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Larry Young and Glenn Young v. Debra Reed

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


January 10, 2012

LARRY YOUNG AND GLENN YOUNG, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
DEBRA REED, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge:

ORDER ON THRESHOLD JURISDICTIONAL REVIEW

On November 22, 2011, Larry and Glenn Young filed suit against Debra Reed in Franklin County Circuit Court, alleging personal injury arising from a vehicular accident. Served on December 13, Reed timely removed the action to this federal district court pursuant to the federal diversity statute, 28 U.S.C. 1332, which requires complete diversity of citizenship among the parties plus an amount in controversy exceeding $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs.

The case was randomly assigned to the undersigned District Judge, whose first task it is to verify that subject matter jurisdiction lies. See Avila v. Pappas, 591 F.3d 552, 553 (7th Cir. 2010)("The first question in every case is whether the court has jurisdiction"); Johnson v. Wattenbarger, 361 F.3d 991, 992 (7th Cir. 2004)("All too often both litigants and judges disregard their first duty in every suit: to determine the existence of subject-matter jurisdiction.").

The removal notice properly alleges the amount in controversy but falls short as to citizenship. Specifically, Reed alleges that "Larry G. Young is a resident of Williamson County, Illinois"; "Glenn Young is a resident of Franklin County, Illinois"; and "Debra L. Reed is a resident of Lincoln County, Missouri."

However, there is a distinction between residing in and being a citizen of a particular state. Seventh Circuit law plainly holds that residence does not equate to citizenship, and the latter controls for jurisdictional purposes. Pleading residence is inadequate to invoke diversity jurisdiction, the Seventh Circuit has emphatically and "repeatedly reminded litigants and district judges" alike. Craig v. Ontario Corp., 543 F.3d 872, 876 (7th Cir. 2008), citing Camico Mut. Ins. Co. v. Citizens Bank, 474 F.3d 989, 992, and Meyerson v. Harrah's East Chicago Casino, 299 F.3d 616, 617 (7th Cir. 2002).

Accordingly, the Court DIRECTS Reed's counsel to file an Amended Removal Notice by January 31, 2012, plainly alleging all aspects of diversity jurisdiction, including the citizenship of all parties.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Michael J. Reagan United States District Judge

20120110

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