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Berkeley Research Group, LLC v. United Potato Growers Of America, Inc.
United States District Court, N.D. California
March 13, 2017
BERKELEY RESEARCH GROUP, LLC, a California limited liability company, Plaintiff,
UNITED POTATO GROWERS OF AMERICA, INC., an Idaho corporation; UNITED POTATO GROWERS OF IDAHO, INC., an Idaho corporation; IDAGRO, INC., an Idaho corporation; ALBERT WADA, an Idaho resident; WADA FARMS, INC., an Idaho corporation; WADA FARMS POTATOES, INC., an Idaho corporation; WADA FARMS MARKETING GROUP, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company; WADA-VAN ORDEN POTATOES, INC., an Idaho corporation; CEDAR FARMS, INC., an Idaho corporation; WADA FAMILY, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company; PROFRESH, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company; JEFF RAYBOULD, an Idaho resident; RAYBOULD BROTHERS FARMS, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company' MICHAEL CRANNEY, an Idaho resident; CORNELISON FARMS, INC., a former Idaho corporation; KEITH CORNELISON, an Idaho resident; SNAKE RIVER PLAINS POTATOES, INC., an Idaho corporation; LANCE FUNK, an Idaho resident; PLEASANT VALLEY POTATO, INC., an Idaho corporation; KCW FARMS, INC., an Idaho corporation; KIM WAHLEN, an Idaho resident; and DOES 1-100, Defendants.
ORDER HOLDING MOTION TO REMAND IN ABEYANCE PENDING
WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
moves to remand this contract dispute to state court for lack
of subject-matter jurisdiction. For the reasons stated
herein, the motion will be Held in Abeyance
pending limited jurisdictional discovery.
action arises out of an expert litigation consulting contract
between plaintiff Berkeley Research Group and defendants - a
group of potato farmers, farms, and growing associations.
Defendants hired BRG to provide expert services in connection
with a multi-district litigation in the United States
District Court for the District of Idaho.[*]
November 1, 2016, defendants filed a breach of contract
action in Idaho state court claiming BRG billed defendants
inappropriately and provided substandard quality work. On
November 18, BRG filed this breach of contract action in
California state court, claiming defendants breached by not
paying over eight-hundred thousand dollars in outstanding
invoices. BRG served defendants in this action over a month
before defendants served BRG in the Idaho action.
Prior to serving BRG in the Idaho action, defendants removed
this action to federal court.
January 2017, BRG moved to dismiss the Idaho action pursuant
to Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(8) on the ground that
another action was pending between the same parties for the
same cause. In early February 2017, BRG filed this motion to
remand for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
than two weeks later, defendants filed their opposition to
this motion and separately filed a motion to dismiss for lack
of personal jurisdiction or to transfer venue. Defendants
also filed a motion to shorten time to hear their motion to
dismiss. BRG opposed defendants' motion to shorten time
and separately filed a motion to extend time to file their
opposition to defendants' motion. Both timing motions
were denied (Dkt. No. 18).
were also allowed (and took) an opportunity to file a
surreply to this motion after BRG filed new evidence in their
asserts diversity is incomplete between them and defendants
because United Potato Growers of America, Inc., one of the
removing defendants, is a citizen of Utah, and at least four
BRG limited liability company members have “a
permanent, primary residence in Utah” (Pl.'s Reply
Br. at 2). UPGA's Utah citizenship is not contested.
order follows full briefing and oral argument.
issue presented is whether at least one of BRG's members
is a citizen of Utah, and whether defendants should
be permitted to engage in limited jurisdictional discovery.
determining diversity jurisdiction, a limited liability
partnership is a citizen of every state in which its members
are citizens. Our court of appeals has extended this rule to
limited liability companies. Johnson v. Columbia Props.
Anchorage, LP, 437 F.3d 894, 899 (9th Cir. 2006).
Citizenship, for diversity jurisdiction, is synonymous with
an individual's domicile. An individual's domicile is
where she is both physically present and evinces an intention
to remain there indefinitely. Lew v. Moss, 797 F.2d
747, 749-50 (9th Cir. 1986). In Lew, our court of
appeals indicated a number of objective factors that evince
an individual's domicile (none is dispositive alone):
Current residence, voting registration and voting practices,
location of personal and real property, location of brokerage