United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
Kristine G. Baker United States District Judge
the Court is defendant ProAssurance Indemnity Company's
(“ProAssurance”) motion to dismiss plaintiff
Fannora Gardner's complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) (Dkt. No. 3). Ms. Gardner has
responded in opposition to the motion to dismiss (Dkt. No.
9), and ProAssurance has replied (Dkt. No. 10). For the
following reasons, the Court grants ProAssurance's motion
Gardner brings this medical malpractice action directly
against ProAssurance, the insurer of St. Bernards Hospital,
d/b/a St. Bernards Medical Center (“St.
Bernards”) (Dkt. No. 1). Ms. Gardner alleges that she
sustained injuries during a 10-day period of admission to St.
Bernards in January 2014 (Dkt. No. 1, ¶¶ 22-25).
During that time, Ms. Gardner contends that the St.
Bernards' nursing staff negligently failed to examine her
skin, re-position her in the bed, and care for her heels
despite signs of pressure ulcers (Id., ¶¶
24, 26). Ms. Gardner states that she developed severe
pressure ulcers as a result of this negligent failure to
monitor properly and treat her skin (Id.,
¶¶ 45-46). Ms. Gardner represents that these ulcers
have caused severe physical and emotional harm (Id.,
Gardner invokes this Court's diversity of citizenship
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) (Id.,
¶ 6). Ms. Gardner is a citizen of Jonesboro, Arkansas;
ProAssurance Indemnity Company is an Alabama corporation with
its principle place of business in Alabama (Id.,
¶¶ 2-3). ProAssurance is the insurer of St.
Bernards, an Arkansas corporation with its principle place of
business in Arkansas (Dkt. No. 3, ¶ 4). Ms. Gardner
initially filed suit in this matter against St. Bernards in
the Craighead County, Arkansas, Circuit Court (Dkt. No. 1,
¶ 4). In circuit court, St. Bernards moved to dismiss by
asserting charitable immunity from any liability to Ms.
Gardner and, on February 19, 2016, received a favorable
ruling on its motion (Dkt. No. 1, ¶ 4).
Gardner thereafter voluntarily dismissed her claim and filed
the instant suit pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 23-79-210,
a state statute authorizing direct actions against the
insurers of entities not subject to tort liability (Dkt. No.
1, ¶ 3). ProAssurance now moves to dismiss the action
for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction (Dkt. No. 3).
ProAssurance argues that § 1332(c)(1)(A), under which a
liability insurer is a citizen of every state of which its
insured is a citizen, makes ProAssurance an Arkansas citizen
and precludes diversity of citizenship among the parties (Dkt
No. 4, at 1).
28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)
any time, it appears that the federal court does not have
subject-matter jurisdiction, “the court must dismiss
the complaint in its entirety.” Arbaugh v.
Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 503, 514 (2006). 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a)(1) grants the district courts original
jurisdiction to hear state law claims between citizens of
different states. Subsection (c)(1) of the statute addresses
in pertinent part the citizenship of corporations:
For the purpose of this section and section 1441 of this
title-a corporation shall be deemed a citizen of any State
and foreign state by which it has been incorporated and of
the state or foreign state where it has its principal place
of business, except that in any direct action against the
insurer of a policy or contract of liability insurance,
whether incorporated or unincorporated, to which action the
insured is not joined as a party-defendant, such insurer
shall be deemed a citizen of-
(A) every State and foreign state of which the insured is a
(B) every State and foreign state by which the insurer has
been incorporated; and
(C) the State or foreign state where the insurer has its
principal place ...