Ankor E&P Holdings Corporation v. Craft Operating Company II, LLC et al
Order for plaintiff to to file and serve, by 2/17/2016, an amended complaint that sufficiently alleges the citizenships of the Defendant LLCs for purposes of diversity under § 1332(a), as further set out. Disclosure Statement Due 2/17/2016. Signed by Magistrate Judge Katherine P. Nelson on 2/3/2016. copies to parties. (sdb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
ANKOR E&P HOLDINGS
CRAFT OPERATING COMPANY II, )
LLC, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-00048-CB-N
This action is before the Court sua sponte on review of its subject matter
jurisdiction.1 The Plaintiff initiated this action by filing a Complaint (Doc. 1) with
the Court, alleging diversity of citizenship under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) as the sole
basis for jurisdiction.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(1) (“A pleading that states a claim for
relief must contain a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court’s
When a plaintiff files suit in federal court, [the plaintiff] must allege
facts that, if true, show federal subject matter jurisdiction over [the]
case exists. Taylor v. Appleton, 30 F.3d 1365, 1367 (11th Cir. 1994).
Those allegations, when federal jurisdiction is invoked based upon
diversity, must include the citizenship of each party, so that the court is
satisfied that no plaintiff is a citizen of the same state as any
defendant. Triggs v. John Crump Toyota, Inc., 154 F.3d 1284, 1287
“It is . . . axiomatic that the inferior federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They
are ‘empowered to hear only those cases within the judicial power of the United States as
defined by Article III of the Constitution,’ and which have been entrusted to them by a
jurisdictional grant authorized by Congress.” Univ. of S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d
405, 409 (11th Cir. 1999) (quoting Taylor v. Appleton, 30 F.3d 1365, 1367 (11th Cir. 1994)).
Accordingly, “it is well settled that a federal court is obligated to inquire into subject matter
jurisdiction sua sponte whenever it may be lacking.” Id. at 410. “[A] court should inquire
into whether it has subject matter jurisdiction at the earliest possible stage in the
(11th Cir. 1998) (“Diversity jurisdiction requires complete diversity;
every plaintiff must be diverse from every defendant.”). Without such
allegations, district courts are constitutionally obligated to dismiss the
action altogether if the plaintiff does not cure the deficiency. Stanley
v. C.I.A., 639 F.2d 1146, 1159 (5th Cir. Unit B Mar. 1981); see also
DiMaio v. Democratic Nat'l Comm., 520 F.3d 1299, 1303 (11th Cir.
2008) (“Where dismissal can be based on lack of subject matter
jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, the court should dismiss on
only the jurisdictional grounds.” (internal quotation marks omitted)).
That is, if a complaint’s factual allegations do not assure the
court it has subject matter jurisdiction, then the court is
without power to do anything in the case. See Goodman ex rel.
Goodman v. Sipos, 259 F.3d 1327, 1331, n.6 (11th Cir. 2001) (“ ‘[A
district] court must dismiss a case without ever reaching the merits if it
concludes that it has no jurisdiction.’ ” (quoting Capitol Leasing Co. v.
FDIC, 999 F.2d 188, 191 (7th Cir. 1993))); see also Belleri v. United
States, 712 F.3d 543, 547 (11th Cir. 2013) (“We may not consider the
merits of [a] complaint unless and until we are assured of our subject
Travaglio v. Am. Exp. Co., 735 F.3d 1266, 1268 (11th Cir. 2013) (emphasis added)
(footnote omitted). See also, e.g., Ray v. Bird & Son & Asset Realization Co., Inc.,
519 F.2d 1081, 1082 (5th Cir. 1975) (“The burden of pleading diversity of citizenship
is upon the party invoking federal jurisdiction . . .” (citing Mas v. Perry, 489 F.2d
1396 (5th Cir. 1974)).2
For purposes of sua sponte review, the undersigned finds that the Complaint
sufficiently alleges (1) the Plaintiff’s states of citizenship (Delaware and Louisiana),3
“In Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206, 1209 (11th Cir.1981) (en banc), [the
Eleventh Circuit] adopted as binding precedent all decisions of the former Fifth Circuit
handed down prior to the close of business on September 30, 1981.” Travaglio, 735 F.3d at
The Plaintiff alleges that it is a corporation organized in Delaware and with its principal
place of business in Louisiana. See (Doc. 1 at 1, ¶ 1); 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1).
and (2) that § 1332(a)’s requisite amount in controversy is satisfied. However, the
undersigned finds that the Plaintiff has failed to sufficiently plead the citizenships of
the five Defendants.
