United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Clinton Bartlett removed the above-captioned case to this
Court on June 20, 2019, after Plaintiffs Tania and Mark
Higdon brought suit against him in the Circuit Court of
Carroll County, Arkansas, on March 13, 2019. Defendant
asserts that the Court may exert federal subject matter
jurisdiction over the case pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§1332(a)(1), due to the complete diversity of
citizenship of the parties and the satisfaction of the
minimum amount in controversy. On June 21, 2019, Plaintiffs
filed a Motion to Remand to State Court (Doc. 6), arguing
that all parties were citizens of Arkansas, so there was no
diversity of citizenship. Defendant filed a Response in
Opposition to the Motion (Doc. 9), and Plaintiffs filed a
Reply (Doc. 11). Having reviewed the parties' briefing,
the Court DENIES the Motion for the reasons
order to establish federal subject matter jurisdiction on the
basis of complete diversity of citizenship, the party seeking
the federal forum must demonstrate by a preponderance of the
evidence that the citizenship of each plaintiff is diverse
from that of each defendant. Blakemore v. Mo. Pac.
R.R., 789 F.2d 616, 618 (8th Cir. 1986). Diversity of
citizenship is to be determined at the time the complaint is
filed, and not when the cause of action arose. Id.
(citing Janzen v. Goos, 302 F.2d 421, 424 (8th Cir.
1962)). "State citizenship, for diversity purposes,
requires an individual's presence in the state, coupled
with an indefinite intention there to remain."
Id. at 618.
instant case, Defendant has provided evidence that he was
physically present and living in Arizona-and not in
Arkansas-at the time the lawsuit was filed in March of 2019,
and that he intends to remain in Arizona indefinitely. The
first piece of evidence he offers is his proof of voter
registration in Arizona. See Doc. 9-4. Defendant has
been assigned a unique voter identification number associated
with his residential address at 3715 E. Mountain View Road in
Maricopa County, Arizona. Next, Defendant has provided the
Court with his personal property tax records for Carroll
County, Arkansas, which list his taxpayer address in Arizona.
(Doc 9-3). Third, he has produced an Arizona driver's
license, which was issued on August 28, 2018, more than six
months prior to the filing of the Complaint. (Doc 9-2).
Finally, he has prepared a sworn affidavit that attests to
his physical presence in Arizona at the time the Complaint
was filed and his intention to remain there "for the
foreseeable future." (Doc 9-1).
Plaintiffs offer several arguments to support their claim
that Defendant's proof of Arizona citizenship is
insufficient. First, they point out that Defendant was
personally served with the Complaint in Eureka Springs,
Arkansas, at a business that he owns and for which he serves
as registered agent for service of process. However,
Plaintiffs fail to cite to any case law that would indicate
that the place where a defendant is personally served is
somehow determinative of his citizenship for diversity
purposes. Plaintiffs' next argument is that Defendant
held Arkansas driver's licenses in 1994, 1996, 1999, and,
most recently, in June of 2018. However, the only relevant
date here is the date of issuance of Defendant's
driver's license in Arizona: August 28, 2018. The Arizona
license post-dates the most recent Arkansas license and
pre-dates the filing of the Complaint. Moreover,
Defendant's affidavit fills in the gaps and explains that
he moved from Arizona to Arkansas in May or June of 2018, but
after finding he could not receive the medical care he liked
here, he moved back to Arizona in July or August of 2018.
Plaintiffs make much of the fact that Defendant has not
formally cancelled his voter registration in Arkansas after
registering to vote in Arizona. Obviously, one cannot legally
vote in two states, and the fact that Defendant has not yet
removed himself formally from Arkansas' voter rolls does
not mean he remains a citizen of Arkansas. The Court is
persuaded that Defendant has established he is a citizen of
Arizona by a preponderance of the evidence. Accordingly,
diversity of citizenship is satisfied, and the Court retains
subject matter jurisdiction over this case.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiffs Tania and Mark
Higdon's Motion to Remand (Doc. 6) is
IS SO ORDERED.
 The amount in controversy for
diversity jurisdiction must exceed $75, 000. According to the
Complaint, Plaintiffs' damages exceed $325, 000. (Doc. 4
 Defendant's affidavit also states
that he is currently employed by People Empowering People of
AZ, an ...