Legal Case Overview: Pam vs. Rita and Don's Market

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Pam took an indefinite leave of absence from her job, sublet her apartment in State A, and went to care for her elderly mother in State B. Approximately six months later, while Pam was walking to her car in the parking lot of Don's Market in State B, Rita, a resident of State C, struck Pam with her car. In Rita's car were three friends from State C who were traveling through State B with Rita. The friends told the police officer called to the scene of the accident that Pam was reading a magazine as she walked across the parking lot and was therefore not watching where she was going. Pam told the police officer that she had just walked out from behind a large concrete column in the parking lot when Rita's car struck her. Pam sued Rita and Don's Market in federal court in State B. Pam's complaint sought $60,000 in damages against each defendant. It also asked the court for an injunction ordering Don's Market to tear down the concrete column in the parking lot.

Don's Market moved to dismiss Pam's complaint on the ground that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The court denied the motion.
Rita then moved for a change of venue of the action to federal court in State C on the grounds that she is a citizen of State C and that it would be a hardship for her and her witnesses to travel to State B for trial. The court denied Rita's motion for change of venue. Rita then filed a notice of appeal of the court's denial of her venue motion. The appellate court dismissed Rita's appeal.

1. Was the trial court correct in denying the motion of Don's Market to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction? Discuss. 2. Was the trial court correct in denying Rita's motion for change of venue? Discuss. 3. Was the appellate court correct in dismissing Rita's appeal? Discuss.  


1.Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Subject matter jurisdiction (jxd)

Subject matter jurisdiction requires 1) diversity of citizenship and an amount in controversy over $75,000, or 2) federal question. In contrast, in California, limited civil cases are actions in which the amount in controversy is $25,000 or less, and unlimited civil cases are civil actions in which the amount in controversy exceeds $25,000. Small claims court exercises jurisdiction over cases in which the amount of controversy is less than $7,500 for cases brought by an individual.


Diversity requires that every plaintiff must be of diverse citizenship from every defendant. An amount in controversy requires that a good faith allegation of the amount in controversy must exceed $75,000.

Diverse Citizenship


Citizenship refers to a person’s domicile, which is determined by: (1) physical presence in the state; with (2) intent to permanently reside there.


Here Rita’s citizenship is State C because there is presence and intent, since she is a resident of State C. Thus, this element is met.

Don’s Market (DM)

Citizenship of a Corporation

For the purpose of diversity, corporations have dual citizenship. They are citizens of (1) the place of incorporation; and (2) their principal place of business.

Here, DM operates its principal place of business in State B because there is no evidence that it is a nationwide grocery store and its state of incorporation is unknown.

Thus, DM is a citizen of State B and Rita is a citizen of State C. In this case, Pam must not be a citizen of either of those states because it will destroy diversity between these parties.

Pam’s Citizenship

Physical Presence

Here, Pam’s physical presence at the time of the accident was in State B because she was living in State B and taking care of her mother. Thus, this element is met.

Intent to Reside

Here, Pam does not have intent to permanently reside in State B because she only subleased her apartment in State A as opposed to terminating her lease or assigning...
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