IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION
October 5, 2011
PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
MICHELLE E. CUNNINGHAM, ETC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
Prudential Insurance Company of America ("Prudential") has filed a Complaint in Interpleader against Michelle Cunningham (both in her individual capacity and as guardian of her three minor children), invoking the diversity of citizenship branch of federal jurisdiction as the predicate for instituting its action in this District Court. Although this Court is contemporaneously issuing its customary initial scheduling order, the addition of this sua sponte memorandum is occasioned by a questionable aspect of the Complaint's allegations as to Cunningham's citizenship.
This Court's threshold obligation as to any action assigned to its calendar is to confirm the existence of subject matter jurisdiction (see, e.g., Wis. Knife Works v. Nat'l Metal Crafters, 781 F.2d 1280, 1282 (7th Cir. 1986)). In this instance Complaint ¶¶3 and 4 state that upon information and belief, Michelle Cunningham "has a mailing address c/o Michael Mulcahy, Esq., Vedder Price, P.C., 222 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60601." But that of course provides no hard information as to Cunningham's state of citizenship and, hence, as to the requisite diversity.
Because of what appears to be the likelihood (although not a certainty) that Cunningham is herself an Illinois citizen, this Court is going forward with the litigation by setting an initial status hearing date. In the meantime, however, Prudential's counsel is expected to pursue the matter so that it can be ascertained at the earliest possible time whether or not this lawsuit belongs in this federal court.
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