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 defendant G2 Secure
Staff, LLC (“Defendant”) on July 19, 2017.
Defendant asserts that this Court has jurisdiction over the
action brought against it by plaintiff Jasmine Sperling
(“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 “Defendant is informed
and believes that Plaintiff is a citizen of the State of
California and is domiciled in the County of Los Angeles,
California, and was so domiciled at the time of the filing of
the Complaint. See Complaint, ¶ 1; Declaration
of Julia Gostic in Support of Removal (‘Gostic
Decl.') at ¶ 9.” (Notice of Removal ¶ 6.)
The Notice of Removal does not include the page of the
Complaint that includes paragraph 1 or any allegation
concerning Plaintiff's domicile or citizenship. The
Gostic Declaration only alleges that, “[b]ased upon my
review of corporate records, Plaintiff Jasmine Sperling's
last known home address indicates he [sic] resides in Los
Angeles, California.” (Gostic Decl. ¶ 9.) Because
the only support for Defendant's allegation of
Plaintiff's citizenship or domicile is based on
information and belief and evidence of Plaintiff's
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, Defendant's
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 Defendant. Specifically, the Notice of Removal
alleges that Defendant “has only seven members . . .
all of whom are residents of the state of Texas. Gostic Decl.
¶ 7.” Again, residence is not the same as
citizenship. See Kanter, 265 F.3d at 857. The Gostic
Declaration, upon which the Notice of Removal relies, alleges
only that the members of Defendant “reside in
Texas.” (Gostic 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,
Defendant's allegations concerning its own citizenship
are insufficient to invoke this Court's diversity
jurisdiction. See Kanter, 265 F.3d at 857.
foregoing reasons, Defendant has failed to satisfy its burden
of showing that diversity jurisdiction exists over this
action. Accordingly, this action is hereby remanded to Los
Angeles County Superior Court, Case No. BC665261, for ...