United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael G. Gotsch, Sr. United States Magistrate Judge
August 15, 2017, Plaintiff Rockford Mutual Insurance Company
(“Rockford”) filed a Complaint for Declaratory
Judgment against Defendant L.P. Partners Limited Partnership
(“L.P.”) and Necessary Party Defendants Indiana
Land Trust Company f/k/a Lake County Trust Col, Trust #4539
(“the Trust”); Nathan Phelps; Tabbatha Phelps;
IBIN Management, LLC (“IBIN”); IBIN Indian
Springs LLC (“Indian Springs”); and Federal
National Mortgage Association a/k/a Fannie Mae (“Fannie
Mae”), alleging that this Court has diversity
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). [DE 1]. As
the party seeking to invoke federal diversity jurisdiction,
Rockford bears the burden of demonstrating that the
requirement of complete diversity has been met. See
Chase v. Shop'n Save Warehouse Foods, Inc., 110
F.3d 424, 427 (7th Cir. 1997). Anything less can result in a
dismissal or remand for want of jurisdiction. Mut.
Assignment & Indem. Co. v. Lind-Waldock & Co.,
LLC, 364 F.3d 858, 861 (7th Cir. 2004). Here,
Rockford's jurisdictional statement is deficient as to
L.P. and all the Necessary Party Defendants.
however, the Court notes that corporations like Rockford
“are deemed to be citizens of the state in which they
are incorporated and of the state in which they have
their principal place of business.” N.
Trust Co. v. Bunge Corp., 899 F.2d 591, 594 (7th
Cir. 1990) (emphasis added); see 28 U.S.C. §
1332(c)(1). Therefore, Rockford has properly alleged
its own citizenship in Illinois by reciting that it was both
incorporated in and maintains its principal place of business
Rockford's statement as to the residence of Nathan and
Tabbatha Phelps, as husband and wife, in LaPorte County,
Indiana is deficient. An individual party's residency is
meaningless for purposes of diversity jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1332. See Guar. Nat'l Title
Co. v. J.E.G. Assocs., 101 F.3d 57, 58-59 (7th Cir.
1996). “It is well-settled that when the parties allege
residence but not citizenship, the court must dismiss the
suit.” Held v. Held, 137 F.3d 998, 1000 (7th
Cir. 1998) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted);
see also Smoot v. Mazda Motors of Am.,
Inc., 469 F.3d 675, 677-78 (7th Cir. 2006). An
individual's citizenship is determined by his domicile.
Dakuras v. Edwards, 312 F.3d 256, 258 (7th Cir.
2002). Residence may be evidence of domicile, but does not
establish citizenship. Heinen v. Northrop Grumman
Corp., 671 F.3d 669, 670 (7th Cir. 2012). Domicile is
“the state in which a person intends to live over the
long run.” Id.Accordingly, Rockford's
allegation lacks any indication of the Phelps' future
residential intentions and therefore cannot constitute
domicile or ultimately, citizenship.
IBIN and Indian Springs, Rockford recites their status as
limited liability companies organized under Indiana law with
separate addresses for principal places of business in Crown
Point, Indiana. A limited liability company's citizenship
“for purposes of . . . diversity jurisdiction is the
citizenship of its members.” Cosgrove v.
Bartolotta, 150 F.3d 729, 731 (7th Cir. 1998).
Therefore, the Court must be advised of the citizenship of
all the members of IBIN's and Indian Springs's to
ensure that none of their members share a common citizenship
with Rockford. See Hicklin Eng'g, L.C. v.
Bartell, 439 F.3d 346, 347-48 (7th Cir. 2006). Moreover,
citizenship must be “traced through multiple
levels” for those members of IBIN and Indiana Springs
who are a partnership or a limited liability company, as
anything less can result in a dismissal or remand for want of
jurisdiction. Mut. Assignment & Indem. Co., 364
F.3d at 861. Rockford has not adequately alleged the
citizenship of each member of IBIN and Indian Springs to
allow the Court to determine whether they preserve or defeat
the diversity jurisdiction Rockford seeks to claim.
L.P., Rockford alleges that it is “a limited
partnership organized under Indiana law and with a principal
place of business [in] Michigan City, Indiana . . . .”
[DE 1 at 2]. Rockford further states that
“[u]pon information and belief, none of L.P.'s
individual partners is domiciled within the State of
Illinois.” [Id.]. Rockford's
jurisdictional statement as to L.P. presents two problems.
