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Trampolines Unlimited, Inc. v. Epic Air

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JS-6 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


May 3, 2012

TRAMPOLINES UNLIMITED, INC.
v.
EPIC AIR, LLC, ET AL.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable John F. Walter, United States District Judge

CIVIL MINUTES -- GENERAL

Shannon Reilly Courtroom Deputy

ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR PLAINTIFFS:

None

None Present

Court Reporter

ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR DEFENDANTS:

None

PROCEEDINGS (IN CHAMBERS): ORDER REMANDING ACTION TO SANTA BARBARA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT

On March 2, 2012, Plaintiff Trampolines Unlimited, Inc. ("Plaintiff") filed a Complaint against Defendants Epic Air, LLC and Epic Air Jump Club, Inc. (collectively, "Defendants") in Santa Barbara County Superior Court. On April 18, 2012, Defendant Epic Air, LLC filed a Notice of Removal of Action ("Notice of Removal"), alleging that this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and Congress. See Bender v. Williamsport Area School

, 475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986). "Because of the Congressional purpose to restrict the jurisdiction of the federal courts on removal, the statute is strictly construed, and federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Duncan v.

, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir. 1996) (citations and quotations omitted). There is a strong presumption that the Court is without jurisdiction unless the contrary affirmatively appears. See Fifty Associates v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, 446 F.2d 1187, 1190 (9th Cir. 1990). As the party invoking federal jurisdiction, Defendant Epic Air, LLC bears the burden of demonstrating that removal is proper. See, e.g., Gaus v. Miles, 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992); Emrich v. Touche Ross & Co., 846 F.2d 1190, 1195 (9th Cir. 1988).

Diversity jurisdiction founded under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) requires that (1) all plaintiffs be of different citizenship than all defendants, and (2) the amount in controversy exceed $75,000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332. For the purposes of diversity jurisdiction, a corporation is a citizen of any state where it is incorporated and of the state where it has its principal place of business. 28 U.S.C. §

A limited liability company is a citizen of every state of which its members are citizens. e.g., Johnson v. Columbia Properties Anchorage, LP, 437 F.3d 894, 899 (9th Cir. 2006) ("[L]ike a partnership, an LLC is a citizen of every state of which its owners/members are citizens.").

Defendant Epic Air, LLC fails to allege the state of incorporation or the principal place of business of Plaintiff Trampolines Unlimited, Inc. Moreover, Defendant Epic Air, LLC alleges "[o]n information and belief, none of the defendants are citizens of the State of California, where this action has been filed." Notice of Removal ¶ 5. However, jurisdictional allegations based on information and belief are insufficient to confer jurisdiction. Kanter v. Warner-Lambert Co., 265 F.3d 853, 857 (9th Cir. 2001) ("Absent unusual circumstances, a party seeking to invoke diversity jurisdiction should be able to allege affirmatively the actual citizenship of the relevant parties."); America's Best Inns, Inc., 980 F.2d at 1074 (holding that allegations based on "to the best of my knowledge and belief" are insufficient); see, also, Bradford v. Mitchell Bros. Truck Lines, 217 F.Supp. 525, 527 (N.D. Cal. 1963).

Accordingly, this action is REMANDED to Santa Barbara County Superior Court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20120503

© 1992-2012 VersusLaw Inc.



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