Scuotto v. Lakeland Tours, LLC, 111913 FLMDC, 3:13-cv-1393-J-34JRK

Docket Nº3:13-cv-1393-J-34JRK.
Opinion JudgeMARCIA MORALES HOWARD, District Judge.
Party NameVINCENT SCUOTTO and CAROL SCUOTTO, Plaintiffs, v. LAKELAND TOURS, LLC, d/b/a WORLDSTRIDES HERITAGE PERFORMANCE, a Delaware limited liability company, SMG, a Pennsylvania general partnership, and SMG FOOD AND BEVERAGE, LLC, d/b/a SAVOR...JACKSONVILLE, a Delaware limited liability company, Defendants.
Case DateNovember 19, 2013
CourtUnited States District Courts, 11th Circuit, Middle District of Florida

VINCENT SCUOTTO and CAROL SCUOTTO, Plaintiffs,

v.

LAKELAND TOURS, LLC, d/b/a WORLDSTRIDES HERITAGE PERFORMANCE, a Delaware limited liability company, SMG, a Pennsylvania general partnership, and SMG FOOD AND BEVERAGE, LLC, d/b/a SAVOR...JACKSONVILLE, a Delaware limited liability company, Defendants.

No. 3:13-cv-1393-J-34JRK.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division.

November 19, 2013.

ORDER

MARCIA MORALES HOWARD, District Judge.

THIS CAUSE is before the Court sua sponte. Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and therefore have an obligation to inquire into their subject matter jurisdiction. See Kirkland v. Midland Mortgage Co. , 243 F.3d 1277, 1279-80 (11th Cir. 2001). This obligation exists regardless of whether the parties have challenged the existence of subject matter jurisdiction. See University of South Ala. v. American Tobacco Co. , 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir. 1999) ("it is well settled that a federal court is obligated to inquire into subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte whenever it may be lacking"). "In a given case, a federal district court must have at least one of three types of subject matter jurisdiction: (1) jurisdiction under a specific statutory grant; (2) federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331; or (3) diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)." Baltin v. Alaron Trading Corp. , 128 F.3d 1466, 1469 (11th Cir. 1997).

On November 5, 2013, with the consent of the other Defendants, Defendant, Lakeland Tours, LLC (Lakeland), filed its Notice of Removal (Doc. No. 1; Notice), removing this action from the Circuit Court of the Fourth Judicial Circuit in and for Duval County, Florida to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Because Lakeland mistakenly removed the instant matter to the Northern District, it filed an unopposed motion to transfer, which the Northern District granted, transferring the case to the Middle District of Florida. See Defendant Lakeland Tours, LLC., d/b/a Worldstrides Heritage Performance's Unopposed Motion to Transfer Venue (Doc. No. 6); Order Transferring Case to the Middle District of Florida (Doc. No. 5).

In the Notice, Lakeland asserts that this Court has jurisdiction "pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because the parties are of diverse citizenship and the claim at issue exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs." See Notice at 2. In support of the assertion regarding diversity of citizenship, Lakeland declares that, "upon information and belief, Plaintiff is a Florida resident, "1 Lakeland is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Utah, Defendant SMG is "a Pennsylvania [c]orporation with its principal place of business in Pennsylvania, " SMG Food and Beverage is "a Delaware [c]orporation and subsidiary of SMG with its principal place of business in California." Notice at 1-2 (emphasis added). Lakeland's declarations of citizenship, however, are deficient in establishing that diversity jurisdiction exists between the parties.

For a court to have diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), "all plaintiffs must be diverse from all defendants." University of South Ala. , 168 F.3d at 412. An unincorporated business association or entity, such as a general or limited partnership or a limited liability company, is not a "citizen" under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) in its own right. See Xaros v. U.S. Fidelity & Guaranty Co. , 820 F.2d 1176, 1181 (11th Cir. 1987) (recognizing that "[t]he Supreme Court has declined to depart from the common law rule that unincorporated associations are not juridical personalities to which diversity jurisdiction should be extended"); see also Swiger v. Allegheny Energy, Inc. , 540 F.3d 179, 182, 184 (3d Cir. 2008); Rolling Greens MHP, L.P. v. Comcast SCH Holdings L.L.C. , 374 F.3d 1020...

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