United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
YAKIMAS PAYNE, CARMENISHA PAYNE, and MAR'KEYONA FORD, Plaintiffs,
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINON AND ORDER
Lindsay United States District Judge
the court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand (Doc. 5), filed
February 28, 2019. After careful consideration of the motion,
response,  record, and applicable law, the court
denies Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand
Payne, Carmenisha Payne, and Mar'Keyona Ford
(collectively, “Plaintiffs”) originally filed
this action against Government Employees Insurance Company of
America (“Defendant” or “GEICO”) in
the 101st Judicial District Court of Dallas County, Texas, on
December 20, 2018. The lawsuit arises from a vehicular
accident that occurred on January 20, 2018. Plaintiffs
contend that Carmenisha Payne is insured under a policy she
has with GEICO that provides coverage for underinsured and
uninsured motorists. Plaintiffs seek recovery for bodily
injuries they sustained as a result of a “third-party
negligent driver.” The driver was not covered under a
valid insurance policy, and Plaintiffs, therefore, seek
damages for injuries they sustained under the coverage
provided in the policy for uninsured and underinsured
filed a Notice of Removal (“Notice”) on January
29, 2019, and removed the action from state court to federal
court. It contends that complete diversity of citizenship
exists between the parties and that the amount in
controversy, exclusive of costs and interest, exceeds $75,
acknowledge that diversity jurisdiction exists; however, they
contend that this action should be remanded because GEICO
“purposefully availed itself of the privilege of
conducting activities in the state of Texas and established
minimum contacts sufficient to confer jurisdiction over said
Defendant.” Pls.' Mot. to Remand 1, ¶ 1. They
also contend that “Defendant had continuous and
systematic contacts with the state of Texas sufficient to
establish general jurisdiction” over GEICO, and that
the action “arose from or relates to the contacts of
Defendant to the state of Texas, ” which allows the
court to exercise specific jurisdiction over GEICO.
Id. at 2, ¶¶ 2, 3.
counters that Plaintiffs' remand motion is
“meritless on its face” and that
“Plaintiffs admit that diversity jurisdiction is
present in this case.” Def.'s Resp. to Pls.'
Mot. to Remand 1. Defendant acknowledges that it does not
challenge the court's personal jurisdiction over it and
contends that “Plaintiffs have confused personal
jurisdiction with diversity jurisdiction.” The court
agrees that Plaintiffs confuse personal jurisdiction with
subject matter jurisdiction, and they argue the wrong legal
standard in their motion. In addressing the correct standard
to be used, the court sets forth the standards for subject
matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction - Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
federal court has subject matter jurisdiction over civil
cases “arising under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States, ” and over civil cases
in which the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs, and in which diversity of
citizenship exists between the parties. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331, 1332. Federal courts are courts of limited
jurisdiction and must have statutory or constitutional power
to adjudicate a claim. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins.
Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (citations omitted);
Home Builders Ass'n of Miss., Inc. v. City of
Madison, 143 F.3d 1006, 1010 (5th Cir. 1998). Absent
jurisdiction conferred by statute or the Constitution, they
lack the power to adjudicate claims and must dismiss an
action if subject matter jurisdiction is lacking.
Id.; Stockman v. Federal Election
Comm'n, 138 F.3d 144, 151 (5th Cir. 1998) (citing
Veldhoen v. United States Coast Guard, 35 F.3d 222,
225 (5th Cir. 1994)). A federal court must presume that an
action lies outside its limited jurisdiction, and the burden
of establishing that the court has subject matter
jurisdiction to entertain an action rests with the party
asserting jurisdiction. Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377
(citations omitted). “[S]ubject-matter jurisdiction
cannot be created by waiver or consent.” Howery v.
Allstate Ins. Co., 243 F.3d 912, 919 (5th Cir. 2001).
courts may also exercise subject matter jurisdiction over a
civil action removed from a state court. Unless Congress
provides otherwise, a “civil action brought in a State
court of which the district courts of the United States have
original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or
defendants, to the district court of the United States for
the district and division embracing the place where such
action is pending.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
Personal Jurisdiction - Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
plaintiff bears the burden of establishing a prima facie case
for the court's jurisdiction over a nonresident
defendant. See Ham v. La Cienega Music Co., 4 F.3d
413, 415 (5th Cir. 1993); Stuart v. Spademan, 772
F.2d 1185, 1192 (5th Cir. 1985). When the court rules on the
motion without an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff may
establish personal jurisdiction by presenting a prima facie
case that personal jurisdiction is proper, id.;
proof by a preponderance of the evidence is not required.
International Truck and Engine Corp. v. Quintana,
259 F.Supp.2d 553, 556 (N.D. Tex. 2003) (citing WNS, Inc.
v. Farrow, 884 F.2d 200, 203 (5th Cir. 1989)). The court
may determine the jurisdictional issue by receiving
affidavits, interrogatories, depositions, oral testimony, or
any combination of the recognized methods of discovery.
Stuart, 772 F.2d at 1192. Uncontroverted allegations
in a plaintiff's complaint must be taken as true, and
conflicts between the facts contained in the parties'
affidavits must be resolved in favor of the plaintiff.
Bullion v. Gillespie, 895 F.2d 213, 217 (5th Cir.
1990). After a plaintiff makes his prima facie case, the
burden then shifts to the defendant to present “a
compelling case that the presence of some other consideration
would render jurisdiction unreasonable.” Burger
King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 477 (1985).
federal court has jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant
if the state long-arm statute confers personal jurisdiction
over that defendant, and if the exercise of jurisdiction is
consistent with due process under the United States
Constitution. Ruston Gas Turbines, Inc. v. Donaldson Co.,
Inc.,9 F.3d 415, 418 (5th Cir. 1993). Because the Texas
long-arm statute extends to the limits of federal due
process, Schlobohm v. Schapiro, 784 S.W.2d 355, 357
(Tex. 1990), the court must determine whether (1) the
defendants have established “minimum contacts”
with the forum state; and, (2) whether the exercise of
personal jurisdiction over the defendants would ...