United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
SUA SPONTE JURISDICTIONAL BRIEFING ORDER
H.L. Perez-Montes United States Magistrate Judge.
the Court is a Complaint removed from a Louisiana state court
by Defendant Cellco Partnership, doing business as Verizon
Wireless (“Cellco”). (Doc. 1). Cellco premises
federal jurisdiction on 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.” Id.
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 affirmatively
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
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 burden.
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.
Plaintiff's Petition for Damages (“Petition”)
does not seek a specific amount of damages (Doc. 1-1).
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.
Cellco alleges the jurisdictional amount is established, as
evidenced by plaintiff's refusal to execute the
Stipulation and Waiver which was sent to her on October 24,
2017. (Doc. 1, Exh. “NR-2”).
Heidi Ann Gills (“Gills”) alleges she is a
citizen of Rapides Parish, Louisiana. (Doc. 1-4). Gills is a
citizen of Louisiana.
sues Defendant Verizon Corporation. (Doc 1-4). Gills's
Petition contains no allegations regarding the citizenship of
Cellco. (Doc. 1-4). In its Complaint for Removal, Cellco
alleges it was improperly named as Verizon Corporation, its
proper name being Cellco Partnership, doing business as
Verizon Wireless. (Doc. 1). Cellco further alleges it is a
Delaware General Partnership with its principal place of
business in New Jersey. (Doc. 1). Cellco alleges none of its
partners are incorporated in or have their principal place of
business in Louisiana. (Doc. 1).
while the state of incorporation and principal place of
business are sufficient jurisdictional facts to establish a
corporation's citizenship, Cellco is a General
Partnership. The Fifth Circuit has held that the
“the citizenship of a partnership is determined by
reference to the citizenship of each of its partners.”
See Int'l Paper Co., 116 F.3d 134, 135, 137 (5th
Cir. 1997). However, neither Gills's Petition nor
Cellco's Complaint for Removal allege facts regarding the
citizenship of all of the partners of Cellco Partnership.
Court cannot determine from the pleadings whether the parties
are diverse in citizenship. Therefore, federal jurisdiction
is in question.
The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to serve a copy of this order
upon the Plaintiff Heidi Ann Gills IMMEDIATELY upon receipt
of proof of service or an appearance.
ORDERED that, not later than twenty-one (21) days from
service of this Order, Defendant Verizon Corporation SHALL
FILE: (1) a Jurisdictional Memorandum setting forth specific
facts, including the citizenship of all of the partners of
Cellco Partnership, doing business as Verizon Wireless, 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 diversity jurisdiction.
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff Heidi Ann Gills will be
allowed seven (7) days from receipt of Defendant Verizon