Jeffrey Odom authored a November 7 Law360 article titled “Federal Claims Must Meet Diversity Jurisdiction Burden.” The article discusses the Third Circuit’s recent opinion in Breeman v. Everingham, which dismissed the plaintiff’s fear of cancer toxic tort claims arising out of an alleged injury from a chemical spill resulting from a train derailment. The opinion raises important considerations for challenging the underlying facts alleged to support diversity jurisdiction.
Courts should and will still require plaintiffs to meet their burden through a common-sense analysis of the alleged facts to determine if plaintiffs’ claims can meet the diversity jurisdiction pleading requirements. Defendants should look beyond the sensational facts of toxic tort claims and challenge the evidence presented at the time of filing to determine whether jurisdiction is truly proper. If the evidence is not present at the time of filing, dismissal is appropriate.