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Nautilus Insurance Co. v. Voyager Construction, LLC

United States District Court, D. Montana, Butte Division

June 5, 2019

NAUTILUS INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
VOYAGER CONSTRUCTION, LLC; VOYAGER PROPERTIES, LLC; EMPLOYERS MUTUAL CASUALTY COMPANY; SENTINEL INSURANCE COMPANY; THOSE CERTAIN UNDERWRITERS OF LLOYD'S OF LONDON SUBSCRIBING TO POLICY NO. N04NZ00790; AND JOHN DOES 1-10, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Sam E. Haddon, United States District Court Judge.

         This case filed on May 31, 2019, asserts diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).[1]

         Federal district courts have original diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(3) for civil actions between "citizens of different States [with] citizens or subjects of a foreign state [as] additional parties" if the amount in controversy exceeds §75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs.[2] Each defendant must be a citizen of a state different from each plaintiff.[3]

         Several defendants are named.[4] Two are limited liability companies ("LLC"): Voyager Construction, LLC ("VCL") and Voyager Properties, LLC ("VPL").[5]

         "[A]n LLC is a citizen of every state of which its owners/members are citizens."[6] "[A] party seeking to establish diversity jurisdiction in a case in which [an LLC] is a party must list the citizenships of all members of the company, and if any of those members have members, [the members'] citizenships must be listed as well."[7]

         The complaint asserts that VCL's and VPL's "members are citizens of either Montana or Pennsylvania, but not Arizona," without specifically listing the citizenship of each member.[8] Absent specific allegations of the citizenships of all members of each LLC, diversity jurisdiction is not well-pleaded.[9]

         Several unidentified "John Does 1-10" are also designated as defendants.[10]Inclusion of such unidentified "Doe" defendants "destroys [diversity] jurisdiction" in an original federal action.[11]

         The complaint further asserts the Court has jurisdiction "alternatively" under the "Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. Section 2201(a)."[12] '"[T]he Declaratory Judgment Act does not itself confer federal subject matter jurisdiction but merely provides an additional remedy in cases where jurisdiction is otherwise established."'[13] Subject matter jurisdiction is not established by the declaratory judgment claim.

         Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3), "[i]f the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action." Leave to amend nevertheless will be given.[14]

         ORDERED:

         This case will be dismissed on June 18, 2019, unless the complaint is amended to properly plead jurisdiction.

---------

Notes:

[1] See Doc. 1 at 4.


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