United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Catherine C. Eagles, District Judge.
he is a citizen of Florida, Plaintiff Mickey Dale Snow
brought state law libel claims in this court against several
defendants, including at least one North Carolina citizen,
alleging each made false and misleading statements about him.
Upon a motion to dismiss for lack of diversity jurisdiction,
the Court allowed limited discovery as to Mr. Snow's
considering the evidence, the Court finds that Mr. Snow has
not met his burden of showing he is a citizen of Florida and
not North Carolina. Because there is not complete diversity
to support subject matter jurisdiction, the defendants'
motions to dismiss will be granted.
jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) only
where the parties are citizens of different states. James
G. Davis Constr. Corp. v. Erie Ins. Exch., 953 F.Supp.2d
607, 609 (D. Md. 2013). Diversity must be “complete,
” and “no plaintiff may be a citizen of the same
state as any defendant.”
Id. “A person is a citizen of a state
only if she is a citizen of the United States and a
domiciliary of that state.” Scott v. Cricket
Commc'ns, LLC, 865 F.3d 189, 195 (4th Cir. 2017).
Domicile is determined by presence in a state with intent to
remain. See id.; Johnson v. Advance Am.,
549 F.3d 932, 937 n.2 (4th Cir. 2008) (“Domicile
requires physical presence, coupled with an intent to make
the State a home.”).
an individual's citizenship will be determined by his
place of residence, ” Sligh v. Doe, 596 F.2d
1169, 1171 n.5 (4th Cir. 1979), but not all those physically
present within a state are residents. See Ecker v. Atl.
Refining Co., 222 F.2d 618, 621 (4th Cir. 1955).
Furthermore, “citizenship cannot be inferred from
allegations of mere residence, standing alone.”
Axel Johnson, Inc. v. Carroll Carolina Oil Co., 145
F.3d 660, 663 (4th Cir. 1998). A resident intends to live in
a state for the time being, but a citizen has an intention to
remain in the state indefinitely. Ecker, 222 F.2d at
621. Therefore, “[f]or purposes of diversity
jurisdiction, residency is not sufficient to establish
citizenship.” Johnson, 549 F.3d at 937 n.2;
accord Scott, 865 F.3d at 195.
like the other ingredients or elements of diversity
jurisdiction . . . presents a preliminary question of fact to
be determined by the trial court.” Sligh, 596
F.2d at 1171 (footnotes omitted). When a party moves to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1), the Court acts as a fact-finder
“for the limited purpose of assessing disputes over
allegations critical to establishing subject matter
jurisdiction.” James G. Davis Constr. Corp.,
953 F.Supp.2d at 609. Where, as here, the facts relevant to
the determination of the Court's subject matter
jurisdiction are not “inextricably intertwined”
with the merits of the plaintiff's tort claim,
“[t]he district court is authorized to resolve factual
disputes in evaluating its subject matter
jurisdiction.” Al Shimari v. CACI Premier Tech.,
Inc., 840 F.3d 147, 154 (4th Cir. 2016). The Court may
consider “pleadings, affidavits, depositions, and even
hear testimony” to determine the existence of
subject-matter jurisdiction without converting the motion to
one for summary judgment. James G. Davis Constr.
Corp., 953 F.Supp.2d at 609.
Evidence of Mr. Snow's Citizenship
verified complaint filed on October 3, 2018, see
Doc. 1 at 15, Mr. Snow alleged that he was a citizen of
Florida, id. at ¶ 1, and that the defendants
were citizens of other states. Id. at ¶¶
2-5. He made similar allegations in his verified First
Amended Complaint. Doc. 21 at ¶¶ 1-6, p. 15. The
defendants do not dispute that at least one of the defendants
is a citizen of North Carolina. Doc. 33 at 3; Doc. 38 at 3.
They reference and submit substantial credible evidence that
Mr. Snow is a citizen of North Carolina. This evidence
• Filings in a North Carolina criminal case in which Mr.
Snow was the defendant, including:
o An affidavit submitted in connection with a bond motion,
signed by Mr. Snow on August 27, 2017, in which Mr. Snow
affirmed under oath that he is a “citizen and resident
of Rockingham County, North Carolina.” Doc. 45-7 at
¶ 1; see also Doc. 45-5 at ¶ 3 (defense
motion to modify bond stating Mr. Snow “resides with
his wife in Rockingham County”); Doc. 45-6 at 2
(memorandum of law contending Mr. Snow has “family
ties, a home, and a business in Rockingham County”).
o An affidavit signed by Mr. Snow's wife on August 27,
2017, affirming under oath that she is a citizen and resident
of Rockingham County, North Carolina. Doc. 45-8 at
¶¶ 1, 4.
o A September 2017 court order modifying Mr. Snow's bond
at his request and finding that Mr. Snow is “a
life-long resident of Rockingham County.” Doc. 33-2 at
p. 3 ¶ 16.
o An appearance bond signed by Mr. Snow on December 16, 2015,
and listing his address in Eden, North Carolina. Doc 33-1 at
• Mr. Snow's September 2016 answer to a civil
complaint in the Middle District of Florida, in which Mr.
Snow denied that he was a resident of Florida and stated that
he “is a resident of Rockingham ...