United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ALFREDO DOS ANJOS, SOUTH WASHINGTON STREET, LLC, and 849 SOUTH WASHINGTON STREET, LLC, Plaintiffs,
JOSHUA TEVEROW and JOSHUA TEVEROW, ESQUIRE, LTD., Defendants.
ORDER ON MOTION TO TAKE JURISDICTIONAL DISCOVERY
(DOC. NO. 16) AND MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO. 10)
SOROKIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Alfredo Dos Anjos is an individual domiciled in Florida. Doc.
No. 1 ¶ 6. Plaintiffs South Washington Street, LLC, and
849 South Washington Street, LLC are both Massachusetts LLCs
located in North Attleboro. Id. ¶ 5. The
plaintiffs brought suit against defendant Joshua Teverow for
various common law torts, including intentional interference
and legal malpractice claims, all arising out of business
transactions among the parties. Id. ¶¶
10-14. Diversity is the only basis for invoking the subject
matter jurisdiction of this Court. Id. ¶ 3. The
complaint alleges that Teverow is domiciled in Rhode Island.
Id. ¶ 7.
now moves to dismiss on the basis that this Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction because he is in fact domiciled
in Florida, and accordingly, the requirement of complete
diversity is not satisfied. In response, the plaintiffs filed
a motion to take jurisdictional discovery. Doc. No. 16.
Teverow opposed. Doc. No. 18. The Court heard argument from
the parties on May 28, 2019. At the hearing, the Court denied
the motion to take jurisdictional discovery and permitted the
plaintiffs to file an opposition to the motion to dismiss
with a renewed request for jurisdictional discovery including
the proposed discovery requests. The plaintiffs did so. Doc.
No. 31. Teverow thereafter filed a reply. Doc. No. 34.
FACTS The following facts are
was born and raised in Rhode Island. Other than forays out of
state for college (New Jersey) and law school
(Massachusetts), Teverow both resided in and was domiciled in
Rhode Island for his childhood and adult life until certain
events described below. After law school, Teverow established
a law practice in Providence, Rhode Island. He maintains that
practice now, as well as his membership in the Rhode Island
bar. Doc. No. 11-1 ¶ 17. He is also a licensed real
estate broker in Rhode Island and serves as the President of
Texcel, a Rhode Island textile manufacturing company.
Id. To date, Teverow owns a home in Rhode Island, as
he has for many years, and has four vehicles registered in
Rhode Island. Id. ¶¶ 8-9. In 2004, he and
his wife purchased a condominium in Florida, though he
continued to work and reside in Rhode Island. Id.
¶ 5. He also maintained his domicile in Rhode Island.
Until 2015, Teverow was active in his synagogue and various
community groups in Rhode Island. Id. ¶ 16.
2013, Teverow obtained a Florida driver's license, giving
up his Rhode Island driver's license to do so.
Id. ¶ 11. In 2015, Teverow executed a
declaration of domicile in Florida. Doc. No. 11-3. Since
November 2015, he has been registered to vote in Florida.
Doc. No. 11-2; Doc. No. 11-1 ¶ 3. Since 2015, he has
filed his federal income tax returns using his Florida
address, and has filed Rhode Island tax returns as a
non-resident. Doc. No. 11-1 ¶ 4. In Florida, Teverow
owns a condominium, five cars, and a boat. Id.
¶¶ 5-6. He is active in a synagogue in Palm Beach
and is a member of the Mar-a-Lago Club and various civic
associations in Palm Beach. Id. ¶¶ 14-15.
Additionally, Teverow operates a consulting business in
Florida. Id. ¶ 18.
has not severed all ties with Rhode Island. He continues to
own his long-time home in Rhode Island. He continues to own
and register cars in Rhode Island. He maintains his active
law practice, his real estate license, and his position as
President of Texcel. Id. ¶ 17. He visits the
state between six and ten times per year for business and
attends High Holiday services at his old temple in Rhode
Island with his adult children each fall. Id.
¶¶ 16-17. Nothing before the Court establishes the
amount of time Teverow spends in Florida except a comment
made by his lawyer at the hearing and a statement in
Teverow's affidavit that he is “physically present
in Rhode Island for less than six months over the course of a
year, ” though the affidavit does not state how much
time he spends in Florida. Id. ¶ 10. Teverow
also stated in his affidavit that until April 16, 2019, he
had spent only twelve hours in Rhode Island during 2019.
courts are courts of limited subject matter jurisdiction.
They may hear and decide cases brought between citizens of
different states where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). “Once challenged,
‘the party invoking subject matter jurisdiction . . .
has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence
the facts supporting jurisdiction.'”
Padilla-Mangual v. Pavia Hosp., 516 F.3d 29, 31 (1st
Cir. 2008) (quoting Bank One, Texas, N.A. v. Montle,
964 F.2d 48, 50 (1st Cir.1992)).
for diversity purposes is domicile, and domicile is the place
where one is present and intends to stay.”
Rodriguez v. Señor Frog's de la Isla,
Inc., 642 F.3d 28, 32 (1st Cir. 2011). “There is,
ordinarily, a presumption of continuing domicile.”
Padilla-Mangual, 516 F.3d at 31. A new domicile is
established by (1) presence in the new state and (2) an
intent to remain there, and “is determined as of the
time the suit is filed.” Id.
affidavit and documentary evidence Teverow submitted,
including among other things, his voter registration and
declaration of domicile, are sufficient to overcome the
presumption of continuing domicile in Rhode Island. See
Bank One, 964 F.2d at 51 (affidavit by defendant stating
that he had changed his domicile sufficed to meet
“initial burden of producing evidence overturning the
presumption in favor of a continuing  domicile”).
Once overcome, as here, the party seeking to invoke federal
jurisdiction must carry the “ultimate burden of
persuasion . . . to prove by competent proof and a
preponderance of the evidence that diversity of
citizenship” existed at the time suit was filed.
Id. Accordingly, the burden lies on the plaintiffs
to show by a preponderance of the evidence that Teverow is
not domiciled in Florida. Id.
First Circuit has recognized several factors which a Court
may consider in determining a party's intent to reside,
though a party need not prove each and every one.
Rodriguez, 642 F.3d at 33. Those factors include
“where the party exercises civil and political rights,
pays taxes, has real and personal property, has a
driver's or other license, has bank accounts, has a job
or owns a business, attends church, and has club
memberships.” Id. Additionally, the First
Circuit has said that “the place a person is registered
to vote is a ‘weighty' factor in determining
domicile.” Padilla-Mangual, 516 F.3d at 32
(quoting Lundquist v. Precision Valley Aviation,
Inc., 946 F.2d 8, 12 (1st Cir. 1991)).
record before the Court tells a familiar story. A wealthy
person domiciled in the northeast later in life purchased a
residence in the warmer climate of Florida and still later,
undertook various formal and actual life changes to move his
domicile there. He votes in Florida. He declared Florida his
domicile. He files tax returns as a Florida citizen or
domiciliary. He runs a business there. He attends religious
services there. However, he has not cut all ties to Rhode
Island. He visits regularly for both business and family
purposes. He continues to operate in Rhode Island his major
life business, his law practice, albeit from mostly afar, he
attests. He also attends some religious services in Rhode
Island. The plaintiffs assert that the facts before the Court