United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
MORALES HOWARD, UNITED SLATES 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 Mortgage
Co., 243 F.3d 1277, 1279-1280 (11th Cir. 2001); see
also Burns v. Windsor Ins. Co., 31 F.3d 1092, 1095 (11th
Cir. 1994). 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”).
February 16, 2018, Plaintiff Asphalt Paving Systems, Inc.
(Asphalt Paving), filed its Complaint (Doc. 1), asserting
that the Court has diversity jurisdiction over this action
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. See Complaint
¶ 5. Plaintiff further asserts that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. Id. at ¶ 4. In
the Complaint, Asphalt Paving alleges that it is a “New
Jersey corporation with a principal place of business”
in New Jersey and “thus a citizen of the State of New
Jersey.” Id. at ¶ 1. Asphalt Paving
brings this action against two defendants, Southern States
Pavement Markings, Inc. (Southern States Pavement), and
Merchants Bonding Company (Mutual) (Merchants Bonding).
Asphalt Paving asserts that defendant Southern States
Pavement is “a Florida Corporation with a principle
place of business” in Florida, and thus is “a
citizen of the State of Florida.” Id. at
¶ 2. As to defendant Merchants Bonding, Asphalt Paving
asserts that the company is a “foreign corporation with
a principal place of business” in Iowa, and “thus
a citizen of the State of Iowa.” Id. at ¶
3. Upon review of these allegations, the Court is unable to
determine whether it has diversity jurisdiction over this
action because Plaintiff has inadequately pled the
citizenship of Merchants Bonding.
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. Relevant to this action, for the purposes of
establishing diversity jurisdiction, a corporation, however,
“‘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, 81 (2010) (quoting 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(c)(1)) (emphasis omitted). Thus, to sufficiently
allege the citizenship of a corporation, a party must
identify its states of incorporation and principal place of
business. See Rolling Greens MHP, L.P. v Comcast SCH
Holdings L.L.C., 374 F.3d 1020, 1021-22 (11th Cir.
2004); 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1). Here, Asphalt Paving
identifies Merchants Bonding's principle place of
business but fails to identify the state in which the entity
is incorporated. See Complaint ¶ 3. Hence, the
information presently alleged in the Complaint is
insufficient for the Court to establish subject matter
jurisdiction over this action.
light of the foregoing, the Court will give Asphalt Paving an
opportunity to file an amended complaint which properly
establishes diversity of citizenship between the parties such
that this Court has jurisdiction over this
it is ORDERED:
1. Plaintiff Asphalt Paving's Complaint (Doc. 1) is
2. Plaintiff shall file an amended complaint curing
jurisdictional deficiencies on or before March 6, 2018.
Failure to do so may result in a dismissal of this action.
3. Defendants shall respond to any amended complaint in
accordance with the requirements of Rule 15 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure.
 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., 849 F.3d 1313, 1315-1317 (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, 1221-1222, 1228
(11th Cir.) (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 a warning to future diversity
jurisdiction litigants. In the end, when the parties do not
do their part, the burden falls on the courts to make sure
parties satisfy the requirements of diversity jurisdiction.
We must be vigilant in forcing parties to meet the
unfortunate demands of diversity jurisdiction in the 21st
The party seeking to invoke the Court's diversity
jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing by a
preponderance of the evidence that the jurisdictional
prerequisites are met. See McCormick v. Aderholt,
293 F.3d 1254, 1257 (11th Cir. 2002); see also Taylor v.
Appleton, 30 F.3d 1365, 1367 (11th Cir. 1994) (noting
that the “pleader must ...