That’s basically what the first motion from Wright Pierce’s new attorneys says. Quite a bold move, but then the stakes are high and you can expect just about anything.
What they have filed is a Motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Basically, they are saying that the US District Court does not have jurisdiction over this matter because Wright Pierce’s “principal place of business is Portsmouth New Hampshire”.
In the associated memorandum of law, WP cites Wolfeboro’s justification for filing in Federal Court:
Jurisdiction is based on 28 U.S.C. §1332(a)(1), which grants this Court original jurisdiction over actions between citizens of different states when the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 exclusive of interest and costs.
In the motion to dismiss, WP argues that case law indicates that a corporation is a citizen of both the state of incorporation (Maine) and the state of their principal place of business (New Hampshire). They file affidavits and related org charts to show that their President Bill Brown and most of the corporate team has been in Portsmouth since 2007, and that the Portsmouth office was the corporate “nerve center” in 2012 when the suit was filed.
Seems incredible that this issue is being raised after the trial, but they are arguing that the Federal Court is a court of “Limited Jurisdiction” and that anytime it is discovered that the court has exceeded it’s jurisdiction, the only remedy is to dismiss, regardless of who failed to previously recognize the defect.
I expect that the court will deny this motion, and that the merits of the argument will ultimately be decided on appeal.