983 F.2d 82 (7th Cir. 1993), 91-3644, Culbertson v. Libco Corp.

Docket Nº:91-3644.
Citation:983 F.2d 82
Party Name:Nancy M. CULBERTSON, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. LIBCO CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:January 06, 1993
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 82

983 F.2d 82 (7th Cir. 1993)

Nancy M. CULBERTSON, Plaintiff-Appellee,


LIBCO CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 91-3644.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

January 6, 1993

Argued Oct. 19, 1992.

Rehearing Denied Feb. 11, 1993.

Page 83

Thomas P. Ward (argued), Mary A. Francis, McBride, Baker & Coles, Chicago, IL, for plaintiff-appellee.

Morton Denlow, Michael D. Richman (argued), Dardick & Denlow, Chicago, IL, for defendant-appellant.

Before CUMMINGS and MANION, Circuit Judges, and KAUFMAN, Senior District Judge. [*]

CUMMINGS, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff Nancy M. Culbertson resides in Vero Beach, Florida, and is a citizen of that state. Defendant Libco Corporation ("Libco"), a Delaware corporation, has its corporate headquarters and principal place of business in Chicago. This diversity suit was brought to recover overdue past installments and interest on a note for $110,381 payable by Libco to plaintiff's late husband, Samuel A. Culbertson II. At the time of the complaint plaintiff asserted that she was owed $78,726.18, including interest plus reasonable attorney's fees as provided in the note, and therefore the complaint sought judgment for $89,000 plus interest and costs.

Defendant filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that plaintiff had only a 50% interest in the note, so that the $50,000 jurisdictional amount in 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1) was not satisfied even by adding attorney's fees sought by plaintiff under the note. The motion to dismiss also claimed that Northern Trust Company as trustee under the will of plaintiff's sister-in-law, Vesta C. Morse, was an indispensable party, so that diversity of citizenship was lacking. The district court rendered an opinion holding that the jurisdictional amount was satisfied because plaintiff was the sole legal titleholder of the note, making the amount in controversy equal to the full value of the note plus costs. The court also held that complete diversity existed because plaintiff was the only successor to her late husband, the holder of the Libco note, and thus failure to join Northern Trust Company, the trustee of Vesta C. Morse's estate, did not amount to a failure to join an indispensable party. Libco preserved its jurisdictional objections below and stipulated to the amount of damages, and the district court ordered Libco to pay Culbertson for the full amount of the note plus costs, or $90,918.60. The sole question on appeal, then, is whether the district court had jurisdiction to enter its judgment. We affirm the district court's disposition.


Plaintiff sued Libco on its October 31, 1984, note issued to Samuel A. Culbertson II, plaintiff's husband. Prior to his death,

Page 84

Mr. Culbertson was the sole owner of an undivided 8.405% interest in...

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