Name of Assigned Judge Harry Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge D. Leinenweber than Assigned Judge
For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's motion, including its request for a stay of proceedings and a hearing on the merits, is denied in its entirety. Status hearing set for 3/6/2012 at 9:00 a.m.
O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.
This is a trade secrets case that was originally filed September 22, 2011 in the Circuit Court of Lake County. Defendants removed to this Court, with federal jurisdiction grounded in diversity of citizenship of the parties.
28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff challenges the removal, alleging one Defendant's contention of citizenship may be false and asks for discovery and a stay of the proceedings. The motion is denied in its entirety.
Defendants alleged Plaintiff has its principle place of business in Illinois and that all Defendants are residents of California. Defendants' counsel filed appropriate declarations by Defendants to support those contentions. Plaintiff's motion argues it has "reasonable belief and good cause to suspect the allegations concerning [Defendant Patricia] Blecker's residency and citizenship for the purpose of removal of this action are false."
Plaintiff bases its motion upon "an examination of the address" Blecker listed in her declaration, 5195 Corte Estima, #108, Camarillo, California. That "examination" was an internet search producing a hit on www.merchantcircle.com for that same address under a business listing of "Spooner." Based on this alone, Plaintiff seeks targeted discovery to establish the citizenship of Blecker and requests a stay all of all activity related to this suit until citizenship is conclusively established.
Defendant responded with copies of Ms. Blecker's lease agreement beginning June 30, 2011; her electric bill, reflecting usage of electricity in July of 2011; her renter's insurance policy effective June 30, 2011; and a copy of Ms. Blecker's driver's license. All documents bear Ms. Blecker's name and the Corte Estima address.
Moreover, Defendant's counsel avers that he took the internet "Spooner" listing given to him by Plaintiff's counsel and called the telephone number listed. The person answering identified himself as a "Mr. Spooner," Defendant's counsel represents, and informed counsel that ...