Tradesmen International, LLC v. JVC Coatings & Fabrication, LLC
Order that plaintiff file an Amended Complaint by 12/13/2016 that alleges sufficient facts re diversity or jurisdiction matter. Plaintiff to file Disclosure Statement by 12/13/2016. Signed by Magistrate Judge Katherine P. Nelson on 11/29/2016. (srr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
JVC COATINGS & FABRICATION, )
CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-00590-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 Upon consideration, the undersigned finds that the Plaintiff
must supplement its allegations as to the citizenships of the parties.3
Both parties are alleged to be limited liability companies (LLCs). Unlike
“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
For purposes of sua sponte review, the undersigned finds that the Plaintiff has alleged
sufficient facts establishing § 1332(a)’s requisite amount in controversy.
corporations, see 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1), for purposes of diversity jurisdiction “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)).
Americold Realty Trust v. Conagra Foods, Inc., 136 S. Ct. 1012 (2016) (reaffirming
Carden rule). 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.”
Rolling Greens, 374 F.3d at 1022. Accord Mallory & Evans Contractors & Eng’rs,
LLC v. Tuskegee Univ., 663 F.3d 1304, 1305 (11th Cir. 2011) (per curiam). Thus,
“[t]o sufficiently allege the citizenship of [an LLC], a party must list the
citizenships of all the members of the limited liability company…”
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 natural persons)).
See also Azzo v. Jetro Rest. Depot, LLC, No.
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”).
The Plaintiff LLC alleges that its sole member is Tradesmen International
(Doc. 1 at 1).
However, the Plaintiff does not allege the
citizenship(s) of the member(s) of that LLC, simply alleging it is a “Delaware” LLC.
(Id.). The Plaintiff does not identify any members of the Defendant LLC or their
citizenships, instead alleging it is an Alabama LLC with its principal place of
business in Alabama. (Id.). These allegations are insufficient to demonstrate the
citizenship(s) of either party for purposes of diversity jurisdiction.
“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)).
consideration, the Plaintiff is ORDERED to file and serve, no later than Tuesday,
December 13, 2016, an amended complaint that alleges sufficient facts
demonstrating diversity of citizenship under § 1332(a), or some alternative bases for
subject matter jurisdiction in this action. In so doing, the Plaintiff must abide by
the following directives:
The amended complaint 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
The Plaintiff must file its amended complaint as a freestanding pleading and
not as an attachment to a motion or other filing.
Any filing made in contravention of these directives will be deemed
nonresponsive to this Order and will be summarily ordered stricken.
The failure to
comply with this Order will result in dismissal of this action 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.”).
Additionally, the Plaintiff did not file a disclosure statement in accordance
with S.D. Ala. CivLR 7.1 contemporaneously with its complaint. The Plaintiff is
ORDERED to do so no later than Tuesday, December 13, 2016 (form available at:
DONE and ORDERED this the 29th day of November 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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