United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
H.L. Perez-Montes United States Magistrate Judge
SPONTE JURISDICTIONAL BRIEFING ORDER
the Court is a Complaint removed from a Louisiana state court
by Defendant Hallmark Specialty Insurance Company
(“Hallmark”) premising federal jurisdiction upon
diversity of citizenship (Doc. 1). “[S]ubject-matter
jurisdiction, because it involves a court's power to hear
a case, can never be forfeited or waived.” Arbaugh
v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006) (citing
Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574, 583
(1999)). The Court has “an independent obligation to
determine whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, even in
the absence of a challenge from any party.”
diversity statute - 28 U.S.C. § 1332 - is satisfied upon
a showing of: (1) diversity of citizenship between the
parties; and (2) an amount in controversy in excess of $75,
000, exclusive of interest and costs. “Complete
diversity requires that all persons on one side of the
controversy be citizens of different states than all persons
on the other side.” Harvey v. Grey Wolf Drilling
Co., 542 F.3d 1077, 1079 (5th Cir. 2008) (citing
Harrison v. Prather, 404 F.2d 267, 272 (5th Cir.
1968)) (internal citation and quotation omitted).
“[W]hen jurisdiction depends on citizenship,
citizenship must be distinctly and a
firmatively alleged.” Getty
Oil Corp., a Div. of Texaco, Inc. v. Ins. Co. of N. Am.,
841 F.2d 1254, 1259 (5th Cir. 1988) (internal quotation
omitted) (See also Mullins v. Testamerica, Inc.,
2008 WL 4888576 (5th Cir. 2008)(per curiam). In cases removed
from state court, diversity of citizenship must exist both at
the time of filing in state court and at the time of removal
to federal court. Coury v. Prot, 85 F.3d 244, 249
(5th Cir. 1996). The party invoking subject matter
jurisdiction in federal court has the burden of establishing
the Court's jurisdiction. St. Paul Reinsurance Co.,
Ltd. v. Greenberg, 134 F.3d 1250, 1253-54 (5th Cir.
1998). In this case, the removing Defendant must bear that
citizenship of an individual is his or her domicile, meaning
the place where an individual resides and intends to remain.
See Acridge v. Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan
Soc., 334 F.3d 444, 448 (5th Cir. 2003). A corporation
shall be deemed to be a citizen of every State and foreign
state by which it has been incorporated and of the State or
foreign state where it has its principal place of business.
See Tewari De-Ox Systems, Inc. v. Mountain States/Rosen,
L.L.C., 757 F.3d 481, 483 (5th Cir. 2014). “[T]he
citizenship of a partnership is determined by reference to
the citizenship of each of its partners.” See
Int'l Paper Co. v. Denkmann Associates, 116 F.3d
134, 135, 137 (5th Cir. 1997). The citizenship of a limited
liability company (“L.L.C.”), a limited
partnership, or other unincorporated association or entity is
determined by the citizenship of all its members. See
Harvey, 542 F.3d at 1079-80.
Plaintiffs' Petition for Damages (“Petition”)
does not seek a specific amount of damages (Doc. 1-3).
Therefore, the removing Defendant is required to either (1)
demonstrate that it is facially apparent that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000; or (2) set forth specific facts
in controversy that support a finding of the jurisdictional
amount. St. Paul Reinsurance, 134 F.3d at 1253.
Hallmark alleges Plaintiffs seek damages for severe and
permanently disabling injuries (Doc. 1-3), and further
alleges Plaintiffs have refused to stipulate their damages do
not exceed $75, 000, exclusive of interest, costs, and fees
(Doc. 1-2, Doc. 1-6). Hallmark alleges it is clear from the
face of Plaintiffs' Petition that Plaintiffs seek damages
in excess of $75, 000 (Doc. 1). Hallmark further alleges the
parties are completely diverse and that the amount in
controversy exceeds the amount of $75, 000 (Doc. 1).
sue Defendants, Champion Truck Lines, LLC, Hallmark Specialty
Insurance Company, and Clifford Phelps (Doc 1-3). Plaintiffs
allege Defendant Clifford Phelps is a resident of, and
domiciled in, the State of Oklahoma (Doc. 1-3). Accordingly,
Defendant Phelps is a citizen of Oklahoma (Doc. 1-2).
Plaintiffs' Petition further alleges that Defendant
Champion Truck Lines, LLC is a foreign corporation (without
giving more detail), and that Defendant Hallmark Specialty
Insurance Company is a foreign corporation (without giving
more detail) authorized to do and doing business in the State
of Louisiana (Doc. 1-3). In its Complaint for Removal,
Defendant Hallmark alleges Champion Truck Lines, LLC is a
limited liability company incorporated in the State of
Oklahoma, domiciled in the State of Oklahoma, and with its
principal place of business in the State of Oklahoma (Docs.
1-2, 1-3, and 1-4).
while the state of incorporation and principal place of
business are sufficient jurisdictional facts to establish a
corporation's citizenship, Defendant Champion Truck
Lines, LLC is an LLC. The Fifth Circuit has held that the
citizenship of an LLC “is determined by the citizenship
of all its members.” Harvey, 542 F.3d at
1079-80. However, neither the Plaintiffs' Petition for
Damages nor Defendant's Complaint for Removal allege
facts regarding the citizenship of the members of Champion
Truck Lines, LLC. Therefore, the citizenship of Defendant
Champion Truck Lines, LLC is not clear from the pleadings.
the citizenship of Defendant Hallmark is not clear from the
pleadings. Defendant Hallmark alleges it is incorporated in
Texas, with its principal place of business in Texas (Docs.
1-2 and 1-5). However, the designation of Hallmark as a
corporation is uncertain. Further, Defendant's Exhibit 3
(Doc. 1-5) indicates Hallmark's domicile is Oklahoma, as
identified by the Louisiana Department of Insurance. The
Oklahoma Secretary of State shows Hallmark Specialty
Insurance Company is a domestic for-profit insurance
corporation. Therefore, while it is not clear from the
pleadings, it appears that Hallmark Specialty Insurance
Company may also be a citizen of Oklahoma.
the Defendants' Complaint for Removal and Plaintiffs'
Petition for Damages contain no allegations regarding the
domicile or citizenship of Plaintiffs, Russell Riggs and
Ramada Thompson. The Court cannot determine from the
pleadings whether the parties are diverse in citizenship.
Therefore, the existence of federal jurisdiction is in
The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to serve a copy of this order
upon the Plaintiffs, Russell Riggs and Ramada Thompson, and
Defendants, Clifford Phelps and Champion Truck Lines, LLC
IMMEDIATELY upon receipt of proof of service or an
ORDERED that, not later than twenty-one (21) days from
service of this Order, Defendant Hallmark Specialty Insurance
Company SHALL FILE: (1) a Jurisdictional Memorandum setting
forth specific facts, including the citizenship of Hallmark
Specialty Insurance Company, including sufficient facts to
establish every State and foreign state by which it has been
incorporated and the State or foreign state where it has its
principal place of business; the citizenship of all the
members of Champion Truck Lines, LLC; and the citizenship of
Russell Riggs and Ramada Thompson, both at the time of filing
in state court and at the time of removal to federal court,
that support a finding that the parties are diverse in
citizenship; and (2) a motion for leave to amend the
jurisdictional allegations of the Complaint for Removal
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1653 to adequately allege
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs, Russell Riggs and Ramada
Thompson, and Defendants, Clifford Phelps and Champion Truck
Lines, LLC, will be allowed seven (7) days from receipt of