United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
CHRISTOPHER P. TUTTE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
cause is before the Court sua sponte following a
review of Plaintiff Plum Creek Technology, LLC's (Plum
Creek) motion for default judgment against Defendant Next
Cloud, LLC (Next Cloud) (Doc. 18) and its motion for leave to
conduct discovery in aid of a default judgment against
Defendant SkyiGolf, LLC (SkyiGolf) (Doc. 19). For the reasons
set forth below, the Court defers ruling on these motions
pending a resolution of certain threshold jurisdictional
Creek initiated this action in August 2019 against Next Cloud
and SkyiGolf, invoking the Court's diversity
jurisdiction. (Doc. 1). In its complaint, Plum Creek alleges
that it is a Colorado limited liability company with its
principal place of business in Castle Rock, Colorado.
Id. at 2. It additionally asserts that both Next
Cloud and SkyiGolf are limited liability companies with their
principal places of business in Florida and that all of their
members are citizens of Florida. Id.
gist of Plum Creek's complaint is that Next Cloud failed
to make payments to Plum Creek pursuant to a written
consulting agreement, and that Next Cloud thereafter
transferred its assets to SkyiGolf when Next Cloud's
relationship with Plum Creek soured. Id. at 2-7.
Based on these averments, Plum Creek asserts claims for
breach of contract, quantum meruit, and account stated
against Next Cloud, id. at 7-9, as well as
violations of the Florida Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act
(FUFTA) against both Next Cloud and SkyiGolf, id. at
9-12. For relief, Plum Creek seeks monetary damages with
respect to its first three claims against Next Cloud and
injunctive relief with respect to its FUFTA claims against
Next Cloud nor SkyiGolf responded to Plum Creek's
complaint. As a result, the Clerk of Court entered defaults
against both Defendants in September 2019. (Docs. 14, 15).
of its pending motions, Plum Creek seeks the entry of a
default judgment against Next Cloud (Doc. 18), and leave to
conduct discovery in aid of pursuing a default judgment
against SkyiGolf (Doc. 19). Plum Creek also indicates that,
instead of injunctive relief, it intends to seek monetary
damages from SkyiGolf on its FUFTA claim. Id.
well established that federal courts have limited
subject-matter jurisdiction. McCormick v. Aderholt,
293 F.3d 1254, 1257 (11th Cir. 2002). As such, they
“are obligated to inquire into subject-matter
jurisdiction sua sponte whenever it may be lacking.”
Cadet v. Bulger, 377 F.3d 1173, 1179 (11th Cir.
2004) (citation and quotation omitted); see also Univ. of
S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir.
1999) (noting that courts should evaluate whether they have
subject-matter jurisdiction “at the earliest possible
stage in the proceedings”). Indeed, the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure provide that a court must dismiss an
action “[i]f the court determines at any time
that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) (emphasis added).
subject-matter jurisdiction may be predicated on either
diversity of the parties or the presence of a federal
question. Walker v. Sun Trust Bank of Thomasville,
Ga., 363 Fed.Appx. 11, 15 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing 28
U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332). Irrespective of the basis
alleged, a complaint must contain a short and plain statement
setting forth sufficient facts that, if true, demonstrate the
Court has subject-matter jurisdiction over the case.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1); Travaglio v. American Exp.
Co., 735 F.3d 1266, 1268 (11th Cir. 2013) (citation
as here, a party invokes federal jurisdiction based upon
diversity, “[t]hose allegations . . . must include the
citizenship of each party, so that the court is satisfied
that no plaintiff is a citizen of the same state as any
defendant.” Travaglio, 735 F.3d at
1268. In this context, limited liability companies,
such as the parties in this case, are “citizen[s] 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).
facts alleged in Plum Creek's complaint, the Court is
unable to determine the citizenship and diversity of the
parties. While Plum Creek states that its principal place of
business is in Colorado, it fails to plead the citizenship of
each of its members.
it is unclear whether the Court has subject-matter
jurisdiction over this case, it must defer ruling on Plum
Creek's pending motion for default judgment against Next
Cloud. See Sec. and Exch. Comm'n v. Martin, 2019
WL 1649948, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 1, 2019) (before granting
default judgment, a court must “ensure that it has
jurisdiction over the claims and parties”), report
and recommendation adopted, 2019 WL 1643203 (M.D. Fla.
Apr. 16, 2019); see also Sys. Pipe & Supply, Inc. v.
M/V Viktor Kurnatovskiy, 242 F.3d 322, 324 (5th Cir.
2001) (“[W]hen entry of judgment is sought against a
party who has failed to plead or otherwise defend, the
district court has an affirmative duty to look into its
jurisdiction both over the subject matter and the
parties.”) (quotation omitted).
addition, to the extent Plum Creek intends to seek a default
judgment against SkyiGolf, the Court notes that Rule 54(b)
provides that, in any action involving multiple parties,
“the court may direct entry of a final judgment as to
one or more, but fewer than all, claims or parties only
if the court expressly determines that there is no just
reason for delay.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b) (emphasis
added). Thus, Plum Creek may wish to evaluate the propriety
of pursuing separate default judgments against the two
Defendants and as to fewer than all of its claims.
Alternatively, Plum Creek should consider amending its
current motion for default ...