United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Motion to Remand
(ECF No. 10). This matter is fully briefed and ready for
statutes are strictly construed, and any doubts about the
correctness of removal are resolved in favor of state court
jurisdiction and remand. See Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp.
v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108-09 (1941); In re Bus.
Men's Assurance Co. of Am., 992 F.2d 181, 183 (8th
Cir. 1993); Manning v. Wal-Mart Stores East, Inc.,
304 F.Supp.2d 1146, 1148 (E.D. Mo. 2004) (citing Transit
Cas. Co. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of
London, 119 F.3d 619, 625 (8th Cir. 1997)). The party
seeking removal and opposing remand has the burden of
establishing jurisdiction. Cent. Iowa Power Coop. v.
Midwest Indep. Transmission Sys. Operator, 561 F.3d 904,
912 (8th Cir. 2009); City of Univ. City, Missouri v. AT
& T Wireless Services, Inc., 229 F.Supp.2d 927, 929
(E.D. Mo. 2002).
action brought in state court may be removed to the proper
district court if the district court has original
jurisdiction of the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Federal
district courts have original jurisdiction in all civil
actions between citizens of different states if the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000.00, exclusive of interest and
costs. Manning, 304 F.Supp.2d at 1148 (citing 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1)).
action was originally filed in the Circuit Court of St. Louis
County on or around August 14, 2017, as Cause No.
17SL-CC02940. In his Petition, Plaintiff alleges unlawful
retaliation under the Missouri Human Rights Act
("MHRA") and wrongful discharge in violation of
public policy. On August 17, 2017, 801 Chophouse STL, LLC was
served with a copy of the Summons and Petition. On August 29,
2017 Plaintiff filed his First Amended Petition, wherein he
added additional defendants: James Lynch, Kevin Lynch, and
Ian Rockwell. On September 18, 2017, Defendants filed a
Notice of Removal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1441, 28 U.S.C.
§1446, and 28 U.S.C. §1332. Defendants sought
removal to this Court on the ground that Defendant 801
Chophouse STL, LLC is a citizen of the State of Colorado and
that the other defendants in this case are not residents of
the State of Missouri. In their notice of removal, Defendants
assert that 801 Chophouse STL, LLC is a citizen of the State
of Colorado, and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.
Defendants further assert that complete diversity exists and
removal from state court to this Court is proper pursuant to
28 U.S.C. §§1441, 1446, and 1332.
a party to remove a case to federal court based on diversity
jurisdiction, the parties must be diverse both when the
plaintiff initiates the action in state court and when the
defendant files the notice of removal in federal court."
Chavez-Lavagnino v. Motivation Educ. Training, Inc.,
714 F.3d 1055, 1056 (8th Cir. 2013); Reece v. Bank of New
York Mellon, 760 F.3d 771, 777 (8th Cir. 2014). The
Eighth Circuit has held that, under federal law, an LLC's
citizenship is that of its members for diversity jurisdiction
purposes. GMAC Commercial Credit LLC v. Dillard Dep't
Stores, Inc., 357 F.3d 827, 829 (8th Cir. 2004);
Osborn & Barr Commc'ns, Inc. v. EMC Corp.,
No. 4;08-CV-87 CAS, 2008 WL 341664, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 5,
2008) ("For limited liability companies, the Court must
examine the citizenship of each member of the limited
liability company for purposes of diversity
their Notice of Removal, Defendants allege that 801 Chophouse
STL, LLC's citizenship is based on the citizenship of its
member 801 Restaurant Group LLC. 801 Restaurant Group
LLC's citizenship is based on the citizenship of its
members: James P. Lynch, Jr. and James P. Lynch III, who are
Colorado residents. See Notice of Removal, ECF No.
1. Christopher Harris, the Chief Financial Officer of 801
Chophouse, STL, LLC, attests that James P. Lynch Jr. and
James P. Lynch III both "reside" in Colorado.
Notably, Harris never opines as to the residency or
citizenship of Rockwell or the citizenship of James P. Lynch,
Jr. and James P. Lynch III. (ECF No. 1-3, passim).
Motion for Remand, Plaintiff Jake Yestingsmeier
("Yestingsmeier") maintains that there is not
complete diversity. Yestingsmeier notes that Defendants'
Notice of Removal does not address the citizenship of Ian
Rockwell, who Yestingsmeier asserts is a citizen of the State
of Missouri. (ECF No. 10, ¶12). In addition,
Yestingsmeier asserts that the Declaration of Chris Harris,
which accompanies Defendants' Notice of Removal, only
states that James P. Lynch, Jr. and James P. Lynch III are
residents of Colorado. Harris's affidavit does not state
their citizenship. (ECF No. 10, ¶11). Thus,
Yestingsmeier maintains that complete diversity does not
exist because Defendants have failed to establish the
citizenship of James P. Lynch, Jr., James P. Lynch III, and
Ian Rockwell. See Reece, 760 F.3d at 777 (the Eighth
Circuit has held that "it is simply incorrect to say ...
residency establishes ... citizenship for the purpose of
the Amended Petition, filed in state court, alleged that
Defendant 801 Chophouse, LLC is a Missouri corporation doing
business in St. Louis County. (ECF No. 4, ¶2). It
alleges that Defendants James Lynch and Kevin Lynch list
their address as Leawood, Kansas in the 801 Chophouse's
fictitious registration with the Missouri Secretary of State.
(ECF No. 4, ¶3). The Amended Petition states that Ian
Rockwell was employed "by one or more of the 801
Chophouse restaurants as Director of Beverage & Services
and had authority over 801 Chophouse STL, LLC and over
Plaintiffs employment." (ECF No. 4,
¶6). The Amended Petition, filed in State
Court, does not allege the citizenship of members of
Defendant 801 Chophouse STL, LLC. Because of the omission of
the citizenship of the members of 801 Chophouse STL, LLC, the
complaint does not adequately establish the existence of
diversity jurisdiction. Osborn & Barr Commc'ns,
Inc. v. EMC Corp., No. 4:08-CV-87 CAS, 2008 WL 341664,
at *1 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 5, 2008). The record is unclear
regarding the citizenship of the members of 801 Restaurant
Group, LLC, which is owned by 801 Chophouse STL, LLC, or of
Ian Rockwell, who is also named in the Amended Complaint. In
fact, neither party has provided an affidavit or other sworn
evidence regarding the citizenship of Rockwell. Therefore,
the Court resolves any doubts about federal jurisdiction in
favor of remand. See Knudson v. Sys. Painters, Inc.,
634 F.3d 968, 975 (8th Cir. 2011) (quoting Junk v.
Terminix Int'l Co., 628 F.3d 439, 446 (8th Cir.
2010)("'AU doubts about federal jurisdiction should
be resolved in favor of remand to state court.'").
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion
to Remand (ECF No. 10) is GRANTED. This
matter shall be remanded to the Twenty-First Circuit of
Missouri in County of St. Louis, Missouri for ...