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Kemper v. Kemper

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Frankfort

July 26, 2018

CARRIE ZOE KEMPER, Plaintiff,
v.
TERESA V. KEMPER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          GREGORY F.VAN TATENHOVE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Teresa V. Kemper's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction [R. 8] and Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings by Ruth H. Baxter, James M. Crawford, Crawford & Baxter P.S.C. [R. 9]. The Defendants argue that this case should be dismissed due to lack of diversity jurisdiction after adding the Estate, a necessary party. This Court agrees and the Motion to Dismiss [R. 8; R. 9] is GRANTED.

         I

         A

         This case was brought by Carrie Zoe Kemper, the sole beneficiary of her father's (Paul's) Last Will and Testament against Teresa V. Kemper, Paul's wife, and Paul's attorneys, James Crawford and Ruth Baxter. [R. 1.] Paul owned a number of businesses, including Kemper Farms, Kemper Construction, Kemper Hauling, among others. [See R. 9-1.] Crawford drafted and witnessed his will and Baxter helped with transferring Kemper Farms, LLC to Zoe prior to Paul's death. [SeeR. 1 at 2.]

         Paul Kemper died on January 7, 2017. [R. 1 at 2.] Less than a week after he passed away, Baxter and Teresa allegedly pressured Zoe into signing a document transferring her rights in Kemper Construction to Teresa. [R. 1 at 2.] Zoe alleges Baxter and Teresa told her that Paul died intestate and Kemper Construction was broke. [R. 1 at 2.] Teresa was named Administratrix of Paul's estate. [R. 1 at 12.] Ten months after Paul died, Baxter and Crawford produced Paul's will. [R. 1 at 3.] As a result, in December 2017, probate court appointed Zoe as the Administratrix of Paul's estate. [R. 1 at 12.]

         Zoe is a California resident and the defendants, Teresa Kemper, Crawford, and Baxter are all residents of Kentucky. [R. 1 at 4.] Zoe alleges this Court has subject matter jurisdiction according to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). She brings several claims: Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Aiding and Abetting Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Tortious Interference with Inheritance, Tortious Interference with Gift, Fraud by Misrepresentation, Professional Negligence, Civil Conspiracy, and Vicarious Liability. [See R. 1.] Zoe requests various remedies, including: "[a]ward judgment that due to fraudulent and unlawful misconduct, Teresa has forfeited and relinquished and is barred and estopped from receiving the rights and benefits, if any, she may have held by renunciation of Paul W. Kemper's Will," and "[d]eclare that the purported transfer of Kemper Construction, LLC from Zoe Kemper to Teresa Kemper is invalid." [R 1 at 19.]

         II

         Defendants seek to dismiss this action under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 for "failure to join a party under Rule 19." Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19 governs when a party is required for litigation to continue. It holds in relevant part that:

(a) Persons Required to Be Joined if Feasible.
(1) Required Party. A person who is subject to service of process and whose joinder will not deprive the court of subject-matter jurisdiction must be joined as a party if:
(A) in that person's absence, the court cannot accord complete relief among existing parties; or
(B) that person claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that disposing of the action in the person's absence may:
(i) as a practical matter impair or impede the person's ability to protect the interest; or
(ii) leave an existing party subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent ...

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