United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable PERCY ANDERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
IN CHAMBERS - COURT ORDER
the Court is a Notice of Removal filed by defendants GEO
Corrections & Detention, LLC and The GEO Group, Inc.
(collectively “Defendants”) on May 10, 2017.
Defendants asserts that this Court has jurisdiction over the
action brought against it by plaintiff Zsordihn Carrigan
(“Plaintiff”) based on the Court's diversity
jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject
matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the
Constitution and Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen
v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct.
1673, 1675, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). A suit filed in state
court may be removed to federal court if the federal court
would have had original jurisdiction over the suit. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(a). A removed action must be remanded to state
court if the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). “The burden of establishing
federal jurisdiction is on the party seeking removal, and the
removal statute is strictly construed against removal
jurisdiction.” Prize Frize, Inc. v. Matrix (U.S.)
Inc., 167 F.3d 1261, 1265 (9th Cir. 1999).
“Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any
doubt as to the right of removal in the first
instance.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564,
566 (9th Cir. 1992).
attempting to invoke this Court's diversity jurisdiction,
Defendant must prove that there is complete diversity of
citizenship between the parties and that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. To
establish citizenship for diversity purposes, a natural
person must be a citizen of the United States and be
domiciled in a particular state. Kantor v. Wellesley
Galleries, Ltd., 704 F.2d 1088, 1090 (9th Cir. 1983).
Persons are domiciled in the places they reside with the
intent to remain or to which they intend to return. See
Kanter v. Warner-Lambert Co., 265 F.3d 853, 857 (9th
Cir. 2001). 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. § 1332(c); see also
Indus. Tectonics, Inc. v. Aero Alloy, 912 F.2d 1090,
1092 (9th Cir. 1990). The citizenship of an LLC is the
citizenship of its members. See Johnson v. Columbia
Props. 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.”);
Marseilles Hydro Power, LLC v. Marseilles Land &
Water Co., 299 F.3d 643, 652 (7th Cir. 2002) (“the
relevant citizenship [of an LLC] for diversity purposes is
that of the members, not of the company”);
Handelsman v. Bedford Village Assocs., Ltd.
P'ship, 213 F.3d 48, 51-52 (2d Cir. 2000) (“a
limited liability company has the citizenship of its
membership”); Cosgrove v. Bartolotta, 150 F.3d
729, 731 (7th Cir. 1998); TPS Utilicom Servs., Inc. v. AT
& T Corp., 223 F.Supp.2d 1089, 1101 (C.D. Cal. 2002)
(“A limited liability company . . . is treated like a
partnership for the purpose of establishing citizenship under
Notice of Removal alleges that “Plaintiff alleges that
at all times mentioned in the Complaint, she was and is a
resident of the State of California, and therefore is a
citizen of the State of California. (Jimenez Decl., ¶ 2,
Ex. A, Complaint, ¶ 2.)” (Notice of Removal ¶
13.) The Complaint alleges that Plaintiff “is a
resident of the County of San Bernardino.” (Compl.
¶ 2.) As the Notice of Removal indicates, the Complaint
alleges only Plaintiff's residence. Because the only
support for Defendants' allegation of Plaintiff's
citizenship is an allegation of residence, and residence is
not the same as citizenship, the Notice of Removal's
allegations are insufficient to establish Plaintiff's
citizenship. “Absent unusual circumstances, a party
seeking to invoke diversity jurisdiction should be able to
allege affirmatively the actual citizenship of the relevant
parties.” Kanter, 265 F.3d at 857;
Bradford v. Mitchell Bros. Truck Lines, 217 F.Supp.
525, 527 (N.D. Cal. 1963) (“A petition [for removal]
alleging diversity of citizenship upon information and belief
is insufficient.”). As a result, Defendants'
allegations related to Plaintiff's citizenship are
insufficient to invoke this Court's diversity
Notice of Removal also does not properly allege the
citizenship of GEO Corrections & Detention, LLC.
Specifically, the Notice of Removal alleges that GEO
Corrections & Detention, LLC “has three members:
CEO George Zoley, CFO Brian Evans, and General Counsel John
Bulfin. (Ryan Decl., ¶ 7.) None of these individuals
reside in California. Rather, all three of these individuals
reside in Florida, and are therefore citizens of Florida.
(Id.)” (Notice of Removal ¶ 22.) As the
Court has previously stated, residence is not the same as
citizenship. See Kanter, 265 F.3d at 857. The Ryan
Declaration, upon which the Notice of Removal relies, alleges
only that the members of GEO Corrections & Detention,
LLLC “reside in Florida.” (Ryan Decl. ¶ 7.)
A defendant is presumed to know the facts surrounding its own
citizenship. See, e.g., Dugdale v. Nationwide
Mut. Fire Ins. Co., No. Civ. A. 4:05 CV 138, 2006 WL
335628, at *5 (E.D. Va. Feb. 14, 2006) (“[A]lthough . .
. a defendant need not investigate a plaintiff's
citizenship, certainly a defendant is responsible for knowing
its own citizenship, and could not ignore such only to later
claim that subsequent documents revealed to the defendant its
own citizenship.”); Day v. Zimmer, Inc., 636
F.Supp. 451, 453 (N.D.N.Y. 1986) (finding that, even if
plaintiff misidentifies a defendant's address,
“obviously defendant is in the best position to know
its residence for diversity purposes”). As a result,
Defendants' allegations concerning their own citizenship
are insufficient to invoke this Court's diversity
jurisdiction. See Kanter, 265 F.3d at 857.
foregoing reasons, Defendants have failed to satisfy its
burden of showing that diversity jurisdiction exists over
this action. Accordingly, this action is hereby remanded to
San Bernardino County Superior Court, Case No. CIVDS1704583