United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
MOHAMMAD SABEEHULLAH and NABIL KHAN, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
FAIRLIFE, LLC, MIKE MCCLOSKEY, and SUE MCCLOSKEY, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
P. KOLAR MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court sua sponte. The Court
must continuously police its subject matter jurisdiction.
Hay v. Ind. State Bd. of Tax Comm'rs, 312 F.3d
876, 879 (7th Cir. 2002). The Court must dismiss this action
if the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(h)(3). Currently, the Court is unable to determine if it
has subject matter jurisdiction over this litigation.
case was filed by Plaintiffs Mohammad Sabeehullah and Nabil
Khan as individuals and on behalf of themselves and all
others similarly situated in the district court based on
diversity jurisdiction in a class action pursuant to the
Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(d). As the party seeking to invoke federal
diversity jurisdiction, Plaintiffs bear the burden of
demonstrating that CAFA's requirements have been met.
Appert v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Inc., 673 F.3d
609, 617 (7th Cir. 2012) (“The party invoking federal
jurisdiction bears the burden of demonstrating its
existence.” (internal citation omitted)).
Complaint alleges that Plaintiff Mohammad Sabeehullah is a
citizen of Indiana and that Plaintiff Nabil Khan is a citizen
of California. (Compl. ¶¶ 2-3, ECF No. 1). The
Complaint further alleges that Defendant Fairlife, LLC is
“a Delaware corporation headquartered in Chicago,
Illinois, ” “owned by Select Milk Producers Inc.
and the Coca-Cola Company, ” and that it
“manufactures, advertises, sells, and markets”
products nationwide. Id. at ¶ 5. Finally, the
Complaint alleges that Defendants Mike McCloskey and Sue
McCloskey are “residents of Indiana.”
Id. at ¶ 6.
Plaintiffs fail to properly allege the citizenship of
Defendant Fairlife, LLC. Normally, 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). However, for the purpose of
determining citizenship under CAFA, limited liability
companies and other business entities are treated as
corporations. Bond v. Veolia Water Indianapolis,
LLC, 571 F.Supp.2d 905, 908-09 (S.D. Ind. 2008); see
Kurth v. Arcelormittal USA, Inc., No. 2:09-CV-108RM,
2009 WL 3346588, at *7 n.2 (N.D. Ind. Oct. 14, 2009) (finding
persuasive the reasoning in Bond, 571 F.Supp.2d 905,
and agreeing that “limited liability companies should
be treated as unincorporated associations under CAFA”
(internal citations omitted)). While corporations “are
deemed to be citizens of the state in which they are
incorporated and 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), pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1332(d)(10) the citizenship of an
unincorporated association is instead determined by the state
under whose laws it is organized and the state where
it has its principal place of business. Finally, an
allegation of a corporation's “headquarters”
is not synonymous with an allegation of the corporation's
“principal place of business.” Dalton v. Teva
N. Am., 891 F.3d 687, 690 (7th Cir. 2018) (“[W]hat
matters for the citizenship of a corporation is its state of
incorporation and its principal place of business, not its
‘headquarters.'” (internal citation
omitted)). It is therefore not sufficient for Plaintiffs to
allege that Fairlife, LLC is a “Delaware
corporation” that is “headquartered” in
Illinois. Rather, Plaintiffs must allege the state under
whose laws Fairlife, LLC is organized and the state where it
has its principal place of business.
Plaintiffs fail to sufficiently allege the citizenship of
Defendants Mike McCloskey and Sue McCloskey. The
“residency” of a party is meaningless for
purposes of diversity jurisdiction, as “citizenship is
what matters.” Guar. Nat'l Title Co. v. J.E.G.
Assocs., 101 F.3d 57, 58-59 (7th Cir. 1996) (explaining
that statements concerning a party's
“residency” are not proper allegations of
citizenship as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1332). “It
is well-settled that ‘[w]hen the parties allege
residence but not citizenship, the court must dismiss the
suit.'” Held v. Held, 137 F.3d 998, 1000
(7th Cir. 1998) (alteration in original) (quoting Guar.
Nat'l Title Co., 101 F.3d at 58); see generally
Smoot v. Mazda Motors of Am., Inc., 469 F.3d
675, 677-78 (7th Cir. 2006).
natural persons, state citizenship is determined by one's
domicile.” Dausch v. Rykse, 9 F.3d 1244, 1245
(7th Cir. 1993); see also Heinen v. Northrop Grumman
Corp., 671 F.3d 669, 670 (7th Cir. 2012) (“But
residence may or may not demonstrate citizenship, which
depends on domicile-that is to say, the state in which a
person intends to live over the long run.”);
Am.'s Best Inns, Inc. v. Best Inns of Abilene,
L.P., 980 F.2d 1072, 1074 (7th Cir. 1992) (“In
federal law citizenship means domicile, not
residence.”). Therefore, the Court must be advised as
to the citizenship of Defendants Mike McCloskey and Sue
McCloskey, not residency.
the importance of determining the Court's jurisdiction to
hear this case, Plaintiffs must sufficiently allege the
citizenship of Defendants Fairlife, LLC, Mike McCloskey, and
Sue McCloskey as outlined above. Therefore, the Court
ORDERS Plaintiffs to FILE,
on or before August 12, 2019, a
supplemental jurisdictional statement that properly alleges
the citizenship of Defendants as stated above.
 For purposes of determining diversity
jurisdiction, each party's citizenship must be
articulated as of “the time of the filing of the
complaint, ” rather than the date the claims are
alleged to have arisen or some other time material to the
lawsuit. Multi-M Int'l, Inc. ...