Every plaintiff bears the burden of alleging in his pleading a short and plain statement of the grounds upon which a court's jurisdiction depends. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(1). A plaintiff filing suit in a federal court must show in his pleading, affirmatively and distinctly, the existence of whatever is essential to federal jurisdiction; and if he does not do so, the court, on having the defect called to its attention or on discovering the same, must dismiss the case, unless the defect be corrected by amendment. For purposes of the diversity statute, a corporation shall be deemed a citizen of any state by which it has been incorporated and of the state where it has its principal place of business. 28 U.S.C.S. § 1332(c). Courts have interpreted § 1332(c) to mean that a party must allege a corporation's state of incorporation and principal place of business. The requirements of § 1332 and Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 are straightforward and the law demands strict adherence to them.
This was an asbestos case. The complaint incorporated by reference the master long form complaint filed in In re Asbestos Litigation, No. 86-0457. In a written order, the court dismissed the complain on the grounds that it failed to allege either the state of incorporation or the principal place of business of the defendants. The complaint therefore failed to show complete diversity and was jurisdictionally deficient. Plaintiff was granted ten days to file an amended complaint. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint.
Was the amended complaint jurisdictionally defective?
The court dismissed the amended complaint because it was jurisdictionally deficient. The court found that the amended complaint failed to properly allege the principal place of business of first defendant because it only made reference to the location of first defendant's registered office. It also found that plaintiff failed to allege in the amended complaint the principal place of business of second defendant or its state of incorporation because the amended complaint only made reference to the location of second defendant's domicile.