Syrgley et al v. McCall et al
ORDER directing Plaintiff to supplement 1 Complaint, as set forth, such documentation to be filed on or before 7/6/12. Signed by Honorable P. K. Holmes, III on June 28, 2012. (lw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
FORT SMITH DIVISION
RICHARD C. SYRGLEY and
Case No. 2:11-CV-02245
WILLIAM H. MCCALL and
DANIEL P. YORK
The Court, having reviewed the filings in this case, now raises sua sponte, the issue of
whether this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the instant matter. Subject matter jurisdiction
and the issue of this Court’s authority to hear this action may be raised at any time. Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(h)(3). The Court is cognizant of the fact that Defendants have filed Motions to Dismiss (docs. 4
and 6) alleging a lack of personal jurisdiction. “[C]ertain threshold issues, such as personal
jurisdiction, may be taken up without a finding of subject-matter jurisdiction, provided that the
threshold issue is simple when compared with the issue of subject-matter jurisdiction.” Crawford
v. F. Hoffman La Roche, 267 F.3d 760, 764 (8th Cir. 2001). In this case, the threshold issue of
personal jurisdiction, as presented by the parties, does not appear to the Court to be simple when
compared with the issue of subject matter jurisdiction now raised by the Court.
Plaintiffs Richard Syrgley and Timothy English filed their Complaint in this case on
December 15, 2011. In the section of the Complaint captioned “Parties, Jurisdiction, and Venue,”
Plaintiffs merely assert that “[t]he Defendants are both residents of the state of Florida.” (Doc. 1, ¶
1). Then, after setting forth certain facts regarding LLC’s set up by both Plaintiffs and Defendants,
the Complaint simply alleges that “[t]his Court has jurisdiction over this matter because the case
involves citizens of different states . . .” Id. at ¶¶ 1-2. This is insufficient to properly allege diversity
jurisdiction. Nowhere in the section of the Complaint captioned “Parties, Jurisdiction, and Venue,”
or anywhere else in the Complaint, has the Court been able to find any allegation as to the citizenship
of the Plaintiffs or the citizenship (as opposed to the residence) of the Defendants.
The Court has an affirmative duty to ensure that any claims before it are within its subject
matter jurisdiction. Crawford v. United States, 796 F.2d 924, 928 (7th Cir. 1986); see also Strange
v. Arkansas-Oklahoma Gas Corp., 534 F. Supp. 138, 139 (W.D. Ark. 1981) (noting court’s
“obligation and duty to carefully consider the pleadings...to determine whether subject matter
jurisdiction exists”). The Court cannot discern, from Plaintiffs’ Complaint, the actual citizenship
of either Plaintiffs or Defendants for the purpose of establishing that the Court has diversity
jurisdiction over this case. As this is an action rooted in contract, no federal question is presented
such that the Court could otherwise exercise jurisdiction.
As the party invoking the Court’s jurisdiction, it is Plaintiffs’ burden to properly plead the
existence of diversity jurisdiction. Walker v. Norwest Corp., 108 F.3d 158, 161 (8th Cir. 1997).
Parties seeking to invoke federal jurisdiction have long assumed the burden of investigating the
citizenship of the parties involved. Id. Plaintiffs’ burden of pleading requires them to plead “with
specificity the citizenship of the parties.” Barclay Square Props. v. Midwest Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n
of Minneapolis, 893 F.2d 968, 969 (8th Cir. 1990).
The Court therefore directs Plaintiffs to supplement their Complaint by filing an Affidavit
or other document on record with this Court correctly asserting the citizenship of both Plaintiffs and
Defendants at the time of the filing of the Complaint. Plaintiffs are directed to file such
documentation on or before Friday, July 6, 2012. If Plaintiffs fail to properly and timely file such
documentation, the Court WILL dismiss this action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 28th day of June, 2012.
/s/P. K. Holmes, III
P.K. HOLMES, III
CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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