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CARLISLE v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY
August 25, 2005.
WINFRED CARLISLE, et al., Plaintiffs,
FORD MOTOR COMPANY, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: MILTON SHADUR, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Winfred and Jamesetta Carlisle (collectively "Carlisles") have
just filed their Complaint at Law against Ford Motor Company
("Ford") for damages stemming from the rollover of the 1996 Ford
Explorer that husband Winfred was driving on Interstate Highway
65 in Indiana some four years ago. Although Carlisles' counsel
apparently seek to invoke federal jurisdiction on diversity of
citizenship grounds under 28 U.S.C. § 1332,*fn1 counsel's
inattention to the requirement of Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 8(a)
for including "a short and plain statement of the grounds upon
which the court's jurisdiction depends" (as well as the
deficiency in the Complaint's allegations in that regard) have
triggered this sua sponte opinion.
As to Carlisles themselves, Complaint ¶ 1 speaks of their
Chicago residence, not of their state of citizenship (which is
by definition the relevant fact for jurisdictional purposes see Held v. Held, 137 F.3d 998, 1000 (7th Cir. 1998)). That
error obviously needs correction. And the same is true as to
Ford, as to which Complaint ¶ 2 identifies only its state of
incorporation. One component of its dual corporate citizenship
under Section 1332(c) (1) is absent and needs to be provided.
Finally, each of the three Complaint counts inexplicably refers
to damages in excess of $50,000 (Count I ¶ 13, Count II ¶ 17,
Count III ¶ 21 and Count IV ¶ 23), numbers that bear no
relationship to the jurisdictional amount-in-controversy floor
under Section 1332. And it is not at all clear that two or more
of those ad damnum claims should be aggregated for jurisdictional
purposes. Again the Complaint falls short.
These errors are so fundamental and so pervasive that this
Court could well be justified in dismissing both the Complaint
and this action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (see,
e.g., Held as to the first deficiency alone). This Court is
loath however to stick Carlisles with a second $250 filing fee
because of their counsel's oversights. Accordingly the original
Complaint is stricken in order to facilitate the filing of a
self-contained Amended Complaint, which is required to be filed
in this Court's chambers (with a copy of course to be transmitted
contemporaneously to Ford or to its counsel, if known to Carlisles' counsel) on or before September 9, 2005.*fn2
Failing such a filing this Court will be constrained to dismiss
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