Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

McDonald v. Brookshire Grocery Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

October 20, 2017

MARGARET MCDONALD
v.
BROOKSHIRE GROCERY COMPANY, ET AL.

          JUDGE ROBERT G. JAMES

          ORDER

          MAG. JUDGE KAREN L. HAYES

         On 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.

         a) Citizenship of the Parties

         The 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).

         Alternatively, if Brookshire and Travelers are limited liability companies and/or unincorporated associations, then the citizenship of each member must be alleged and considered.[1]

         Accordingly, 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.

         b) Amount in Controversy

         In 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.[2]

         Accordingly, 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.[3]

         IT IS SO ORDERED.

         In Chambers, at Monroe, Louisiana.

---------


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.