As the Plaintiff acknowledges, each of the Defendants is a limited liability
The general rule for diversity is “that the citizenship of an
artificial, unincorporated entity generally depends on the citizenship of all the
members composing the organization.”
Rolling Greens, MHP, L.P. v. Comcast SCH
Holdings, L.L.C., 374 F.3d 1020, 1021 (11th Cir. 2004) (per curiam) (citing Carden v.
Arkoma Assocs., 494 U.S. 185, 195-96 (1990)). As such, for purposes of diversity
jurisdiction, “a limited liability company is a citizen of any state of which a member
of the company is a citizen.”
Id. at 1022. Accord Mallory & Evans Contractors &
Eng’rs, LLC v. Tuskegee Univ., 663 F.3d 1304, 1305 (11th Cir. 2011) (per curiam).
As to the citizenships of each Defendant LLC’s members, the Complaint
alleges only that, “[u]pon information and belief, none of the members … are citizens
of Delaware or Louisiana.”
(Doc. 1 at 1 – 2, ¶¶ 2 – 6). These vague allegations do
not assure the undersigned that complete diversity of citizenship exists for purposes
of § 1332(a). Travaglio, 735 F.3d at 1268. In order to establish the citizenship of
each Defendant LLC, the Plaintiff “must list the citizenships of all the members of
the limited liability company . . .”
Rolling Greens, 374 F.3d at 1022. See also S.D.
Ala. CivLR 8 (“A pleading or notice of removal asserting jurisdiction based on
diversity of citizenship must identify the citizenship of each party to the litigation …
If any party is an unincorporated association, limited liability company, or
partnership, the pleading or notice must identify the citizenship of all members.”).
This “can require tracing through several layers.”
BouMatic, LLC v. Idento
Operations, BV, 759 F.3d 790, 791 (7th Cir. 2014) (citing Cosgrove v. Bartolotta, 150
F.3d 729 (7th Cir. 1998) (citizenship of an LLC depends on citizenship of its
members, traced through as many levels as necessary to reach corporations or
3:11-CV-324-J-34JRK, 2011 WL 1357557, at *2 n.2 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 11, 2011) (in
pleading the citizenships of the members, “each member's citizenship must [also ]be
properly alleged, be it an individual, corporation, LLC, or other entity”).
“Defective allegations of jurisdiction may be amended, upon terms, in the trial
or appellate courts.”
28 U.S.C. § 1653. “[L]eave to amend should be freely granted
when necessary to cure a failure to allege jurisdiction properly.”
Georgiana Cmty. Hosp., Inc., 724 F.2d 901, 903 n.1 (11th Cir. 1984)). Accordingly,
the Plaintiff is hereby ORDERED to file and serve, no later than Wednesday,
February 17, 2016, an amended complaint that sufficiently alleges the citizenships
of the Defendant LLCs for purposes of diversity under § 1332(a) (or some alternative
basis for subject matter jurisdiction). The failure to do so will result in the entry of
a recommendation under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
72(b)(1), and S.D. Ala. GenLR 72(a)(2)(S) that this action be dismissed for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(h)(3) (“If the
court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must
dismiss the action.”). The amended complaint, if filed, shall reproduce the entire
original complaint as amended, see S.D. Ala. CivLR 15(a) (“Any amendment to a
pleading … must reproduce the entire pleading as amended and may not incorporate
any prior pleading by reference.”), and will become the operative complaint in this
Additionally, the Plaintiff has not filed a disclosure statement as required by
S.D. Ala. CivLR 7.1 and (for “nongovernmental corporate” parties) Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 7.1.
The Plaintiff is ORDERED to do so no later than
Wednesday, February 17, 2016.
DONE and ORDERED this the 3rd day of February 2016.
/s/ Katherine P. Nelson
KATHERINE P. NELSON
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
“As a general matter, ‘[a]n amended pleading supersedes the former pleading; the original
pleading is abandoned by the amendment, and is no longer a part of the pleader's averments
against his adversary.’ ” Pintando v. Miami-Dade Hous. Agency, 501 F.3d 1241, 1243 (11th
Cir. 2007) (per curiam) (quoting Dresdner Bank AG, Dresdner Bank AG in Hamburg v. M/V
OLYMPIA VOYAGER, 463 F.3d 1210, 1215 (11th Cir. 2006) (citation and quotation
omitted)). See also, e.g., Fritz v. Standard Sec. Life Ins. Co. of New York, 676 F.2d 1356,
1358 (11th Cir. 1982) (“Under the Federal Rules, an amended complaint supersedes the
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