Sonoco Products Co. v. Guven (Lawyers Weekly No. 002-158-12, 10 pp.) (R. Bryan Harwell, J.) 4:12-cv-00790; D.S.C.
Holding: Even though the Turkish defendant accepted a job in South Carolina and listed an S.C. address on an application to renew his re-entry permit, since defendant was not domiciled in South Carolina when this lawsuit was filed, there is diversity of citizenship between the parties.
The court denies defendant’s motion to remand to state court.
Defendant lived in New Jersey when he accepted the offer to work for the S.C. plaintiff. He contends he lived in Florida when this lawsuit was filed on June 20, 2011.
The only evidence that defendant was ever an S.C. resident is an application he made in February 2010 to renew his re-entry permit. The application states that he is a permanent resident of the U.S. and lists One North Second Street, Hartsville, S.C. as his address. However, this address is plaintiff’s corporate headquarters, which has no living quarters. It is unreasonable to contend that defendant somehow resided at the corporate headquarters of his employer.
Even if this court could accept that defendant lived at the Hartsville address, any association with that address plainly ended when plaintiff terminated defendant’s employment on April 5, 2010, more than a year before this lawsuit was filed. This is supported by the uncontroverted testimony of defendant that, with the exception of traveling to South Carolina for the hearing on the motion to remand, defendant has not been in South Carolina since his April 5, 2010 termination.
It appears that the re-entry permit was filled out by an immigration attorney whose fees were paid by plaintiff. The primary reason for using plaintiff’s address on the re-entry permit appears to have been to enable defendant to procure a more expedient immigration interview in South Carolina.
Defendant has proven by a preponderance of the evidence that, as of the filing of this lawsuit, he was not domiciled in South Carolina.