Case Details


State Is Not A Party For Removal Purposes.

Filing State



U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky




Kentucky ex rel. Stumbo v. Marathon Petroleum Co., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74117 (E.D. Ky. Oct. 3, 2007)


The State is not a citizen for removal purposes when pursuing price-gouging claims

Case Description

The Attorney General of Kentucky filed suit in state court against Marathon Oil, an out-of-state company, alleging violations of the state’s price-gouging statute. Although a state is not a citizen of any state for purposes of diversity jurisdiction, the defendant sought to remove the case to federal court, arguing that the Attorney General was actually representing individual Kentucky consumers, rather than the state. The court determined that “When a state official is a party to a proceeding over which diversity jurisdiction is alleged, whether the respective state is itself the real party in interest is a question to be determined from the essential nature and effect of the proceeding.” In the complaint, the Attorney General sought declaratory judgment, an injunction, civil penalties and disgorgement. The court held The declaration, injunction, and civil penalties will benefit all Kentucky consumers not just a particular set of consumers. The Attorney General brings this action pursuant to KRS § 367.190 and KRS § 367.990, which specifically authorize the Attorney General to bring actions “in the name of” or “on behalf of” the Commonwealth. While the Attorney General does also seek restitution on behalf of particular consumers, this is only one aspect of the wide-ranging relief sought, the substantial portion of which will benefit all Kentucky consumers. Viewing the complaint as a whole, the state is the real party in interest in this matter.