First, “[a]llegations of federal subject matter
jurisdiction may not be made on the basis of information and
belief, only personal knowledge.” Yount v. Shashek,
No. Civ. 06-753-GPM, 2006 WL 4017975, at *10 n.1 (S.D.
Ill.Dec. 7, 2006) (citing Am.'s Best Inns, Inc. v.
Best Inns of Abilene, L.P., 980 F.2d 1072, 1074 (7th
Cir. 1992)); see also Ferolie Corp. v. Advantage
Sales & Mktg., LLC, No. 04 C 5425, 2004 WL 2433114,
at *1 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 28, 2004); Hayes v. Bass Pro
Outdoor World, LLC, No. 02 C 9106, 2003 WL 187411, at *2
(N.D. Ill. Jan. 21, 2003); Multi-M Int'l, Inc. v.
Paige Med. Supply Co., 142 F.R.D. 150, 152 (N.D. Ill.
1992). Therefore, Rockford's attempt to
establish lack of common citizenship with L.P. fails.
“a limited partnership has the citizenships of each
partner, general and limited.” Guar. Nat'l
Title Co., 101 F.3d at 59 (“There is no such thing
as a [state name] limited partnership for purposes of the
diversity jurisdiction. There are only partners, each of
which has one or more citizenships.” (internal
quotation marks omitted)); see also Hart v.
Terminex Int'l, 336 F.3d 541, 544 (7th Cir. 2003).
Thus, a court “need[s] to know the name and
citizenship(s) of its general and limited partners.”
Guar. Nat'l Title Co., 101 F.3d at 59; see
also Meyerson v. Showboat Marina Casino
P'ship, 312 F.3d 318, 320-21 (7th Cir. 2002).
Moreover, “the citizenship of unincorporated
associations must be traced through however many layers of
partners or members there may be.” Meyerson,
312 F.3d at 320 (citations omitted); see also
Ind. Gas Co. v. Home Ins. Co., 141 F.3d 314, 316
(7th Cir. 1998). Having failed to identify the
citizenship of every partner of L.P., Rockford has not
adequately alleged L.P.'s citizenship.
the Trust, Rockford alleges that it “is a land trust
organized and existing under Indiana law with a principal
place of business [in] Valparaiso, Indiana . . . .”
[DE 1 at 2]. Rockford also alleges based upon
information and belief that L.P. is the sole beneficiary of
the Trust and that Indiana Land Trust Company, as trustee of
the Trust, “maintains a principal place of business
[in] Crown Point, Indiana . . . .” [Id.]. The
citizenship of a trust for purposes of § 1332(a)
diversity jurisdiction is that of its trustee rather than its
beneficiaries. Grede v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon, 598
F.3d 899, 901 (7th Cir. 2010); May Dep't Stores Co.
v. Fed. Ins. Co., 305 F.3d 597, 599 (7th Cir.
2002); Downey v. State Farm Fire & Cas.
Co., 266 F.3d 675, 680 (7th Cir. 2001); see
also Carden v. Arkoma Assocs., 494 U.S. 185, 195-96
(1990); Navarro Sav. Ass'n v. Lee, 446 U.S.
458, 464 (1980). Therefore, the identity of and the
citizenship of the beneficiary is irrelevant in the
determination of the Trust's citizenship. The key here is
the citizenship of Indiana Land Trust Company as trustee.
Unfortunately, Rockford fails to allege with clarity whether
the Indiana Land Trust Company is a corporation, an LLC, or
any other type of business entity. Rockford simply alleges
that the Indiana Land Trust Company is “organized and
existing under Indiana law” and provides an Indiana
address for its principal place of business. [DE 1
at 2]. Given the differing citizenship
requirements for each type of business entity, the Court
cannot conclude with certainty whether the Indiana Land Trust
Company preserves the diversity jurisdiction Rockford intends
Rockford alleges that Fannie Mae is a mortgagee on the policy
at issue in this case and is a resident of the District of
Columbia. As discussed above, allegations of residency alone
do not establish citizenship. See Guar.
Nat'l Title Co., 101 F.3d at 58-59. Therefore,
Rockford has not satisfied its burden to show Fannie
Mae's citizenship and any effect it may have on complete
light of Rockford's failure to allege the citizenship of
L.P. and all the Necessary Party Defendant, the Court now
ORDERS Rockford to supplement the record on
or before October 25, 2017, by filing an
amended complaint that sets forth the citizenship of each
party, tracing the citizenship of all unincorporated
associations through all applicable layers of ownership.