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Estes v. C-K Sherwood Acres LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

December 2, 2019

ASHLEY ESTES, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF JACE BRIDGEWATER
v.
C-K SHERWOOD ACRES LLC DBA SHERWOOD ACRES APARTMENTS AND QBE INSURANCE CORPORATION

          NOTICE AND ORDER

          ERIN WILDER-DOOMES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On December 27, 2017, Ashley Estes, individually and on behalf of her minor child Jace Bridgewater (“Plaintiff”), filed a Petition for Damages (the “Original Petition”) naming as defendants C-K Sherwood Acres, LLC dba Sherwood Acres Apartments (“Sherwood Acres Apartments”) and QBE Insurance Corporation (“QBE”). Plaintiff seeks to recover damages for injuries allegedly sustained when Plaintiff slipped and fell at Sherwood Acres Apartments.[1]

         On November 26, 2019, Sherwood Acres Apartments and QBE (collectively, the “Removing Defendants”) filed a Notice of Removal asserting that this Court has federal subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.[2] With respect to the citizenship of the parties, Plaintiff alleges she is a citizen of Louisiana.[3] Per the Notice of Removal, QBE “is a Pennsylvania corporation whose principal place of business is New York, New York.”[4] Although the Notice of Removal purports to set forth the citizenship of Sherwood Acres Apartments, certain of the allegations related to Sherwood Acres Apartments' citizenship are insufficient.

         The Fifth Circuit has “stated repeatedly that when jurisdiction depends on citizenship, citizenship must be ‘distinctly and affirmatively alleged.'”[5] To adequately allege the citizenship of a limited liability company such as Sherwood Acres Apartments, Removing Defendants must identify each member of the limited liability company and the citizenship of each member in accordance with the requirements of § 1332(a) and (c).[6] The same requirement applies to any member of a limited liability company or other type of unincorporated association which is also a limited liability company or unincorporated association.[7] This Court has previously held that “allegations phrased in the negative are insufficient.”[8]

         The Removing Defendants' citizenship allegations with respect to RCG New Plan, LLC (an alleged member of Kings Mountain IV, LP, which is in turn an alleged member of Sherwood Acres Apartments) do not meet the above standard. Specifically, the Removing Defendants allege that the members of RCG New Plan, LLC include:

a. BA Alpine Holdings, Inc. is a Delaware corporation, whose principal place business is, based on information and belief, outside of Louisiana;
b. Feil Family Limited Partnership, whose members, based on information and belief, are not citizens of Louisiana;
c. Kitty Hawk Capital, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, whose principal place of business is Delaware and, based on information and belief, whose members are not citizens of Louisiana;
d. SLR Ventures, who, based on information and belief, is not a citizen of Louisiana;
g. Anderson Children's Trust, who, upon information and belief, is not a citizen of Louisiana
o. Bellerock Partners, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, whose principal place of business is Delaware, and based on information and belief, whose members are not citizens of Louisiana;
p. Sidney S. Stark Revocable Trust, whose members, on information and belief, are not citizens of Louisiana;
q. MB Cown Purchase Co., LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, whose principal place of business is Delaware, and, based on information and belief, whose members are not citizens of Louisiana;
r. RG Opportunity, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, whose principal place of business is Delaware, and, based on information and belief, whose ...

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