United States District Court, D. Colorado
SUZAM ENTERPRISES, LLC, and SUZANNE WOODARD, individually and as personal representative of the Estate of Palmer Kauffman, Plaintiffs,
ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY d/b/a CHUBB, Defendant.
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE
A. Brimmer, Chief United States District Judge.
Court takes up this matter sua sponte on
plaintiffs' Complaint and Jury Demand [Docket No. 1].
Plaintiffs assert that this Court has jurisdiction pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Docket No. 1 at 2, ¶ 5.
every case and at every stage of the proceeding, a federal
court must satisfy itself as to its own jurisdiction, even if
doing so requires sua sponte action. See
Citizens Concerned for Separation of Church & State v.
City & County of Denver, 628 F.2d 1289, 1297 (10th
Cir. 1980). Absent an assurance that jurisdiction exists, a
court may not proceed in a case. See Cunningham v. BHP
Petroleum Great Britain PLC, 427 F.3d 1238, 1245 (10th
Cir. 2005). Courts are well-advised to raise the issue of
jurisdiction on their own, regardless of parties'
apparent acquiescence. First, it is the Court's duty to
do so. Tuck v. United Servs. Auto. Ass'n, 859
F.2d 842, 844 (10th Cir. 1988). Second, regarding subject
matter jurisdiction, “the consent of the parties is
irrelevant, principles of estoppel do not apply, and a party
does not waive the requirement by failing to challenge
jurisdiction.” Ins. Corp. of Ireland v. Compagnie
des Bauxites de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694, 702 (1982)
(internal citations omitted). Finally, delay in addressing
the issue only compounds the problem if, despite much time
and expense having been dedicated to the case, a lack of
jurisdiction causes it to be dismissed. See U.S. Fire
Ins. Co. v. Pinkard Constr. Co., No.
09-cv-00491-PAB-MJW, 2009 WL 2338116, at *3 (D. Colo. July
party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of
establishing such jurisdiction as a threshold matter.”
Radil v. Sanborn W. Camps, Inc., 384 F.3d 1220, 1224
(10th Cir. 2004). Plaintiff asserts that this Court has
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Pursuant
to that section, “district courts shall have original
jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in
controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive
of interest and costs, and is between . . . citizens of
different States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). The facts
presently alleged are insufficient to determine the
citizenship of any party.
the complaint alleges that “Plaintiff Suzam
Enterprises, LLC is a limited liability company registered in
the State of Colorado.” Docket No. 1 at 1, ¶ 1.
This allegation is inadequate to determine Suzam Enterprises,
LLC's citizenship. For diversity purposes, the
citizenship of a limited liability company is determined by
the citizenship of all of its members. See Siloam Springs
Hotel, LLC v. Century Sur. Co., 781 F.3d 1233, 1237-38
(10th Cir. 2015) (“[I]n determining the citizenship of
an unincorporated association for purposes of diversity,
federal courts must include all the entities'
members.”). Accordingly, whether Suzam Enterprises, LLC
is “registered in the State of Colorado” is
irrelevant in the determination of its citizenship. Because
the complaint does not allege the members of Suzam
Enterprises, LLC or the citizenship of those members, the
Court is currently unable to determine the citizenship of
plaintiff Suzam Enterprises, LLC.
plaintiffs have failed to establish the citizenship of
plaintiff Suzanne Woodard. The complaint states that
“Plaintiff Suzanne Woodard as personal representative
of the Estate of Palmer Kauffman resides in the State of
Colorado.” Docket No. 1 at 1, ¶ 2. However,
“an individual's state citizenship is equivalent to
domicile.” Smith v. Cummings, 445 F.3d 1254,
1259 (10th Cir. 2006). Residency is not synonymous with
domicile, see Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians v.
Holyfield, 490 U.S. 30, 48 (1989)
(“‘Domicile' is not necessarily synonymous
with ‘residence,' and one can reside in one place
but be domiciled in another.”) (citations omitted)),
and only the latter is determinative of a party's
citizenship. See Whitelock v. Leatherman, 460 F.2d
507, 514 (10th Cir. 1972) (“[A]llegations of mere
‘residence' may not be equated with
‘citizenship' for the purposes of establishing
diversity.”). Rather, “[t]o establish domicile in
a particular state, a person must be physically present in
the state and intend to remain there.”
Cummings, 445 F.3d at 1260. As such, the allegations
regarding Ms. Woodard's residence do not permit the Court
to make a finding as to her citizenship.
the facts currently alleged are insufficient to determine
defendant Ace American Insurance Company's citizenship.
The complaint alleges that defendant “is an insurance
company with its principal place of business in
Pennsylvania.” Docket No. 1 at 1, ¶ 4. Plaintiffs
do not specify what type of entity Ace American Insurance
Company is. This information is critical to the Court's
jurisdictional analysis because, while a corporation is
deemed to be a citizen of “every State and foreign
state by which it has been incorporated and of the State or
foreign state where it has its principal place of business,
” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1), the citizenship of other
business entities - for example, a limited liability company
- is determined differently. See Siloam Springs
Hotel, 781 F.3d at 1237-38. Further, even assuming that
defendant is a corporation, the present allegations are
insufficient to determine defendant's citizenship because
the complaint does not allege the state in which defendant is
incorporated. As a result, the Court is unable to determine
the allegations are presently insufficient to allow the Court
to determine the citizenship of any party or whether the
Court has jurisdiction, see United States ex rel. General
Rock & Sand Corp. v. Chuska Dev. Corp., 55 F.3d
1491, 1495 (10th Cir. 1995) (“The party seeking the
exercise of jurisdiction in his favor must allege in his
pleading the facts essential to show jurisdiction.”
(internal quotation marks omitted)), it is
that, on or before September 16, 2019,
plaintiffs shall show cause why this case should not be
dismissed due to the ...