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Monday, April 15, 2013

Can A Party Remove a State Case to Federal Court if they Live in Another State But Own a Home in NJ?

In Witasick v. Habrecht, the NJ District Court recently held that the Defendant who lived in Florida but owned property in NJ were permitted to remove the case filed in NJ state court by the plaintiff, a NJ resident, to the U.S. District Court of NJ. The case arose from a personal injury dispute between Plaintiff, a New Jersey citizen, and Defendants, a married couple residing in Florida. Defendants own a house in Marlton, New Jersey.  Plaintiff lives in the house. On November 19, 2009, a portion of a staircase gave way under Plaintiff's feet, causing him to fall and injure himself. Plaintiff filed suit in state court and Defendants removed the case on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiff then filed a motion for remand. The Court held that complete diversity of citizenship existed amongst the parties, and that the amount in controversy was likely to exceed $75,000.  Thus, the Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the diversity jurisdiction statute and Plaintiff’s motion to remand was denied. COMMENT:In order to bring a case in a federal court, you must have both diversity and the amount in controversy, or the matter must involve a federal question.  To learn more, please watch our video, Why Can't I File a Lawsuit in Federal Court?





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