United States District Court, D. Hawaii
WILLIAM R. HANCOCK, individually and as Trustee of HANCOCK AND COMPANY, INC. PROFIT SHARING TRUST, under trust instrument April 3, 1983, Plaintiff,
KULANA PARTNERS, LLC, a Hawaii limited liability company; FIDELITY NATIONAL TITLE & ESCROW OF HAWAII, INC., a Hawaii corporation, Defendants.
ORDER REGARDING SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge
memorandum dated November 7, 2016, the United States Court of
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit directed this Court to assess
whether diversity exists between the parties, whether this
case is “related to” a bankruptcy proceeding
under 28 U.S.C. § 1334(b), or whether there is any other
basis for federal court jurisdiction. See Dkt. No.
56. Based on the uncontested submissions of the parties, the
Court concludes that diversity jurisdiction exists in this
case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).
federal court has diversity jurisdiction over actions between
citizens of different states where the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. “Diversity
jurisdiction requires complete diversity between the
parties-each defendant must be a citizen of a different state
from each plaintiff.” In re Digimarc Corp.
Derivative Litig., 549 F.3d 1223, 1234 (9th Cir. 2008).
A limited liability company “is a citizen of every
state of which its owners/members are citizens, ” not
the state in which it was formed or does business.
NewGen, LLC v. Safe Cig, LLC, 840 F.3d 606, 612 (9th
Cir. 2016) (quoting Johnson v. Columbia Props. Anchorage,
LP, 437 F.3d 894, 899 (9th Cir. 2006)).
jurisdictional allegation of his Complaint, Plaintiff William
R. Hancock alleges that Kulana Partners, LLC
(“KPL”) is “a Hawaii Limited Liability
company and a citizen of the State of Hawaii.”
Complaint ¶ 2. The Complaint, however, does not allege
the citizenship of each of the members of KPL. See Kanter
v. Warner-Lambert Co., 265 F.3d 853, 857 (9th Cir. 2001)
(“[I]n a diversity action, the plaintiff must state all
parties' citizenships such that the existence of complete
diversity can be confirmed.”). The citizenship of each
of the members of a limited liability company must be pled.
Johnson, 437 F.3d at 899. When judgment entered in
this matter on January 10, 2014, neither the parties nor the
Court had identified the defect in Hancock's
Diversity Existed At The Time Of The Filing Of The
the Ninth Circuit's limited remand, the Court solicited
additional information from the parties regarding the
citizenship of KPL, among other things. The parties agree
that complete diversity exists. Moreover, Defendants do not
dispute Hancock's allegation that the jurisdictional
amount for purposes of diversity has been satisfied.
See Complaint ¶¶ 5-6.
Citizenship of Hancock
individually and as Trustee of Hancock and Company, Inc.
Profit Sharing Trust, under trust Instrument April 3, 1993,
alleges that he was a citizen of Nevada at the time of filing
the Complaint. See Complaint ¶ 1. He further
avers that he intends to reside and remain domiciled in the
State of Nevada. See Hancock Decl. ¶ 8.
Citizenship of Fidelity
Fidelity National Title & Escrow of Hawaii, Inc.
(“Fidelity”) admits in its Answer that it is a
citizen of Hawaii. Dkt. No. 14 (6/19/13 Answer ¶ 1).
Further, Fidelity does not dispute Hancock's showing that
it has not registered to do business in Nevada for purposes
of its corporate citizenship. See, e.g., Hogan Decl.
Citizenship of KPL
the members of KPL were citizens of Nevada at the time the
action was commenced. The four members of KPL and their
respective citizenships are: C. Dustin Crane (Georgia); Milan
S. Crane (Utah); Curtis R. Crane (Arizona); and F. Michael
Crane (Utah). See C. Dustin Crane Decl. ¶ 4;
Milan S. Crane Decl. ¶ 4; Curtis ...