United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
L. HORNSBY U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
and Pallie Jordan (“Plaintiffs”) filed this
personal injury action in state court. The named defendants
were Republic Services National Accounts, LLC and Wastequip
Manufacturing Company, LLC. Plaintiffs allege that Patrick
Jordan, while employed by Republic, was injured while making
a delivery to a landfill. Plaintiffs allege that another
Republic employee was dumping material from a different truck
when a roll-off container manufactured by Wastequip
malfunctioned and struck Patrick. Plaintiffs asserted product
liability claims against Wastequip and alleged that Republic
was liable (despite workers' compensation laws) on an
intentional tort theory.
and Wastequip removed the case based on an assertion of
diversity jurisdiction. They alleged that Plaintiffs are
domiciled in Louisiana; Wastequip is a citizen of Delaware
and North Carolina; and Republic is a citizen of Delaware and
Arizona. They satisfied the amount in controversy element by
pointing to claims of traumatic brain damage and other
serious injuries. New parties have since been added to the
suit, and their citizenship is not so clearly alleged. This
order addresses those parties and seeks clarity on this
critical jurisdictional issue.
citizenship of an LLC is determined by the citizenship of all
of its members, with its state of organization or principal
place of business being irrelevant. Harvey v. Grey Wolf
Drilling Co., 542 F.3d 1077 (5th Cir. 2008). “A
party seeking to establish diversity jurisdiction must
specifically allege the citizenship of every member of every
LLC or partnership involved in a litigation.”
Settlement Funding, L.L.C. v. Rapid Settlements,
Ltd., 851 F.3d 530, 536 (5th Cir. 2017). If the members
are themselves partnerships, LLCs, corporations or other form
of entity, their citizenship must be alleged in accordance
with the rules applicable to that entity, and the citizenship
must be traced through however many layers of members or
partners there may be. Mullins v. TestAmerica Inc.,
564 F.3d 386, 397-98 (5th Cir. 2009); Rodidaco, Inc. v.
Chesapeake Energy Louisiana Corp. 2018 WL 3551525 (W.D.
Waste Service, LLC
Waste Services, LLC filed an answer (Doc. 11) and alleged
that it, rather than Republic, was Patrick's employer.
BFI's answer does not appear to state with specificity
BFI's citizenship. BFI also filed a corporate disclosure
statement (Doc. 9) in which it stated that it is an LLC
wholly owned by Allied Waste North America, LLC, which is
wholly owned by Allied Waste Industries, LLC, which is in
turn wholly owned by Republic Services, Inc. The notice of
removal alleged that Republic is incorporated in Delaware and
has its principal place of business in Arizona.
when BFI alleges that the LLCs are “wholly owned
by” other entities it means that the owners are the
sole members of the LLCs, then this information from the
corporate disclosure statement-coupled with information in
the notice of removal-appears to adequately describe
BFI's citizenship. If the court has misinterpreted
BFI's allegations about its citizenship, BFI must file
clarification in the record by July 22,
preferable if attorneys would, in diversity cases, allege the
citizenship of parties with specificity in the notice of
removal, answer, amended complaint, or whatever pleading in
which the party first appears. Otherwise, the court, which
has an obligation to ensure the existence of subject matter
jurisdiction even when not challenged by the parties, must
dig through the record in search of nuggets of information
and interpret ambiguous terminology, which risks that
information might be overlooked or misunderstood, which can
result in an inadvertent remand to state court.
Plaintiff later moved to file a first amended complaint to
(1) substitute BFI in place of Republic and (2) add new
defendant Wastebuilt Southwest, LLC. The first amended
complaint alleges in Paragraph 4 that Wastebuilt is a
Delaware limited liability company. Wastebuilt later filed an
answer (Doc. 27) and a corporate disclosure statement (Doc.
29). The disclosure statement provided some information about
the ownership of the company, but it does not appear that the
pleadings contain the detailed membership information
necessary to ensure that there is complete diversity of
citizenship. Instructions to cure this are set forth at the
end of this order.