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”).
initiated the instant action on April 12, 2018, by filing a
two-count Complaint for Declaratory and Other Relief (Doc. 1;
Complaint), asserting that the Court has diversity
jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1332. See Complaint at ¶ 10. Plaintiff further
asserts that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.
Id. at ¶ 11. In the Complaint, Plaintiff
asserts that it is a Connecticut corporation with its
principal place of business in Hartford, Connecticut.
Id. at ¶ 7. Plaintiff brings this action
against two defendants, one of which is a corporation and the
other of which appears to be a LLC. Id. at
¶¶ 8-9. As to the corporate defendant, Fidelity
National Financial Inc., Plaintiff alleges that it is a
Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in
Jacksonville, Florida. Id. at ¶ 8. With respect
to the other defendant, Servicelink Field Services, LLC,
Plaintiff asserts that it is “a Delaware
corporation with its principal place of business in
Westminster, Colorado.” Id. at ¶ 9
(emphasis added). However, Servicelink Field Services, LLC,
cannot be both a limited liability company and a corporation.
Additionally, because the requirements for demonstrating the
citizenship of a limited liability company and a corporation
are different, the Court cannot determine Servicelink Field
Services, LLC's citizenship from the assertions in the
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 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). 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 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.
§ 1332(c)(1). Here, Plaintiff lists Servicelink Field
Services with the denomination of “LLC, ” but
then states that it is a “Delaware corporation.”
Complaint at ¶ 19. Moreover, Plaintiff describes
Servicelink Field Service, LLC's citizenship as though it
was a corporation, rather than a LLC. As such, the Court is
unable to determine Servicelink Field Services, LLC's
corporate form. Accordingly, clarification is necessary to
establish this Court's diversity jurisdiction.
Plaintiff must specify whether Servicelink Field Services,
LLC, is a LLC or a corporation. If, despite its name,
Servicelink Field Services, LLC, is a corporation, the Court
can determine that it is a citizen of Delaware and Colorado
based on the information contained in the Complaint. However,
if Servicelink Field Services, LLC, is, as it appears to be,
a LLC, Defendants must establish the citizenship of each of
Servicelink Field Services, LLC's members. Therefore, the
information presently before the Court is insufficient to
invoke the Court's subject matter jurisdiction over this
upon further review, the Court finds that the Complaint
constitutes an impermissible “shotgun pleading.”
A shotgun complaint contains “multiple counts where
each count adopts the allegations of all preceding counts,
causing each successive count to carry all that came before
and the last count to be a combination of the entire
complaint.” See Weiland v. Palm Beach Cnty.
Sheriffs Office, 792 F.3d 1313, 1321 & n.11 (11th
Cir. 2015) (collecting cases). As a result, “most of
the counts . . . contain irrelevant factual allegations and
legal conclusions.” Strategic Income Fund, L.L.C.
v. Spear, Leeds & Kellogg Corp., 305 F.3d 1293, 1295
(11th Cir. 2002). Consequently, in ruling on the sufficiency
of a claim, the Court is faced with the onerous task of
sifting out irrelevancies in order to decide for itself which
facts are relevant to a particular cause of action asserted.
See id Here, Count II of the Complaint “repeats and
realleges the allegations of” all the proceeding
paragraphs in the Complaint, including those set forth in
Count I. See Complaint at ¶ 62.
Eleventh Circuit, shotgun pleadings of this sort are
“altogether unacceptable.” Cramer v. State of
Fla., 117 F.3d 1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 1997); see also
Cook v. Randolph County, 573 F.3d 1143, 1151 (11th
Cir. 2009) (“We have had much to say about shotgun
pleadings, none of which is favorable.”) (collecting
cases). Indeed, the Eleventh Circuit has engaged in a
“thirty-year salvo of criticism aimed at shotgun
pleadings, and there is no ceasefire in sight.” See
Weiland, 792 F.3d at 1321 & n.9 (collecting cases). As
the Court in Cramer recognized, “[s]hotgun
pleadings, whether filed by plaintiff or defendant, exact an
intolerable toll on the trial court's docket, lead to
unnecessary and unchanneled discovery, and impose unwarranted
expense on the litigants, the court and the court's
parajudicial personnel and resources.” Cramer,
117 F.3d at 1263. When faced with the burden of deciphering a
shotgun pleading, it is the trial court's obligation to
strike the pleading on its own initiative, and force the
plaintiff to replead to the extent possible under Rule 11,
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See id (admonishing
district court for not striking shotgun complaint on its own
initiative); see also Weiland, 792 F.3d at 1321 n.10
(“[W]e have also advised that when a defendant fails to
[move for a more definite statement], the district court
ought to take the initiative to dismiss or strike the shotgun
pleading and give the plaintiff an opportunity to
light of the foregoing, the Court will give Plaintiff an
opportunity to file an amended complaint which properly
establishes diversity of citizenship between the parties such
that this Court has jurisdiction over this action,
corrects the shotgun nature of the Complaint.
it is hereby
1. The Complaint for Declaratory and Other Relief (Doc. 1) is
2. Plaintiff shall file an amended complaint curing the
shotgun nature of the Complaint and curing the jurisdictional
deficiencies on or before May 8, 2018. Failure to do so may
result in a dismissal of this action.
3. Defendant shall respond to the amended complaint in
accordance with the requirements of Rule 15 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure.