Lundquist appealed a district court judgment that determined his domicile to be in New Hampshire instead of Florida, claiming that the district court made a judgment regarding his residence, rather than his domicile.
A party’s domicile is determined by residence, employment, social ties, property ownership, and political rights.
Lundquist sued Precision Valley Aviation, Inc. (Precision) under diversity jurisdiction. Lundquist claimed to reside in Massachusetts, while the defendants sought to dismiss for a lack of diversity claiming that Lundquist was a citizen of New Hampshire. Lundquist objected and sought to allege Florida citizenship. Lundquist owned property in both New Hampshire and Florida, but New Hampshire was his summer home. Lundquist paid property taxes in New Hampshire, had state filings in New Hampshire, had a driver’s license in New Hampshire, and registered to vote in New Hampshire. Lundquist also opened a bank account, obtained a driver’s license, filed taxes, ran a farm, and was involved in social clubs in Florida. The district court determined that Lundquist was a citizen of New Hampshire for diversity purposes.
Whether a party’s domicile is determined solely by where he decides for the purposes of diversity jurisdiction?
No. The district court’s judgment is affirmed. New Hampshire’s voting statute makes it clear that registering to vote represents domicile within the state. Similarly, New Hampshire law requires the director and secretary of companies incorporated in the state to be residents of New Hampshire.
Diversity jurisdiction requires diversity of citizenship in federal court, meaning the plaintiff cannot be a citizen of the same state as any defendant. Domicile is determined at the time the claim is filed and does not change if the parties move. Citizenship means domicile for diversity purposes.