Below, Joshua et al v. Yokohama Tire Corporation et al
ORDER Regarding Jurisdiction. Defendants have until 9/7/2015 to file and serve an amended notice of removal containing good faith allegations sufficient to establish complete diversity of citizenship for purposes of determining subject matter jurisdiction. Failure to amend timely shall result in prompt dismissal. Signed by District Judge William M. Conley on 8/24/2015. (kwf)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
JOSHUA J. BELOW, by his Guardian, DEBRA
BELOW, CHARLIE ELIZABETH BELOW and
PATRICK JOSHUA BELOW,
DEAN HEALTH PLAN, INC.,
YOKOHAMA TIRE CORPORATION, ABC
CORPORATION OF NORTH AMERICA, GHI
TIRE MANUFACTURING VIRGINIA, LLC,
JKL INSURANCE COMPANY, YOKOHAMA
RUBBER COMPANY, LTD. and MNO
In this civil action, plaintiffs allege that defendants, including Yokohama Tire
Manufacturing Virginia, LLC, are liable for money damages arising out of a rollover
incident resulting from a tire tread separating from a tire on plaintiff Joshua J. Below’s
vehicle. (Compl. (dkt. #2) ¶ 20.) Invoking this court’s diversity jurisdiction, defendants
have removed this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).
(Not. of Removal (dkt. #1) ¶¶ 5, 13.) Because the allegations in the notice of removal
and complaint are insufficient to determine whether diversity jurisdiction actually exists,
defendants will be given an opportunity to file an amended notice of removal containing
the necessary allegations.
“Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.” Int’l Union of Operating Eng’rs,
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. Smart v. Local 702 Int’l Bhd. of Elec. 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, 559 U.S. 77, 94 (2010). Further, the
party seeking to invoke federal jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing that
jurisdiction is present. Smart, 562 F.3d at 802-03.
Here, defendants contend in their notice of removal that diversity jurisdiction
exists because (1) the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 and (2) the parties are
completely diverse. (Not. of Removal (dkt. #1) ¶ 5.) For the latter to be true, however,
no plaintiff can be a citizen of the same state as any defendant. Smart, 562 F.3d at 803.
Defendants’ allegations as to the citizenship of all parties prevent this court from
determining whether this is so.
With respect to defendant Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Virginia, LLC, the
defendants have not alleged sufficient information to determine whether complete
diversity exists here because “the citizenship of an LLC is the citizenship of each of its
members.” Camico Mut. Ins. Co. v. Citizens Bank, 474 F.3d 989, 992 (7th Cir. 2007).
Indeed, the notice of removal lacks any allegations regarding the name or the citizenship
of any member of defendant Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Virginia, LLC.
defendants allege that Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Virginia, LLC is “incorporated in
the State of Virginia and has its principal place of business and office in the State of
Virginia.” (Not. of Removal (dkt. #1) ¶ 10.) The Seventh Circuit instructs, however,
that this information is wholly irrelevant in determining the citizenship of a limited
liability company. Hukic v. Aurora Loan Servs., 588 F.3d 420, 427 (7th Cir. 2009). 1
Before dismissing this action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, defendants will
be given leave to file within 14 days an amended complaint which establishes subject
matter jurisdiction by alleging the names and citizenship of each member of defendant
Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Virginia, LLC.
In alleging the LLC’s citizenship, plaintiff should be aware that if any members of the
LLC are themselves a limited liability company, partnership, or other similar entity, then
the individual citizenship of each of those members and partners must also be alleged as
well because “the citizenship of unincorporated associations must be traced through
however many layers of partners or members there may be.” Meyerson v. Harrah’s E. Chi.
Casino, 299 F.3d 616, 617 (7th Cir. 2002).
IT IS ORDERED that:
1) defendants shall have until September 7, 2015, to file and serve an amended
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.
Entered this 24th day of August, 2015.
BY THE COURT:
WILLIAM M. CONLEY
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