United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
ROBERT G. JAMES
JUDGE KAREN L. HAYES
August 1, 2017, defendant, Nationwide Building Services, Inc.
(“Nationwide”), removed this matter to federal
court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332. See Notice of Removal. Federal courts,
of course, are courts of limited jurisdiction. Howery v.
Allstate Ins. Co., 243 F.3d 912, 916 (5th
Cir. 2001). The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction
rests with the party invoking the federal forum. Id.
Further, when jurisdiction depends on diversity of
citizenship, “citizenship must be
‘distinctly and affirmatively
alleged.'” Getty Oil, Div. Of Texaco v. Ins.
Co. of North America, 841 F.2d 1254, 1259 (5th Cir.
1988) (citation omitted) (emphasis in citing source). This
rule requires “strict adherence.” Id.
Citizenship of the Parties
notice of removal alleges that co-defendants, Brookshire
Grocery Company (“Brookshire”) and The Travelers
Indemnity Company of Connecticut (“Travelers”)
are foreign entities. (Notice of Removal, ¶ 2). The
pleading, however, does not allege whether these
“companies” are corporations or some other type
of unincorporated association. If the former, then the
“allegations of citizenship must set forth the state of
incorporation as well as the principal place of business of
the corporation.” Getty Oil, supra (emphasis
added). Simply alleging that a corporation is a
“foreign insurer” or that its principal place of
business is not in a given state, without affirmatively
alleging where that principal place of business is, does not
suffice to establish jurisdiction. See Getty Oil,
supra; see also Illinois Cent. Gulf R. Co. v.
Pargas, Inc., 706 F.2d 633, 636 & n2 (5th Cir.1983)
(the basis upon which jurisdiction depends must be alleged
affirmatively and distinctly and cannot be established
argumentatively or by mere inference).
if Brookshire and Travelers are limited liability companies
and/or unincorporated associations, then the citizenship of
each member must be alleged and considered.
within the next seven days from the date of this order,
removing defendant is granted leave of court to file an
amended notice of removal that establishes the citizenship of
the parties for purposes of diversity. See 28 U.S.C.
§1653. If defendant fails to so comply, or if subject
matter jurisdiction is found to be lacking, then the matter
will be remanded to state court.
Amount in Controversy
addition, when, as here, the state court petition seeks a
money judgment, but state law does not permit a demand for a
specific sum, then the removing defendant(s) may assert the
amount in controversy in its notice of removal, which
“should be accepted when not contested by the plaintiff
or questioned by the court.” Dart Cherokee Basin
Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 554 (2014);
28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(2)(A). Here, however, the court
questions whether the amount in controversy exceeded the
jurisdictional minimum at the time of removal.
within the next 14 days from the date of this order, removing
defendant shall file a memorandum, together with
supporting evidence, sufficient to establish that the
requisite jurisdictional amount was in controversy at the
time of removal. Plaintiff may submit a response (and
evidence) within seven days thereafter, as needed. If
defendant fails to so comply, or if subject matter
jurisdiction is found to be lacking, then the matter will be
remanded to state court.
Chambers, at Monroe, Louisiana.