WDH, LLC v. Sobczak-Slomczewski, Robert
ORDER that defendant Robert Sobczak-Slomczewski shall have until January 19, 2012 to file and serve a supplement to his notice of removal containing good faith allegations sufficient to establish complete diversity of citizenship for purposes of determining subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Signed by District Judge William M. Conley on 1/5/2012. (jef),(ps)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
Defendant Robert Sobczak-Slomczewski filed a notice of removal of this case from the
circuit court for Sauk County, Wisconsin on November 29, 2010.
In the underlying
complaint, plaintiffWDH LLC brings state law claims for breach of contract, conversion and
civil theft against Sobczak-Slomczewski. The parties have completed briefing WDH's motion
for summary judgment.
In an August 29, 2011 order granting Sobczak-Slomczewski's
motion to vacate the entry of default against him, the court concluded that there was
complete diversity between the parties. (Dkt. #26.) Further review of the complaint, notice
of removal and summary judgment materials indicates that this conclusion was premature.
Because WDH is a limited liability company, Sobczak-Slomczewski must provide the names
and citizenship of each member of WDH in order to show that the parties are diverse.
Sobczak-Slomczewski will be given two weeks to provide this information or this action will
be dismissed and the case will be remanded to state court.
Under 28 U.S.c. § 1446(c)(4), a district court must examine a notice of removal to
determine whether it appears on its face or by any attached exhibits that an order for
summary remand must be issued. In determining whether removal is proper under § 1441,
the Seventh Circuit advises that a district court must construe the removal statute narrowly
and resolve any doubts regarding subject matter jurisdiction in favor of remand. Doe v. Allied-
Signal, Inc., 985 F.2d 908,911 (7th Cir. 1993); Illinois v. Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp., 677 F.2d
571,576 (7th Cir. 1982).
"Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction." Int'l Union ofOperating Eng'r, Local
150, AFL-CIO v. Ward, 563 F.3d 276, 280 (7th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). Unless a
complaint alleges complete diversity of citizenship among the parties and an amount in
controversy exceeding $75,000, or raises a federal question, the case must be dismissed for
want of jurisdiction. Smartv. Local 702 Int'l Bhd. ofElec. Workers, 562 F.3d 798,802 (7th Cir.
2009). Because jurisdiction is limited, federal courts "have an independent obligation to
determine whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, even when no party challenges it." Hertz
Corp. v. Friend, 130 S. Ct. 1181, 1193 (2010). Further, the party seeking to invoke federal
jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing that jurisdiction is present. Smart, 562 F.3d at
Here, Sobczak-Slomczewski alleges in his notice of removal that diversity jurisdiction
exists because (1) the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 and (2) the parties are diverse.
(Dkt. # 1 ~~ 9-14.) For the latter to be true, however, there must be complete diversity,
meaning any plaintiff cannot be a citizen of the same state as any defendant. Smart, 562
F.3d at 803. Although Sobczak-Slomczewski states in his notice of removal that WDH is a
Delaware corporation, both the complaint and WDH's summary judgment materials indicate
that it is a Delaware limited liability company. (Dkt. #1 Ex. B ~ 1; Dkt. #32
"the citizenship of an LLC is the citizenship of each of its members," Sobczak-Slomczewski
has not alleged sufficient information to determine whether complete diversity exists here.
Camico Mut. Ins. Co. v. Citizens Bank, 474 F.3d 989,992 (7th Cir. 2007).
Before dismissing this action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and remanding to
the state court, Sobczak-Slomczewski will be given leave to file within 14 days a supplement
to his notice of removal establishing subject matter jurisdiction by alleging the names and
citizenship of each member of WDH.
In alleging the LLC's citizenship, Sobczak-
Slomczewski should keep in mind that if the member or members of the LLC are themselves
a limited liability company, partnership, or other similar entity, then the citizenship of those
members and partners must also be alleged: "the citizenship of unincorporated associations
must be traced through however many layers of partners or members there may be." Mryerson
v. HalTah's E. Chi. Casino, 299 F.3d 616,617 (7th Cir. 2002).
IT IS ORDERED that:
1) Defendant Robert Sobczak-Slomczewski shall have until January 19,2012, to
file and serve a supplement to his notice of removal containing good faith
allegations sufficient to establish complete diversity of citizenship for purposes
of determining subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.c. § 1332; and
2) failure to amend timely shall result in prompt dismissal of this matter for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction and remand to the state court.
Entered this 5th day of January, 2012.
BY THE COURT:
LIAM M. CONLEY
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