Brief Fact Summary.
A jury awarded Appellees, husband and wife,$5,000 and $15,000, respectively, in an action they brought against Appellant, their landlord, who had been watching them through “two-way” mirrors that had been installed in their apartment. The landlord moved to dismiss at the close of Appellees’ case at trial, for lack of jurisdiction. The district court denied the motion. The landlord appealed.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Until she acquires a new domicile, she remains a domiciliary, and thus a citizen, of Mississippi.View Full Point of Law
Appellees, husband and wife, rented an apartment from Appellant in Louisiana after they were married at the wife’s home in Mississippi. Appellee/husband was a citizen of France. Appellant/landlord was a citizen of Louisiana. The apartment was located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Appellees obtained a federal district court judgment against the landlord for damages incurred after they discovered that the apartment had “two-way” mirrors, through which the landlord had been watching them for three of the first several months of their marriage. Appellant moved to dismiss for lack of diversity jurisdiction. The district court denied the motion. The landlord appealed.
Did the district court have diversity jurisdiction in this proceeding?
Yes. The federal judicial power extended to the claims of the husband, a citizen of France, as well as the wife, who was a citizen of Mississippi for diversity purposes. Also, the jurisdictional amount, determined by the amount clamed by the Appellants in good faith, was satisfied.
The federal judicial power extended to the claims of the husband, a citizen of France, under 28 USC 1332(a)(2); the wife was a citizen of Mississippi for diversity purposes so the court had jurisdiction over her claims under 28 USC 1332(a)(1). The wife’s domicile did not change because of her marriage to a French citizen, nor did it change to Louisiana, where she lived while pursuing graduate studies and lacked the intention to remain. Also, the amount in controversy is the amount claimed by the plaintiff in good faith; in this case, Appellants each alleged injury in the amount of $100,000, and the fact of the $5,000 actually recovery by the Appellee/husband was not compelling.