United States District Court, D. Arizona
A. Teilborg Senior United States District Judge.
before the Court is Defendants' Joint Motion to Dismiss,
(Doc. 10), and Plaintiff's Motion to Remand. (Doc. 18.)
Both parties have responded, (Docs. 18 & 19), and
replied, (Docs. 19 & 22).
20, 2017, Designee, LLC (“Plaintiff”) filed this
contract action in Maricopa County Superior Court, alleging
conspiracy, unfair trade practices, unconscionability as to
liquidated damages, and failure of fundamental assumptions.
(Doc. 1-2.) Honda Aircraft Company, LLC (“Defendant
Honda”) and Cutter Aviation Southwest, L.L.C.
(“Defendant Cutter”) (collectively
“Defendants”) removed this action to federal
court, citing federal question jurisdiction, on August 18,
2017. (Doc. 1.) On August 23, 2017, Defendants moved to
dismiss. (Doc. 10.)
same day, this Court ordered briefing on the issue of
subject-matter jurisdiction. (Doc. 11.) On September 6, 2017,
Plaintiff submitted its Response to Motion to Dismiss. (Doc.
18.) On September 13, 2017, Defendants submitted their Joint
Reply in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. (Doc.
19.) On September 28, 2017, the Court retroactively deemed
Plaintiff's Response to Motion to Dismiss to also be a
motion to remand and deemed Defendants' Reply in Support
of the Motion to Dismiss to be a response to the motion to
remand. (Doc. 21.) Furthermore, the Court ordered Plaintiff
to file a reply in support of its motion to remand,
(id.), which Plaintiff submitted on September 20,
2017, (Doc. 22.)
defendant may, subject to certain restrictions, remove any
civil action from a state court to a federal district court
that has original subject-matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(a) (2012). If the court is without subject-matter
jurisdiction, the case must be remanded to state court.
§ 1447(c); cf. § 1447(d) (“An order
remanding a case to the State court from which it was removed
is not reviewable on appeal or otherwise”). Given the
plaintiff's initial choice of forum and limited federal
court jurisdiction, the removing party must overcome the
presumption that the federal court is without jurisdiction.
See Hunter v. Philip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1042
(9th Cir. 2009). All ambiguity is interpreted “in favor
of remand” to state court. Moore-Thomas v. Alaska
Airlines, Inc., 553 F.3d 1241, 1244 (9th Cir. 2009);
accord Hunter, 582 F.3d at 1042 (quoting Gaus v.
Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (per
curiam)). Where a court is satisfied as to its own
jurisdiction, however, it has a “‘virtually
unflagging obligation' to exercise the jurisdiction
conferred upon [it] by the coordinate branches of government
and duly invoked by litigants.” Williams v. Costco
Wholesale Corp., 471 F.3d 975, 977 (9th Cir. 2006) (per
curiam) (alteration in original) (quoting United States
v. Rubenstein, 971 F.2d 288, 293 (9th Cir. 1992)
(internal citation omitted)).
III of the United States Constitution sets the outer bounds
of federal court subject-matter jurisdiction, U.S. Const.
art. III, §§ 1-2, within which Congress provides
specific grants of jurisdiction, Hertz Corp. v.
Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 84 (2010). Diversity jurisdiction,
28 U.S.C. § 1332 (2012), and federal question
jurisdiction, § 1331, bear on this case.
Court has subject-matter jurisdiction where the parties are
of diverse citizenship and where the alleged
amount-in-controversy is over $75, 000. § 1332;
cf. U.S. Const. art. III, § 2. Section 1332
requires complete diversity, meaning that all plaintiffs must
be of diverse citizenship from all defendants. § 1332.
An individual is a citizen where domiciled. Lew v.
Moss, 797 F.2d 747, 749 (9th Cir. 1986). A corporation
is a citizen where it is incorporated and where it has its
principal place of business. § 1332(c)(1). A
corporation's principal place of business is its
“nerve center, ” where it directs corporate
activities. Hertz, 559 U.S. at 93-95. A limited
liability company (“LLC”) is a citizen where its
members and owners are citizens. Johnson v. Columbia
Props. Anchorage, LP, 437 F.3d 894, 899 (9th Cir. 2006).
parties are not completely diverse. All parties are LLCs.
Plaintiff's sole member is an individual domiciled in
California. (Doc. 28.) Defendant Honda's sole member is a
corporation incorporated, with its principal place of
business, in California. (Id.) Defendant
Cutter's sole member is a corporation incorporated, with
its principal place of business, in Arizona. (Id.)
Therefore, there is no diversity jurisdiction.
this action would not be removable on diversity grounds, even
if there were diversity, because the action was brought in
Arizona, where Defendant Cutter is a citizen. See
§ 1441(b)(2) (barring removal on the basis of diversity
jurisdiction where any defendant is a citizen of the state
where the action was initiated).