United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
KARA E. STRAYER, Plaintiff,
JACOB ARTHUR KINGDON, OMEGA FINANCIAL, LLC f/k/a OMEGA FINANCIAL, INC., and PV HOLDING CORP., Defendants.
MORALES HOWARD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE is before the Court sua sponte.
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and
therefore have an obligation to inquire into their subject
matter jurisdiction. See Kirkland v. Midland Mortg.
Co., 243 F.3d 1277, 1279-80 (11th Cir. 2001). This
obligation exists regardless of whether the parties have
challenged the existence of subject matter jurisdiction.
See Univ. of S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d
405, 410 (11th Cir. 1999) (“[I]t is well settled that a
federal court is obligated to inquire into subject matter
jurisdiction sua sponte whenever it may be
lacking”). “In a given case, a federal district
court must have at least one of three types of subject matter
jurisdiction: (1) jurisdiction under a specific statutory
grant; (2) federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1331; or (3) diversity jurisdiction pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).” Baltin v. Alaron
Trading, Corp., 128 F.3d 1466, 1469 (11th Cir. 1997).
August 29, 2017, Defendants Jacob Arthur Kingdon
(“Kingdon”) and Omega Financial, LLC, f/k/a Omega
Financial, Inc. (“Omega Fi”), filed a Notice of
Removal (Doc. 1, Notice of Removal) asserting that the Court
has diversity jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1332. See Notice of Removal at 3-4. In
the Notice of Removal, Defendants note that Plaintiff Strayer
is “a resident of Duval County, Florida, ” and
“domiciled in the State of Florida.” Id.
at 1, 3. Defendants go on to note that Defendant Kingdon is
“a resident of Maineville, Ohio, ” id.
at 2, and Defendant Omega Fi is a “Delaware limited
liability company having its principle place of business in
Columbus, Georgia, ” but is also “a foreign
corporation in Georgia . . . .” Id. These
allegations are insufficient to demonstrate the citizenship
of Defendants. As such, the Court is unable to determine
whether it has diversity jurisdiction over this action.
court to have diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a), “all plaintiffs must be diverse from
all defendants.” Univ. of S. Ala., 168 F.3d at
412. To establish diversity over a natural person, a
complaint must include allegations of the person's
citizenship, not where he or she resides. See Taylor v.
Appleton, 30 F.3d 1365, 1367 (11th Cir. 1994). A natural
person's citizenship is determined by his or her
“domicile, ” or “the place of his true,
fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment . . .
to which he has the intention of returning whenever he is
absent therefrom.” McCormick v. Aderholt, 293
F.3d 1254, 1257-58 (11th Cir. 2002) (quotation and citation
omitted). Because the Notice of Removal discloses Defendant
Kingdon's residence, rather than his domicile or state of
citizenship, the Court finds that Defendants have not alleged
the facts necessary to establish the Court's jurisdiction
over this case. “Citizenship, not residence,
is the key fact that must be alleged in the complaint to
establish diversity for a natural person.”
Taylor, 30 F.3d at 1367 (emphasis supplied); see
also Miss. Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, 490
U.S. 30, 48 (1989) (“‘[d]omicile' is not
necessarily synonymous with ‘residence'”).
addition, Defendants declare that Defendant Omega Fi is a
“Delaware limited liability company having its
principle place of business in Columbus, Georgia, ” but
is also “a foreign corporation in Georgia . . .
.” Notice of Removal at 2. As such, Defendants rely on
28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1) to maintain that Omega Fi is a
not a citizen of Florida because it is “incorporated in
Delaware and has its principal place of business in Columbus,
Muscogee County, Georgia.” Id. at 3. The
problem with these allegations, however, is that Omega
Fi's name indicates that it is a limited liability
company (LLC), not a corporation. Omega Fi cannot be both a
limited liability company and a corporation. Moreover,
because the requirements for demonstrating the citizenship of
a limited liability company and a corporation are different,
the Court cannot determine Omega Fi's citizenship from
the assertions in the Notice of Removal.
purposes of establishing diversity jurisdiction, “a
limited liability company is a citizen of any state of which
a member of the company is a citizen.” Rolling
Greens MHP, L.P. v. Comcast SCH Holdings L.L.C., 374
F.3d 1020, 1022 (11th Cir. 2004) (per curiam). A corporation,
on the other hand, “‘shall be deemed to be a
citizen of any State by which it has been incorporated and of
the State where it has its principal place of
business.'” Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559
U.S. 77, 80 (2010) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1))
(emphasis omitted). Thus, to sufficiently allege the
citizenship of an LLC, a party must list the citizenship of
each of the LLC's members, but to allege the citizenship
of a corporation, a party must identify the states of
incorporation and principal place of business. See
Rolling Greens, 374 F.3d at 1021-22; 28 U.S.C. §
as Omega Fi is denominated as an LLC, but Defendants have
alleged jurisdiction as if it is a corporation, the Court is
unable to determine Omega Fi's citizenship. As such,
clarification is necessary to establish this Court's
diversity jurisdiction. First, Defendants must clarify
whether Omega Fi is an LLC or a corporation. If, despite its
name, Omega Fi, LLC is a corporation, the Court can determine
that it is a citizen of Delaware and Georgia based on the
information contained in the Notice of Removal. However, if
Omega Fi is, as it appears to be, an LLC, Defendants must
establish the citizenship of each of its
members. Therefore, the information presently
before the Court is insufficient to invoke the Court's
subject matter jurisdiction over this action.
light of the foregoing, the Court will give Defendant an
opportunity to provide the Court with additional information
to establish the Defendants' citizenship, and this
Court's diversity jurisdiction over the instant
action. Accordingly, it is ORDERED:
shall have until September 15, 2017, to provide the Court
with sufficient information so that it can determine whether
it has diversity jurisdiction over this action.
 Defendants are advised that each
member's citizenship must be properly alleged, be it an
individual, corporation, LLC, or other entity.
 Indeed, carefully ascertaining the
citizenship of the parties and whether the Court has subject
matter jurisdiction over this action is more than just an
academic exercise, as is evident from two recent Eleventh
Circuit cases. See Thermoset Corp. v. Bldg. Materials
Corp of Am., 894 F.3d 1313, 1315-17 (11th Cir. 2017)
(vacating summary judgment order after three years of
litigation where court determined on appeal that the
pleadings below had not sufficiently alleged the citizenship
of a defendant limited liability company, and upon further
inquiry, found that the defendant limited liability company
had a non-diverse member); see also Purchasing Power, LLC
v. Bluestem Brands, Inc., 851 F.3d 1218, 1221-22, 1228
(11th Cir. 2017) (discussing whether sanctions were warranted
in a case where summary judgment was reversed on appeal after
the appellate court discovered that the pleadings did not
sufficiently allege the citizenship of the plaintiff LLC,
leading to the realization that there was no diversity
jurisdiction) (“While the requirements of diversity
jurisdiction in this scenario are complicated, they are the
law. No party in this case acted with bad intentions, but the
result was a colossal waste of time and effort. We trust that
the damage done to the parties' credibility, finances,
and time is enough of a sanction to curb their conduct and to
serve as ...