United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
STEPHEN L. CROCKER Magistrate Judge
27, 2016, defendants filed a notice of removal in this civil
diversity action for breach of contract that plaintiff Linda
Bernard commenced in the Circuit Court for Juneau County,
Wisconsin. Dkt. 1. The first question in any lawsuit is
whether the court has subject matter jurisdiction, and the
court has an independent obligation to ensure that it exists.
Arbaugh v. Y & H Corporation, 546 U.S. 500, 501
(2006); Avila v. Pappas, 591 F.3d 552, 553
(7th Cir. 2010). As the party seeking to invoke
federal diversity jurisdiction, defendants bear the burden of
demonstrating that the complete diversity and amount in
controversy requirements in 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) are met.
Appert v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Inc., 673 F.3d
609, 617 (7th Cir. 2012); Chase v. Shop ‘N Save
Warehouse Foods, Inc., 110 F.3d 424, 427 (7th Cir.
1997). A review of the notice of removal reveals that
defendants' allegations regarding the court's
diversity jurisdiction are inadequate in at least three
§ 1332 requires complete diversity of citizenship,
meaning that no plaintiff may be a citizen of the same state
as any defendant. McCready v. EBay, Inc., 453 F.3d
882, 891 (7th Cir. 2006); Krueger v.
Cartwright, 996 F.2d 928, 931 (7th Cir.1993)
(“Under the rule of complete diversity, if there are
residents of the same state on both sides of a lawsuit, the
suit cannot be maintained under the diversity jurisdiction
even when there is also a nonresident party.”). Because
defendants (and the state court complaint) allege that
plaintiff Bernard and defendant Blue Cross Blue Shield are
both citizens of Michigan, it appears that complete diversity
of citizenship does not exist in this case.
neither defendants' notice of removal nor plaintiff's
state court complaint contain any allegations suggesting that
the amount in controversy in this case will exceed the
statutory minimum of $75, 000. Plaintiff did not place a
value on her claim and defendants have not explained why they
believe that there is a reasonable probability that the
amount in controversy exceeded $75, 000 at the time of
removal. Chase, 110 F.3d at 427 (To meet the amount
in controversy requirement in a removal case, “our
circuit requires the defendant to offer evidence which proves
‘to a reasonable probability that jurisdiction
exists.'”); In re Shell Oil Co., 970 F.2d
355, 356 (7th Cir. 1992) (in determining whether
amount in controversy exceeds minimum, court looks to facts
at time of removal).
even if defendants can overcome the above two hurdles, they
have failed to allege the proper citizenship of defendant
Woodside Ranch, LLC. The notice of removal identifies
Woodside as having “a principal office located in
Northridge, California.” Dkt. 1 at 3. However,
“an LLC's jurisdictional statement must identify
the citizenship of each of its members as of the date the
complaint or notice of removal was filed, and, if those
members have members, the citizenship of those members as
well.” Thomas v. Guardsmark, LLC, 487 F.3d
531, 534 (7th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted).
Defendants have failed to identify the members of the LLC or
IT IS ORDERED that defendants have until December 3, 2016 to
show cause why this case should not be remanded to the
Circuit Court for Juneau County, Wisconsin for lack of
federal subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c)
(“If at any time before final judgment it appears that
the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the
case shall be remanded.”). Plaintiff has until December
17, 2016 to respond. In complying with this order, the
parties should keep in mind that for the purpose of diversity
jurisdiction, the citizenship and not the residency of a
party is what matters for diversity jurisdiction purposes.
Craig v. Ontario Corp., 543 F.3d 872, 876
(7th Cir. 2008); Meyerson v. Harrah's East
Chicago Casino, 299 F .3d 616, 617 (7th Cir.
2002). An individual is a citizen of the state in which he is
domiciled, that is, where he has a “permanent home and
principal establishment, and to which [he] has the intention
of returning whenever he is absent therefrom.” Charles
Alan Wright, Law of Federal Courts 161
(5th ed. 1994); see also Dakuras v.
Edwards, 312 F.3d 256, 258 (7th Cir. 2002).
Further, corporations are citizens of the states in which
they are incorporated and have their principal place of
business. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1); Metropolitan Life
Ins. Co. v. Estate of Cammon, 929 F.2d 1220, 1223
(7th Cir. 1991)).
Plaintiff has stipulated to the
dismissal of defendant U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid