During orientation, we have our first ISG meeting. ISG stands for Integrated Study Groups. The purpose of this first meeting is to discuss note taking, review Hawkins v. Masters, and going over the syllabus.

Note Taking

Note taking should be organized in the way that best benefits yourself. Whether you write by hand, by computer, highlighting, etc. find a method that works for you.

Quite often, if you write by hand, there will be certain professors who go too quick for handwriting. You may need to use a computer to take those notes.

Hawkins v. Masters

2003 WL 21555767

Federal court resolving a jurisdictional issue between Kansas and Missouri


Hawkins, Baldwin, and Creal




Should the court dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction diversity? Was Mr. Creal a citizen of Kansas or Missouri at the time of his death?


Rule 12(b)(1) Motion to dismiss standard. There are 2 paths one can take to motion for dismissal.

“(1) a facial attack on the sufficiency of the complaint’s allegations as to subject matter jurisdiction; or (2) a challenge to the actual facts upon which subject matter jurisdiction is based.

Here is my attempt to restate the rule.

  1. Attack the facts on the sufficiency of the allegations as to subject matter jurisdiction (meaning, attack the facts because they do not provide enough substantial evidence to show jurisdiction of the subject).
  2. Challenge the actual facts.

Here, the defendants choose the first path of of meeting this standard.

Further, a person is considered a citizen of the State if the person is “domiciled” in that state. Domicile is the presence of mind of adults residing in a location with the intent to remain there.


There is not enough evidence that subject matter jurisdiction has been met. Mr. Creal was a citizen of the State of Kansas, not Missouri. The motion to dismiss is approved, case closed.


Mr. Creal was involved in an automobile accident with the Masters (residents of Kansas) and killed. About a year prior to this event he was living in Missouri where he would return from work and retire for the evening. He began dating Mrs. Creal and soon he began to move his personal belongings into her apartment. About 2 months prior to the incident, they moved to another place, combined bank accounts, he started paying the bills, and married. At the time of his death, his place of residence was Kansas.

However, he still had ties to Missouri. His car was registered in Missouri, he collected mail in Missouri, etc. The Creals are attempting to find federal jurisdiction because of the diversity of State lines.

The court needs to determine his citizenship to evaluate whether the federal court has jurisdiction.


Although probably not vitally important, I should mention the relation of Hawkins to Creal. Hawkins is the estate representative of Mr. Creal. Although she is a resident of Missouri, it is Creal’s residency that matters here.

The court lists the several things that Creal had done to establish residency in the State of Kansas. This included moving some furniture, clothing, remaining at the place of residency, and having no intent to move away. Further, in the disposition, Mrs. Creal said that they had tossed around the idea of moving back to Kansas, but they made no effort to look for a place of residence. Therefore, this “floating intent” did not establish residency in Missouri.

The defense attempts to argue the the other effects of Mr. Creal was reason enough to establish residency in Missouri (along with the fact that he lived in Missouri for most of his life). These effects included vehicle registration, collecting mail, and visiting his mother on the weekends. However, the court says that this is not enough and his actions would lead people to believe he had the intent to remain in the Kansas residence.

Therefore, the defense’s motion to dismiss the case is upheld for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Why should we care?

We learn two things from this case. First, what it takes to motion for a case dismissal (notes will be expanded with further knowledge). Second, we learn how to show evidence of subject matter jurisdiction. For instance, in this case we were looking for a subject matter that proved the diversity of State citizenship between the two parties (one needs to be from Kansas and the other from Missouri for this to have federal jurisdiction). Because the court determines that there is no jurisdiction, they are not allowed to adjudicate the case. Therefore the motion to dismiss is upheld and the case is closed.

I am curious to see why they went for federal jurisdiction instead of state and if they would be able to refile the complaint in a the Kansas courts.


The content contained in this article may contain inaccuracies and is not intended to reflect the opinions, views, beliefs, or practices of any academic professor or publication. Instead, this content is a reflection on the author’s understanding of the law and legal practices.

If you would like to listen to this article instead, play below.

Will Laursen

Show Your Support


Table of Contents