United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
DAVID C. NUNNALLY, Plaintiff
ZHEJIANG HUAHAI PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD., ET AL., Defendants
JURISDICTIONAL REVIEW FINDINGS
H.L. PEREZ-MONTES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a Complaint premising federal jurisdiction upon
both diversity of citizenship and federal question
jurisdiction (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
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.
Complaint alleges that Plaintiff David Nunnally
(“Nunnally”) is a resident of Pineville, Rapides
Parish, Louisiana. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Thus, Nunnally is a
citizen of Louisiana. Nunnally alleges there is complete
diversity of citizenship among the parties, and the amount in
controversy exceeds the $75, 000 jurisdictional threshold.
(Doc. 1, p. 11). However, the citizenship of Defendants is
not clear from the pleadings.
Complaint alleges Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
(“ZHP”) is a Chinese corporation, with its
principal place of business at Xunqiao, Linhai, Zhejiang
317024, China and its United States headquarters in Cranbury,
New Jersey. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Thus, ZHP is a citizen of China.
Huahai U.S. Inc. (“Huahai US”) is a New Jersey
corporation, with its principal place of business in
Cranbury, New Jersey. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Thus, Huahai U.S. is a
citizen of New Jersey. Prinston Pharmaceutical Inc.
(“Prinston”), doing business as Solco Healthcare
L.L.C. (“Solco”), is a Delaware corporation with
its principal place of business in Cranbury, New Jersey.
(Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). Thus, Prinston is a citizen of New Jersey.
Solco is a Delaware limited liability company with its
principal place of business in Cranbury, New Jersey. (Doc. 1,
p. 8). Solco is a wholly owned subsidiary of Prinston and
ZHP. Id. Thus, Solco is a citizen of China and New
Complaint further asserts Aurobindo Pharma, Ltd.
(“Aurobindo”) is a foreign corporation with its
principal place of business in Hyderabad, Telangana, India,
and its United States headquarters in East Windsor, New
Jersey. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Thus, Aurobindo is a citizen of
India. Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc. (“Aurobindo
USA”) is a Delaware corporation with its principal
place of business in East Windsor, New Jersey. (Doc. 1, p.
9). Thus, Aurobindo is a citizen of New Jersey. Aurolife
Pharma, L.L.C. (“Aurolife”) is a Delaware limited
liability company with its principal place of business in
Dayton, New Jersey. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Aurolife is a wholly
owned subsidiary of Aurobindo USA. Id. Thus,
Aurolife is also a citizen of New Jersey.
Complaint contends Acetris, L.L.C. (“Acetris”) is
a corporation with its principal place of business in
Allendale, New Jersey. (Doc. 1, p. 9). However, the
citizenship of a limited liability company is not evaluated
on the same basis as that of a corporation. See
Harvey, 542 F.3d at 1079-1081; See also La.
Rev. Stat. Ann. §12:1301. While the state of
incorporation and principal place of business are sufficient
jurisdictional facts to establish a corporation's
citizenship, Acetris is an unincorporated LLC. The Fifth
Circuit has held that a limited liability company is a
citizen of every state in which any member of the company is
a citizen and “the citizenship of an LLC is determined
by the citizenship of all of its members.”
See Harvey, 542 F.3d at 1080. The Complaint contains
no allegations regarding the citizenship of the members of
Acetris. Therefore, the citizenship of Acetris is not clear
from the pleadings. Diversity jurisdiction is not clear on the
face of the pleadings.
Federal Question Jurisdiction
Court to have subject matter jurisdiction, federal question
jurisdiction must appear on the face of the Complaint.
Carpenter v. Wichita Falls Independent School Dist.,
44 F.3d 362, 366 (5th Cir. 1995); see also Elam v. Kansas
City Southern Ry. Co., 635 F.3d 796, 803 (5th Cir. 2011)
(per curiam). Nunnally brings state law claims against
Defendants under the Louisiana Products Liability Act
(“LPLA”), La. R.S. 9:2800.51, et seq.
(Doc. 1, pp. 53-62), and state law claims of negligence,
negligent misrepresentation, redhibition, and fraud. (Doc. 1,
Nunnally also asserts this Court has federal question
jurisdiction under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
(“MMWA”), 15 U.S.C. § 2301, et seq.
(Doc. 1, pp. 66-68). Nunnally brings breach of warranty
claims under the MMWA against Defendants. Id. The
MMWA grants federal courts jurisdiction to hear claims for
breach of warranty so long as the amount in controversy is at
least $50, 000. 15 U.S.C. § 2310(d)(3). Nunnally seeks
compensatory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief,
and the creation of a fund to finance medical monitoring
procedures, testing, and medical care. (Doc. 1, pp. 63-65, p.
76-77). Nunnally alleges the amount in controversy exceeds
$75, 000. (Doc. 1, p. 11). The allegations on the face of the
Complaint satisfy the jurisdictional threshold under the
MMWA. Federal question jurisdiction is thus apparent on the
face of the Complaint.
further action is necessary at this time. This finding is
preliminary in nature and may be reconsidered sua