81 F.3d 5 (1st Cir. 1996), 95-1933, Francis v. Goodman

Docket Nº:95-1933.
Citation:81 F.3d 5
Party Name:Ingrid A.M. FRANCIS and Robert Francis, Plaintiffs, Appellants, v. David GOODMAN and Karen Dunnett, Defendants, Appellees.
Case Date:April 03, 1996
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
 
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Page 5

81 F.3d 5 (1st Cir. 1996)

Ingrid A.M. FRANCIS and Robert Francis, Plaintiffs, Appellants,

v.

David GOODMAN and Karen Dunnett, Defendants, Appellees.

No. 95-1933.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

April 3, 1996

Heard Jan. 10, 1996.

Page 6

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts; Edward F. Harrington, Reginald C. Lindsay, District Judges.

Loretta M. Smith, with whom Charles A. Goglia, Jr., Wellesley, MA, and William E. Ryckman, Jr., Boston, MA, were on brief, for appellants.

Hilary B. Miller, Greenwich, CT, for appellees.

TORRUELLA, Chief Judge, COFFIN, Senior Circuit Judge, and CYR, Circuit Judge.

CYR, Circuit Judge.

After plaintiff-appellant Ingrid Francis ("Francis"), a Massachusetts citizen, instituted this malpractice action in Nantucket Superior Court, defendant Ira Rose, Esquire, a Massachusetts resident now deceased, removed it to the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332(a)(1) (diversity jurisdiction) and 1441(a) (1994) (removal). 1 Francis promptly moved for remand, see 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) (1994), on the ground that both parties were Massachusetts citizens, and requested oral argument on her motion. Rose opposed the motion for remand and requested an evidentiary hearing. On the exclusive basis of the parties' written submissions, which included conflicting documentary evidence, the district court (Harrington, J.) denied the motion for remand in a margin order, without elaboration.

I

BACKGROUND

The jurisdictional dispute below centered on whether Rose intended to remain a citizen of New York even though he had relocated to Nantucket, established a law practice, and resided continually on the island from 1987 until his death in 1995. Following the denial of the motion for remand, the action proceeded to trial before United States District Judge Reginald C. Lindsay, sitting without a jury. After Francis rested her case in chief, the trial judge found that she had not established an attorney-client relationship with Rose at the time he gave her the advice alleged as the basis for the malpractice claim. As this finding undermined the malpractice claim, the district court entered judgment for defendant Rose.

Francis appeals both the district court ruling denying the motion to remand for lack of diversity jurisdiction and its ruling on the merits. As she did below, Francis contends that both she and Rose were Massachusetts citizens at all relevant times, and that the absence of diverse citizenship necessitated remand to the superior court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). Due to the absence of any factual findings or conclusions of law underpinning the implicit district court ruling that Rose was a New York citizen, we remand to the district court for further proceedings.

II

DISCUSSION

We begin with first principles central to our federal system. The judicial power of the lower federal courts derives from Article III of the United States Constitution and various Acts of Congress. U.S. Const. art. III, §§ 1, 2; see Casas Office Mach. v. Mita Copystar Am., 42 F.3d 668, 674 (1st Cir.1994). As diversity of citizenship is the sole basis for invoking subject matter jurisdiction in the present case, without a preponderance of evidence establishing diversity the district court would lack judicial power to adjudicate this controversy under section 1332(a)(1). Bank One, Tex., N.A. v. Montle, 964 F.2d 48, 50 (1st Cir.1992), opinion after remand, 974 F.2d 220 (1st Cir.1992); Mansfield, Coldwater & Lake Mich. Ry. v. Swan, 111 U.S. 379, 381-82, 4 S.Ct. 510, 511-12, 28 L.Ed. 462 (1884).

The uncontested evidence...

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