of incorporation and principal place of
business, as well as Intact's state or country of
also provide no allegations that would permit the court to
determine the citizenship of Marleen L. Comiskey and M. Marie
Comiskey. Because Brennecke is suing in her capacity as the
legal representative of the estates of the Comiskeys in
addition to on her own behalf, it is necessary to determine
not only Brennecke's citizenship, but also the
citizenship of the decedents at the time they died. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(c)(2) (“[T]he legal representative of the
estate of a decedent shall be deemed to be a citizen only of
the same State as the decedent[.]”); Hunter v.
Amin, 583 F.3d 486, 491-92 (7th Cir. 2009) (no subject
matter jurisdiction under § 1332 in case brought by
representative of estate without showing decedent's
citizenship at time of death). It may be that the Comiskeys
were citizens of Wisconsin, the state in which their estates
are pending. See Dkt. 2-1, ¶ 1. But the court
cannot simply assume that. Defendants must allege the state
or states in which the Comiskeys were citizens.
court will give defendants an opportunity to file
supplemental materials showing that U-Haul, Intact, and the
Comiskeys' citizenship is diverse. If defendants fail to
make that showing, I will remand the case to state court.
ORDERED that defendants may have until March 19, 2019, to
show cause why this case should not be remanded to state