United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO
D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE
pending are four motions to dismiss filed by Defendants.
Docs. #9-12. For the following reasons, Defendants'
motions are granted.
Bowers was injured in April 2015 while he was a passenger on
an all-terrain vehicle (“ATV”) driven by his
wife, Samantha Bowers. Doc. #1, ¶¶ 8, 11. Neither
Jason Bowers nor Samantha Bowers owned the ATV. Id.,
¶ 12. In October 2017, counsel for Mr. Bowers sent a
letter to Progressive Insurance Company stating Mr.
Bowers sustained bodily injuries during the accident. Doc.
#1-1. Counsel indicated Mr. Bowers had uninsured motorist
coverage of $25, 000 through Progressive, and “will
settle his uninsured motorist claims against Progressive for
the total available uninsured motorist coverage.”
Id. Mrs. Bowers has not made a claim. Doc. #1,
Casualty Insurance Company (“Progressive Casualty)
issued a Commercial Auto Policy (“commercial
policy”) to Mr. Bowers and Perfect Landscaping &
Construction, LLC, with a policy period of August 20, 2014,
to August 20, 2015. Doc. #1-2. According to Progressive
Casualty, Mr. Bowers has made a claim for uninsured motorist
coverage under the commercial policy, but has not made a
claim for bodily injury under the commercial policy. Doc. #1,
¶¶ 9, 21, 30.
Advanced Insurance Company (“Progressive
Advanced”) issued a Direct Auto Policy (“personal
policy”) to Mr. Bowers with a policy period of January
26, 2015, to July 26, 2015. Doc. #1-3. According to
Progressive Advanced, Mr. Bowers has made a claim for
uninsured motorist coverage under the personal policy, but
has not made a claim for bodily injury under the personal
policy. Doc. #1, ¶¶ 35, 40.
March 28, 2018, Progressive Casualty and Progressive Advanced
filed this declaratory judgment action against Mr. Bowers,
Mrs. Bowers, and Perfect Landscaping. Plaintiffs seek an
order declaring the two insurance policies do not provide
coverage for any claims made by Jason Bowers. Plaintiffs
maintain this Court has diversity jurisdiction because the
parties are citizens of different states, and the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000.
April 19, 2018, Defendants filed four motions to dismiss. Mr.
and Mrs. Bowers filed a motion to dismiss Progressive
Casualty's claims (Doc. #9), and a motion to dismiss
Progressive Advanced's claims (Doc. #10). Perfect
Landscaping filed two motions to dismiss, incorporating by
reference the arguments set forth by Mr. and Mrs. Bowers in
their motions. Doc. #11-12. Defendants argue the Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction, and this matter must be
party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of
demonstrating jurisdiction exists. See Iowa League of
Cities v. E.P.A., 711 F.3d 844, 870 (8th Cir. 2013). To
invoke diversity jurisdiction, the parties must be citizens
of different states and the amount in controversy must exceed
$75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Plaintiffs allege this
matter involves citizens of different states, and the amount
in controversy exceeds $75, 000. Defendants argue complete
diversity of citizenship does not exist, and the amount in
controversy does not exceed $75, 000.
Diversity of Citizenship
diversity of citizenship exists where no defendant holds
citizenship in the same state where any plaintiff holds
citizenship.” OnePoint Sols., LLC v. Borchert,
486 F.3d 342, 346 (8th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted).
Plaintiffs allege (and Defendants do not dispute) Mr. and
Mrs. Bowers are citizens of Missouri. Doc. #1, ¶¶
4-5; Doc. #9, at 4: Doc. #10, at 4. Plaintiffs contend
Perfect Landscaping is a “Missouri Limited Liability
Corporation and is a resident of the State of
Missouri.” Id., ¶ 3. For a limited
liability company, this is not the proper test for
citizenship. See OnePoint Sols., 486 F.3d at 346
(stating “[a]n LLC's citizenship, for purposes of
diversity jurisdiction, is the citizenship of each of its
members.”). Plaintiffs did not identify the member(s)
of Perfect Landscaping, and consequently, also failed to
identify the citizenship of the member(s). However, in their
motions to dismiss, Defendants state they are all Missouri
citizens. Doc. #9, at 4; Doc. #10, at 4.
allege they are citizens of Ohio because their corporations
are organized under the laws of Ohio, and their principal
place(s) of business are located in Ohio. Doc. #1,
¶¶ 1-2. Defendants does not dispute these
allegations. But Defendants argue Plaintiffs, as out-of-state
insurance companies doing business in Missouri, are also
considered citizens of Missouri because the insureds are
Missouri citizens. Plaintiff cites 28 U.S.C. § 1332,
which, in relevant part, is as follows:
[A] corporation shall be 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
business, except that in any direct action against
the insurer of a policy or contract of liability insurance,
whether incorporated or unincorporated, to which action the
insured is not joined as a party-defendant, such insurer
shall be deemed to be a citizen of (A) every State and
foreign state of which the insured is a citizen; (B) every
State and foreign state by ...