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Gordon v. Steele

Citation. 376 F. Supp. 575 (W.D. Pa. 1974)
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Brief Fact Summary.

Plaintiff, a college student living in Idaho, filed a malpractice action against defendants, all of whom were Pennsylvania citizens, in Pennsylvania federal court. Jurisdiction was based on diversity. Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of diversity.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

The possibility of moving in the future or even of returning to a prior domicile does not defeat an individual acquiring a new domicile.


Plaintiff alleged that she hurt her wrist in February, 1972, and that she suffered injuries as a result of defendants’ wrongful diagnosis of her injuries. Before August 9, 1972, Plaintiff lived in Pennsylvania with her parents. On August 9, 1972, she rented an apartment in Idaho, where she moved to attend college. Plaintiff’s malpractice lawsuit against defendants was filed in federal court in Pennsylvania, based on diversity of citizenship, on April 10, 1973. Defendants were all citizens of Pennsylvania. Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of diversity.


For the purpose of diversity jurisdiction, was Plaintiff a citizen of Idaho so that diversity jurisdiction could be maintained?


Yes, for purposes of diversity jurisdiction Plaintiff was a citizen of Idaho, based on the facts presented and in light of Plaintiff’s connection with Idaho and her intention not to return to Pennsylvania for the foreseeable future.


Based on a number of facts specific to Plaintiff, considering her connection with Idaho and her intention not to return to Pennsylvania and the apartment she lived in and maintained year round in Idaho, the court concluded that Plaintiff was a citizen of Idaho for purposes of diversity jurisdiction.

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