Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hawaii FIT Four LLC v. Ford

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

October 30, 2017



          Leslie E. Kobayashi, United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Defendant/Counterclaimant/Third- Party Plaintiff Shayne Robert Ford's ("Ford") Motion for Summary Judgment and/or in the Alternative Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction ("Motion"), filed on May 27, 2017. [Dkt. no. 50.] Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant Hawaii FIT Four LLC ("Hawaii FIT") filed its memorandum in opposition on August 23, 2017, and Ford filed his reply on August 30, 2017. [Dkt. Nos. 71, 73.] This matter came on for hearing on September 13, 2017. On September 28, 2017, this Court issued an entering order containing an outline of its decision on the Motion ("9/28/17 EO Outline"). [Dkt. no. 83.] The instant Order supersedes the 9/28/17 EO Outline. For the reasons set forth below, Ford's Motion is hereby denied, without prejudice to the filing of a motion for summary judgment.


         Hawaii FIT filed this action on November 10, 2016, based on diversity jurisdiction. [Complaint at ¶ 4.] The Complaint alleges that:

2. Hawaii FIT Four is a Hawaii limited liability company. The sole member and manager of Hawaii FIT Four is Green Island FIT LLC ("Green Island"), a Hawaii limited liability company. Green Island has seven members; six are citizens of Hawaii and one is a citizen of California.
3. Ford is a citizen of Oregon.

         On February 2, 2017, Ford filed his Answer to Complaint, Filed November 10, 2016 ("Answer"), which included a Counterclaim and a Third-Party Complaint against Green Island. [Dkt. no. 16.] The pleadings' factual allegations and claims are summarized in the Order Ruling on the Parties' Motions Brought Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12, filed June 27, 2017 ("6/27/17 Order"). [Dkt. no. 58 at 2-12.]

         The 6/27/17 Order: dismissed Counts I, IV, V, and VI of the Counterclaim without prejudice; dismissed the Third-Party Complaint without prejudice; and denied Ford's motion seeking judgment on the pleadings on the merits of the Complaint.[1] Ford was allowed to file a motion seeking leave to file an amended counterclaim and an amended third-party complaint. [6/27/17 Order at 39-40.] On July 7, 2017, Ford filed the motion for leave. [Dkt. no. 61.] On August 8, 2017, the magistrate judge issued an order granting Ford leave to file his proposed amended counterclaim and denying leave to file the proposed amended third-party complaint. [Dkt. no. 68.] Ford filed his Amended Counterclaim on August 14, 2017. [Dkt. no. 69.]

         Ford's Motion presents both a facial attack on the sufficiency of the jurisdictional allegations in the Complaint and a factual attack on the truth of the jurisdictional allegations. In his factual attack, Ford asserts that there is no diversity of citizenship in this case because he is a Hawai"i citizen, not an Oregon citizen as alleged in the Complaint.


         I. Preliminary Issues

         A. Timing of the Motion

         At the outset, this Court must address the timing of the Motion. It is true that "[o]bjections to subject-matter jurisdiction . . . may be raised at any time, " even by a party that has lost at trial and "even if the party had previously acknowledged the trial court's jurisdiction." Henderson ex rel. Henderson v. Shinseki, 562 U.S. 428, 434-35 (2011) . If jurisdiction is found to be lacking in such circumstances, the case must be dismissed and "many months of work on the part of the attorneys and the court may be wasted." Id. at 435. In addition, it "may unfairly prejudice litigants." Id. at 434. Thus, Ford's jurisdictional challenge must be addressed, even though he has actively litigated this action for a significant amount of time by, inter alia, filing a Counterclaim and Third-Party Complaint, seeking judgment on the pleadings on the Complaint, and filing an amended counterclaim.[2]

         Even if jurisdiction is ultimately lacking, the circumstances of this case may warrant sanctions pursuant to this Court's inherent authority, on other grounds. See, e.g., State Farm Fire & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Ramirez, Civil No. 08-00557 SOM/LEK, 2011 WL 1135103, at *1 (D. Hawai"i Mar. 24, 2011) (concluding that the district court had jurisdiction to consider the plaintiff's motion for sanctions under the court's inherent authority, even though the case had been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, but ruling that sanctions were not warranted under the circumstances of the case). In the memorandum in opposition and at the hearing on the Motion, Hawaii FIT urged this Court to award sanctions against Ford and/or his counsel. Because this Court cannot determine whether sanctions are warranted based solely on the filings related to the Motion, Hawaii FIT's request for sanctions is denied without prejudice to the filing of a motion for sanctions. The motion for sanctions must specify the sanctions sought, as well as the legal authority supporting the sanctions sought.

         B. Failure to File a Concise Statement of Facts

         Although Ford seeks summary judgment in his favor based on the alleged lack of jurisdiction, he failed to file a concise statement of material facts, as required by Local Rule 56.1. Because of Ford's failure to follow the applicable rules, this Court will only consider the Motion as a motion to dismiss. To the extent Ford seeks summary judgment, the Motion is denied. The parties are reminded that any motion for summary judgment must comply with the requirements of Local Rule 56.1.

         C. Ford's Exhibit F

         To the extent that Ford's motion to dismiss presents a factual challenge to the Complaint's jurisdictional allegations, materials beyond the Complaint can be considered. See Savage v. Glendale Union High Sen., 343 F.3d 1036, 1039 n.2 (9th Cir. 2003). In considering the parties' written submissions, the applicable standard is equivalent to the summary judgment standard. See Trentacosta v. Frontier Pac. Aircraft Indus., Inc., 813 F.2d 1553, 1559 (9th Cir. 1987) . Thus, only admissible evidence can be considered. Cf. Orr v. Bank of Am., NT & SA, 285 F.3d 764, 773 (9th Cir. 2002) ("A trial court can only consider admissible evidence in ruling on a motion for summary judgment.").

         The copies of Ford's 2015 and 2016 state and federal tax returns that are included in Exhibit F to the reply ("the Returns"), [dkt. nos. 73-20 & 73-21, ] are inadmissible.[3] The Returns are not signed by either Ford or the party who prepared them on his behalf; Ford has not submitted any documentation from a government entity showing that the Returns are true and accurate copies of the tax returns filed with that entity; and the Declaration of Shayne Robert Ford attached to the reply ("Ford Reply Declaration") does not contain sufficient information ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.