Scott Wood Products, LLC v. Multitrade Rabun Gap, LLC

Filing 6

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDERED as follows: (1) Plaintiff is DIRECTED to file an Amended Complaint which clearly sets forth the factual and legal basis for this Court's subject matter jurisdiction by no later than 2/1/2010 as further set out; and (2) If plaintiff concedes that this Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over this action, Plaintiff is DIRECTED to file a proper motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2) seeking dismissal of this action without prejudice by no later than February 1, 2010. Signed by Hon. Chief Judge Mark E. Fuller on 1/8/2010. (cb, )

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA E A S T E R N DIVISION S C O T T WOOD PRODUCTS, LLC, P L A IN T IF F , v. M U L T IT R A D E RABUN GAP, LLC, D EFEN D A N T. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) C A S E NO. 3:10cv07-MEF (W O - Do Not Publish) M E M O R A N D U M OPINION AND ORDER A federal court is a court of limited of jurisdiction. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins., 5 1 1 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). That is, a federal court is authorized to entertain only certain a c tio n s which the Constitution or Congress has authorized it to hear. Id. "It is to be p re s u m e d that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, ..., and the burden of establishing th e contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction,...." Id. (citations omitted). At any tim e , the Court may review sua sponte whether it possesses subject matter jurisdiction over a n action before it. See, e.g., Univ. of S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 409-11 (1 1 th Cir.1999) (outlining a federal court's duty to sua sponte consider its own subject matter ju ris d ic tio n ); Fitzgerald v. Seaboard Sys. R.R., Inc., 760 F.2d 1249, 1251 (11th Cir. 1985) (s a m e ); Employers Mut. Cas. Co. v. Evans, 76 F. Supp. 2d 1257, 1259 (N.D. Ala. 1999) (" [ A ] federal court is obligated to inquire into subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte w h e n e v e r it may be lacking."); see also Insur. Corp. of Ireland, Ltd. v. Compagnie des B a u x ite s de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694, 704 (1982). Plaintiff filed suit in this Court invoking this Court's subject matter jurisdiction p u rs u a n t to 28 U.S.C. 1332(a). The diversity statute confers jurisdiction on the federal c o u rts in civil actions between citizens of different states, in which the jurisdictional amount o f greater than $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, is met. See 28 U.S.C. 1332(a)(1). The Complaint alleges in a somewhat conclusory fashion that this case satisfies Section 1 3 3 2 (a )(1 )'s requirement that the amount in controversy exceed $75,000. The allegations o f the Complaint regarding the complete diversity of citizenship requirement are deficient. According to the rule of "complete diversity," no plaintiff may share the same state c itiz e n s h ip with any defendant. See Riley v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., 292 F .3 d 1334, 1337 (11th Cir.2002). Indeed, one of the Supreme Court's earliest cases, S tr a w b r id g e v. Curtiss, 7 U.S. (3 Cranch) 267(1806),1 held that there is no diversity ju ris d ic tio n when any party on one side of the suit is a citizen of the same state as any party o n the other side. Plaintiff is alleged to be an Alabama limited liability company with a principal place o f business in Alabama. Defendant is alleged to be a Virginia limited liability company with a principal place of business in Georgia. The Complaint is devoid of further allegations re g a rd in g the citizenship of the parties. For purposes of diversity jurisdiction, the citizenship o f a limited liability company is the citizenship of its members. See Rolling Greens MHP, L .P . v. Comcast SCH Holdings, L.L.C., 374 F.3d 1020, 1022 (11th Cir. 2004). The C o m p la in t in no way identifies the members of either LLC nor does it disclose the citizenship 1 Overruled on other grounds by 43 U.S. (2 How.) 497 (1844). of those members. The Court cannot discern from the allegations of the Complaint whether c o m p le te diversity of citizenship exists. A c c o rd in g ly, it is hereby ORDERED as follows: 1 . Plaintiff's counsel shall immediately undertake an investigation of the citizenship o f any and all members of the limited liability companies involved in this litigation. 2 . If after investigating the citizenship of the members of the LLCs involved in this c a s e , the plaintiff contends that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action, P la in tif f is DIRECTED to file an Amended Complaint which clearly sets forth the factual a n d legal basis for this Court's subject matter jurisdiction by no later than February 1, 2010. Failure to timely file an Amended Complaint in compliance with this Memorandum Opinion a n d Order will result in the immediate dismissal of this case without prejudice for want of s u b je c t matter jurisdiction. Moreover, should it appear to the Court from the Amended C o m p la in t that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action, this case will be dismissed w ith o u t prejudice for want of subject matter jurisdiction. Such a dismissal should not p re ju d ic e the plaintiff's ability to pursue its action in a court of the State of Alabama. 3. If plaintiff concedes that this Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over th is action, Plaintiff is DIRECTED to file a proper motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil P ro c e d u re 41(a)(2) seeking dismissal of this action without prejudice by no later than F e b r u a r y 1, 2010. DONE this the 8th day of January, 2010. /s/ Mark E. Fuller CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

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