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Homelife in The Gardens, LLC v. Landry

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

July 27, 2017

HOMELIFE IN THE GARDENS, LLC ET AL.
v.
LEIGH LANDRY

         SECTION I

          ORDER

          LANCE M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is defendant Leigh Landry's motion[1] to dismiss the above-captioned matter for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiffs-who base jurisdiction on 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (diversity of citizenship)-oppose[2] the motion.

         For the foregoing reasons, the Court denies the motion.

         Section 1332(a)(1) provides that “[t]he district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between . . . citizens of different States.” Courts have long understood § 1332 to demand complete diversity. See Strawbridge v. Curtiss, 7 U.S. (3 Cranch) 267 (1806). Complete diversity “requires that all persons on one side of the controversy be citizens of different states than all persons on the other side.” McLaughlin v. Mississippi Power Co., 376 F.3d 344, 353 (5th Cir. 2004).

         All parties agree, and the Court does not dispute, that Landry is a citizen of Louisiana. Landry argues that one of the plaintiffs-HomeLife in the Gardens, LLC (“HomeLife”)-is also a Louisiana citizen, thereby violating the complete diversity rule.[3]

         “[T]he citizenship of a LLC is determined by the citizenship of all of its members.” Harvey v. Grey Wolf Drilling Co., 542 F.3d 1077, 1080 (5th Cir. 2008). According to Landry, F. Evans Schmidt-a Louisiana citizen and HomeLife's counsel in this case-is a member of HomeLife.[4] As such, Landry contends that complete diversity does not exist.

         After inquiry by the Court, [5] Schmidt declared under penalty of perjury that he was indeed a member of HomeLife until October 7, 2016, when he sold his interest in the company.[6] Schmidt also submitted a bank record documenting the transfer of funds pursuant to the sale on that date.[7] The Court may accept Schmidt's declaration and bank record as competent evidence in its jurisdictional inquiry. See Menchaca v. Chrysler Credit Corp., 613 F.2d 507, 511 (5th Cir. 1980) (When a party “challenges the existence of subject matter jurisdiction in fact, ” the Court may consider “matters outside the pleadings, such as testimony and affidavits, ” to determine whether jurisdiction exists.)- The Court therefore concludes that Schmidt was not a member of HomeLife as of October 14, 2016, the filing date of the present case.

         As such, complete diversity existed in this case on the date of filing.[8] Looking to that date, the Court possesses subject matter jurisdiction over the case. See Thompson v. Greyhound Lines, Inc., 574 Fed.App'x 407, 408 (5th Cir. 2014) ("Diversity jurisdiction is based on the facts at the time of filing.").

         Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Landry's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is DENIED.

---------

Notes:

[1] R. Doc. No. 37. Landry's motion is styled as a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) (lack of subject matter jurisdiction), 12(b)(2) (lack of personal jurisdiction), and 12(b)(3) (improper venue) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Id. However, Landry limits her argument to Rule 12(b)(1) in her memorandum in support of her motion. See R. Doc. ...


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