United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
MINDY S. NICHOLS and JAMES NICHOLS, Plaintiffs,
JUST U.S. JJ-1, LLC d/b/a JIMMY JOHNS GOURMET SANDWICHES, Defendant.
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.
Mindy S. Nichols and James Nichols invoked this Court’s
subject matter jurisdiction via diversity jurisdiction by
filing their Complaint in federal court. As the party seeking
federal jurisdiction, Plaintiffs have the burden of
establishing that subject matter jurisdiction exists.
Smart v. Local 702 Int’l Bhd. of Elec.
Workers, 562 F.3d 798, 802-03 (7th Cir. 2009).
Court to have diversity jurisdiction, Plaintiffs and
Defendant Just Us JJ-1, LLC d/b/a Jimmy Johns Gourmet
Sandwiches must be citizens of different states, and the
amount in controversy must be more than $75, 000. Plaintiffs
have alleged a sufficient amount in controversy. Plaintiffs
have also sufficiently alleged their own citizenship.
However, the allegations are insufficient as to the
citizenship of Defendant.
Amended Complaint alleges that “Defendant . . . is/was
incorporated in the State of Michigan and therefore is a
citizen of the State of Michigan.” (Am. Compl. ¶
2, ECF No. 14). It further alleges that Defendant
“maintains its principal place of business in the State
of Michigan and therefore is a citizen of the State of
Michigan.” Id. at ¶ 3. These allegations
are insufficient for the purpose of determining citizenship.
allegations regarding the citizenship of Defendant are
unclear as to whether it is “incorporated, ” and
thus, a corporation, or whether it is “organized”
as a limited liability company. This distinction is important
because for purposes of establishing diversity jurisdiction,
a limited liability company’s citizenship is different
than that of a corporation. 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) (citing 28 U.S.C. §
1332(c)(1)). The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has further
“held that ‘when one corporation sues another and
the only basis of federal jurisdiction is diversity, the
[party asserting federal jurisdiction] must allege both the
state of incorporation and the state of principal
place of business for each corporation.’”
Wojan v. Gen. Motors Corp., 851 F.2d 969, 974-75
(7th Cir. 1988) (citing Casio, Inc. v. S.M. & R. Co.,
Inc., 755 F.2d 528, 529-30 (7th Cir. 1985)); see
also Karazanos v. Madison Two Assocs., 147 F.3d 624, 628
(7th Cir. 1998) (“in cases with corporate parties, it
is necessary to allege both the state of incorporation and
the state of the principal place of business, even if they
are one and the same.” (internal citation omitted)).
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, if Defendant is
actually a limited liability company, the Court must be
advised of the identity of each of its members and advised of
each member’s citizenship. Thomas v. Guardsmark,
LLC, 487 F.3d 531, 534 (7th Cir. 2007) (“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.”). It is not sufficient to broadly allege that
all members of a limited liability company are citizens of a
particular state. See Guar. Nat’l Title Co. v.
J.E.G. Assocs., 101 F.3d 57, 59 (7th Cir. 1996)
(explaining that the court would “need to know the name
and citizenship(s)” of each partner for diversity
jurisdiction purposes). Moreover, citizenship must be
“traced through multiple levels” for those
members who are a partnership or a limited liability company,
as anything less can result in a remand for want of
jurisdiction. Mut. Assignment & Indem. Co. v.
Lind-Waldock & Co., LLC, 364 F.3d 858, 861 (7th Cir.
the importance of determining the Court’s jurisdiction
to hear this case, Plaintiffs must first allege whether
Defendant is “incorporated, ” and thus, a
corporation, or whether it is “organized” as a
limited liability company or another form of business entity.
Plaintiffs must then sufficiently allege the citizenship of
Defendant as outlined above. Therefore, the Court
ORDERS Plaintiffs to FILE,
on or before October 10, 2019, a