United States District Court, D. Montana, Butte Division
TWIN CITY FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, as Partial Subrogee for CHRSTOF VON RABENAU, Plaintiff,
GATEWAY HOSPITALITY GROUP, INC.; BOZEMAN LODGING INVESTORS, LLC; HILTON GARDEN INN-BOZEMAN; and JOHN DOES I through V, Defendants.
case was filed on October 16, 2017. Diversity jurisdiction is
claimed.However, the requisite diversity of
citizenship necessary to establish diversity jurisdiction is
of citizenship jurisdiction, if it exists, must be grounded
in 28 U.S.C. § 1332. That statute provides in pertinent
(a) The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of
all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the
sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs,
and is between-
(1) Citizens of different States;
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).
fundamental that federal jurisdiction cannot be presumed. The
diversity statute requires complete diversity of citizenship
between all plaintiffs and all defendants. 15 JAMES WM. MOORE
ET AL., MOORE'S FEDERAL PRACTICE § 102.12, at 102-28
(3d ed. 2016). It is to be strictly construed. City of
Indianapolis v. Chase Nat. Bank of City of New York, 314
U.S. 63 (l941)(citing Healy v. Ratta, 292 U.S. 263,
270 (1934)). Plaintiff, as the party asserting jurisdiction,
has the burden of proving such jurisdiction exists. Lew
v. Moss, 797 F.2d 747 (9th Cir. 1986).
Complaint names three entity parties: Twin City Fire
Insurance Company, Gateway Hospitality Group, Inc., and
Bozeman Lodging Investors, LLC.
corporation, for purposes of diversity, is a citizen of both
the state of incorporation and of the state in which it has
its principal place of business. Montrose Chemical Corp.
v. American Motorists Ins. Co., 117 F.3d 1128, 1134 (9th
Cir. 1997); 28 U.S.C. §1332(c)(1). The corporate
citizenship of Twin City Fire Insurance Company and Gateway
Hospitality Group, Inc. is not properly pled. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(c)(1). Plaintiff alleges that Gateway Hospitality
Group, Inc. is "authorized to do business in the state
of Montana, " but plaintiff fails to allege its state of
incorporation. No principal place of business is alleged for
Twin City Fire Insurance Company or Gateway Hospitality
Group, Inc. It is thus impossible for the Court to determine
whether complete diversity exists.
Complaint names one entity defendant that appears to be a
limited liability company: Bozeman Lodging Investors, LLC.
limited liability company (LLC) resembles both a partnership
and a corporation, they are treated as "partnerships for
the purposes of diversity jurisdiction." Johnson v.
Columbia Properties Anchorage, LP, 437 F.3d 894, 899
(9th Cir. 2006). Therefore, "like a partnership, an LLC
is a citizen of every state of which its owners/members are
citizens." Johnson, 437 F.3d at 899. Here,
Plaintiff fails to allege the citizenship of Bozeman Lodging
Investors, LLC. The citizenship of each individual member is
not alleged. It is thus impossible for the Court to determine
whether complete diversity exists.
Complaint also names Hilton Garden Inn-Bozeman as a defendant
and describes it as "a business located in Bozeman,
Montana, operating principally as a
hotel." It is unclear to the Court whether Hilton
Garden Inn-Bozeman is a distinct legal entity or an assumed
business name of one of the other defendants. The Court
cannot discern whether it is a distinct "Citizen"
for the purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (a)(1), and it is
thus impossible for the Court to determine whether complete
diversity exists. See, e.g., Andreoni v. Forest City
Enterprises, Inc., 660 F.Supp.2d 254, 259-60 (D. Conn.
Civ. P. 12(h)(3) and applicable case law provide that
"[t]he objection that a federal court lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction may be raised by a party, or by a
court on its own initiative, at any stage in the litigation,
even after trial and the entry of judgment." Arbaugh ...