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Rodríguez v. Señor Frog’s de La Isla, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
642 F.3d 28 (2011)


Paloma Rodríguez (plaintiff) was driving in Puerto Rico when her car broke down. She moved to the shoulder, out of the line of traffic. Carlos Estrada, intoxicated and speeding in a vehicle registered to Señor Frog’s de La Isla, Inc. (Señor Frog’s) (defendant), plowed into Rodríguez’s car, causing her serious injury. Nine months after the accident, Rodríguez moved from Puerto Rico to California. Three months later, she sued Señor Frog’s in Puerto Rico’s federal district court pursuant to its diversity jurisdiction. By the time Rodríguez filed her complaint, she had moved all of her belongings to California; opened a California bank account; and obtained a California driver’s license, cell phone number, and job. Soon thereafter, Rodríguez gave birth to a son in California and began taking classes at a local college. A year or so later, Rodríguez enrolled at a university in Puerto Rico for several semesters. Rodríguez returned to California during school breaks, however, and intended to stay there permanently. Señor Frog’s challenged Rodríguez’s claim of California citizenship, pointing out that she never registered to vote or attended church in California and that she had made a statement about having lived her entire life in Puerto Rico a few weeks after the accident. After a hearing on jurisdiction in which Rodríguez testified as the sole witness and presented no documentary evidence, the district court concluded that the parties were diverse. A jury rendered a $450,000 verdict for Rodríguez. Señor Frog’s appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Thompson, J.)

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