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Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Co. v. Anderson & Nichols

United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division

August 25, 2014

THE BAR PLAN MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDERSON & NICHOLS, JOHN PAUL NICHOLS, CLIFFORD J ANDERSON, VICKIE FENOGLIO-MOORE, Defendants.

ORDER TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT

Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge United States District Court

Plaintiff The Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Company (“Bar Plan”) filed its Complaint on August 21, 2014, alleging that this Court could exercise diversity jurisdiction. [Filing No. 1.] Because one of Bar Plan’s underlying jurisdictional allegations is deficient, the Court cannot confirm that diversity jurisdiction exists over this action.

Bar Plan alleges that Defendant Anderson & Nichols is “a partnership organized under the laws of Indiana, with its principal place of business in Terre Haute, Indiana.” [Filing No. 1 at 2.] This jurisdictional allegation is insufficient because the citizenship of an unincorporated association is “the citizenship of all the limited partners, as well as of the general partner.” Hart v. Terminex Int’l, 336 F.3d 541, 542 (7th Cir. 2003). “[T]he citizenship of unincorporated associations must be traced through however many layers of partners or members there may be.” Id . at 543. Asserting that all partners are citizens of “X” or that no partners are citizens of “X” is insufficient. See Peters v. Astrazeneca LP, 224 Fed.Appx. 503, 505 (7th Cir. 2007) (noting the insufficiency of a limited partnership asserting that none of its partners were citizens destroying diversity “rather than furnishing the citizenship of all of its partners so that [the court] could determine its citizenship”).

The Court is not being hyper-technical: Counsel has a professional obligation to analyze subject-matter jurisdiction, Heinen v. Northrop Grumman Corp., 671 F.3d 669 (7th Cir. 2012), and a federal court always has a responsibility to ensure that it has jurisdiction, Hukic v. Aurora Loan Servs., 588 F.3d 420, 427 (7th Cir. 2009).

For these reasons, the Court ORDERS Plaintiff Bar Plan to file an Amended Complaint by September 4, 2014, properly alleging a basis for this Court’s diversity jurisdiction. Defendants need not answer or otherwise respond to Plaintiffs original complaint.


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