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Garcia v. Scientology: Motion To Dismiss

Garcia v. Scientology: Motion To Dismiss

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Published by Tony Ortega
The Church of Scientology moves to dismiss Luis Garcia's federal lawsuit over diversity jurisdiction.
The Church of Scientology moves to dismiss Luis Garcia's federal lawsuit over diversity jurisdiction.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Tony Ortega on Oct 25, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/26/2013

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTMIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDATAMPA DIVISION
LUIS A. GARCIA SAZ, and wife MARIADEL ROCIO BURGOS GARCIA,Plaintiffs,vs. Case No.: 8:13-CV-220-T27 TBMCHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY RELIGIOUSTRUST; CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY FLAGSERVICE ORGANIZATION, INC.; CHURCHOF SCIENTOLOGY FLAG SHIP SERVICEORGANIZATION, INC. d/b/a MAJESTICCRUISE LINES; IAS ADMINISTRATIONS, INC.;U.S. IAS MEMBERS TRUST,Defendants. ______/
DEFENDANTS IAS ADMINISTRATIONS, INC.’S, U.S. IAS MEMBERSTRUST’S AND CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY RELIGIOUS TRUST’SJOINT MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTIONAND MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT
Defendants, IAS ADMINISTRATIONS, INC., U.S. IAS MEMBERS TRUST and CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY RELIGIOUS TRUST, hereby move this Court to dismiss thecomplaint and this action based on the absence of subject matter jurisdiction. As more fullyexplained in the following memorandum in support of this motion, it has come to the attention of counsel for these defendants that (1) all of the trustees of U.S. IAS Members Trust (“USIMT”)reside in California, (2) at least one of the trustees of Church of Scientology Religious Trust(“CSRT”) resides in California, and (3) that the principal place of business of IASAdministrations, Inc. (“IASA”) is Los Angeles, California. As a consequence, diversity jurisdiction fails because plaintiffs allege that they are residents and citizens of California.
Case 8:13-cv-00220-JDW-TBM Document 90 Filed 10/21/13 Page 1 of 13 PageID 1951
 
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MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO DISMISS
Plaintiffs assert that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1332(d), based on diversity, alleging that they are citizens and residents of California. (Dk. 1, ¶12 and 14). Plaintiffs allege that defendant USIMT has its principal place of business inCalifornia, but that it conducts substantial business in Florida; they do not allege citizenship of USIMT. (Id. at ¶ 21). Plaintiffs allege that defendant CSRT is a non-profit trust that has its principal place of business in Florida; they do not allege citizenship of CSRT. (Id. at 15).Plaintiffs allege that defendant IASA is a Delaware Corporation with its principal place of  business in Clearwater, Florida. (Id. at ¶ 20).Defendants have not answered the complaint, having instead moved to compelarbitration, therefore these allegations and the legal issue regarding citizenship of trusts for  purposes of diversity were not scrutinized by counsel until recently, after resolution of thecollateral matter of disqualification of counsel that arose soon after the motion to compelarbitration was fully briefed. Upon investigation, however, counsel now has determined thatthere are four trustees for USIMT, all resident in, and therefore citizens of for jurisdictional purposes, California. (See Warren Declaration, attached hereto as Exhibit A). Counsel also hasdetermined that three of the trustees of CSRT also reside in California. (See Stilo Declaration,attached hereto as Exhibit B). Counsel further has determined the principal place of business of IASA is in California. (See Raos Declaration, attached hereto as Exhibit C.) Thus, as a matter of law there can be no diversity jurisdiction over this matter.To exercise diversity jurisdiction, diversity must be complete – each defendant must bediverse from each plaintiff. University of Southern Alabama v. American Tobacco Co., 168
Case 8:13-cv-00220-JDW-TBM Document 90 Filed 10/21/13 Page 2 of 13 PageID 1952
 
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F.3d 405, 412 (11th Cir. 1999). In determining citizenship for diversity jurisdiction, there iswhat the Eleventh Circuit has referred to as a “doctrinal distinction” between corporations and allother types of business entities. Riley v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., 292 F.3d 1334, 1337 (11th Cir. 2002). In short, only corporations are deemed citizens of the state of incorporation whereas for other entities, the citizenship of all members must be considered. Id.at 1337-38. See also Carden v. Arkoma Associates, 494 U.S. 185 (1990). For diversity purposes, unincorporated entities including trusts such as CSRT and USIMT are citizens of eachstate in which at least one of its trustees is a citizen.The diversity statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332, provides that a corporation is deemed to be acitizen of both its state of incorporation and the state where it has its principal place of business.Because IASA’s principal place of business is California, it too is a California corporation for  purposes of diversity jurisdiction.Here, there cannot be complete diversity because plaintiffs, IASA, and all of the trusteesof USIMT and at least one of the trustees of CSRT are citizens of California. Defendants IASAdministrations, Inc., U.S. IAS Members Trust and Church of Scientology Religious Trusttherefore respectfully request that the complaint and this action be dismissed./s/ Lee FugateLee FugateFBN: 170928lfugate@zuckerman.com Nathan M. BermanFBN: 329230nberman@zuckerman.comZuckerman Spaeder LLP101 E. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 1200Tampa, Florida 33602813-221-1010813-223-7961 (Fax)Attorneys for Church of Scientology ReligiousTrust/s/ Marie Tomassi
Marie Tomassi
Florida Bar No. 772062E-mail: mtomassi@trenam.comTrenam, Kemker, Scharf, Barkin, Frye,O’Neill & Mullis, P.A.Bank of America Building200 Central Avenue, Suite 1600St. Petersburg, Florida 33701Telephone: (727) 820-3952Facsimile: (727) 820-3972Attorneys for IAS Administrations, Inc. and U.S. IAS Members Trust
Case 8:13-cv-00220-JDW-TBM Document 90 Filed 10/21/13 Page 3 of 13 PageID 1953

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