United States District Court, D. Nebraska
NORAH M. SHORT, a minor, by and through Amber Short and Scott Short; Plaintiff,
HEATHER RAMSEY, APRN-CNM; THE MIDWIFE'S PLACE LLC, and BELLEVUE MEDICAL CENTER, L.L.C., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. Rossiter, Jr. United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on two pending motions:
plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a First Amended
Complaint (Filing No. 29), and defendant Bellevue Medical
Center, L.L.C.'s (“Bellevue Medical”) Motion
to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Leave to Conduct
Limited Discovery (Filing No. 16). For the reasons stated
below, Plaintiff's Motion is granted, and Bellevue
Medical's Motion is denied in part without prejudice and
granted in part.
alleged in her original Complaint that this Court has
subject-matter jurisdiction on diversity grounds (Filing No.
1). See 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff, a minor,
claimed she was a citizen of Iowa, and Scott Short, her
father, was a resident of Iowa. Plaintiff made no mention of
any specific facts supporting her allegation of Iowa
citizenship. There is currently no dispute over
plaintiff's assertions that all the defendants are
citizens of Nebraska and that the amount in controversy is
greater than $75, 000.
Medical filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for
Leave to Conduct Limited Discovery. The Motion to Dismiss
argued that Scott Short and, therefore, plaintiff were
citizens of Nebraska, depriving the Court of diversity
jurisdiction. Bellevue Medical filed an affidavit and
provided evidence that Scott Short owned a house in Nebraska,
listed home and cell phone numbers that began with the
Nebraska area code of 402 on a hospital form, and listed his
address as an Army/Air Force Post Office box on the same
form. Bellevue Medical alternatively requested limited
jurisdictional discovery if the Court did not dismiss the
response, plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to File a First
Amended Complaint. The proposed Amended Complaint states
Scott Short was a citizen of Iowa (Filing No. 31-1).
Plaintiff also filed an affidavit from Scott Short, which
stated in part (1) Short was born in Iowa, (2) he was a
resident of Iowa when he joined the United States Air Force,
(3) he continues to consider Iowa his domicile, (4) he
resided in Nebraska due to his temporary stationing there,
(5) he is registered to vote in Iowa, and (6) he pays income
tax in Iowa.
Motion for Leave to File a First Amended Complaint
plaintiff did not move to file an Amended Complaint within 21
days of the service of the Motion to Dismiss, plaintiff may
only amend the Complaint with the Court's leave, which
should be freely given when justice requires. Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a). Plaintiff seeks to amend the Complaint to better show
the grounds for subject-matter jurisdiction. There is no
evidence that plaintiff omitted these grounds from the first
Complaint in bad-faith. Leave to amend is appropriate and
will be granted.
Motion to Dismiss
Motion to Dismiss can be based either on the face of the
Complaint or on the truthfulness of the facts pled. Titus
v. Sullivan, 4 F.3d 590, 593 (8th Cir. 1993). Bellevue
Medical's Motion to Dismiss is partially based on the
face of the Complaint, specifically plaintiff's failure
to state that Scott Short was a citizen of Iowa. Whatever
merit there is in this argument, it is mooted by
plaintiff's proposed amendment. At the same time,
Bellevue Medical does emphasize some facts inconsistent with
Iowa citizenship in its Motion to Dismiss. Bellevue Medical
maintains jurisdictional discovery may uncover further
evidence for a factual challenge to jurisdiction. Since
jurisdictional discovery has not been completed, the Motion
to Dismiss is denied without prejudice, and Bellevue Medical
may renew its motion after such jurisdictional discovery is
Motion for Leave to Conduct Limited Jurisdictional
subject-matter jurisdiction deals with the ability of the
Court to hear the case, the Court has wide discretion to
determine the grounds for jurisdiction. Bellecourt v.
United States, 994 F.2d 427, 430 (8th Cir. 1993). In the
case of a factual challenge to jurisdiction, the Court may
consider evidence to resolve the factual dispute. Osborn
v. United States, 918 F.2d 724, 730 (8th Cir. 1990).
Jurisdictional discovery to ascertain the citizenship of a
party is an allowable method for a court to determine
jurisdiction. GMAC Commercial Credit LLC v. Dillard
Dep't Stores, Inc., 357 F.3d 827, 829 (8th Cir.
2004). Therefore, Bellevue Medical may conduct jurisdictional
discovery limited to the issue of citizenship of plaintiff as
it regards subject-matter jurisdiction.