United States District Court, D. Idaho
YELLOWSTONE POKY, LLC, an Idaho Limited Liability Company, Plaintiff,
FIRST POCATELLO ASSOCIATES, L.P., Defendant. FIRST POCATELLO ASSOCIATES, L.P., Counterclaimant,
YELLOWSTONE POKY, LLC, an Idaho Limited Liability Company, and FEATHERSTON HOLDINGS, INC. Counterdefendant.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill, Chief Judge.
action involves the claim by Yellowstone Poky that Defendant
First Pocatello Associates, L.P. failed to perform its
obligations under a real estate purchase and sale agreement
(the “Agreement”) between First Pocatello and
Yellowstone Poky's successor in interest. Yellowstone
Poky brings claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment,
and promissory estoppel.
before the Court is a series of motions, including:
Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss for Failure to
State a Claim (Dkt. 7); Defendant's Motion to Strike
Affidavit of Counsel (Dkt. 16); Plaintiff's Motion to
Amend the Complaint (Dkt. 24); Plaintiff's Motion for
Joinder (Dkt. 25); a Motion to Intervene filed by Roger
Featherston (Dkt. 26); and Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
for Lack of Jurisdiction (Dkt. 30).
Court heard oral argument on this first series of motions on
March 2, 2017. Subsequently, the Court issued a Memorandum
Decision and Order finding that “Plaintiff's
jurisdictional allegations are facially deficient due to the
failure to assert a valid assignment of the underlying
Agreement” from FHI to Yellowstone Poky. Mem.
Decision & Order at 10, Dkt. 50. The Court granted
Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint for the sole
purpose of curing the defective jurisdictional allegations
and deferred ruling on the remaining motions. Id. at
March 22, 2017, Plaintiff filed its First Complaint pursuant
to that Order. First Am. Compl. and Jury Demand,
Dkt. 51. The new pleading alleges that FHI assigned its
interest in the Agreement to Yellowstone Poky. Id.
¶ 29. It also purports to align FHI as a Plaintiff.
Id. ¶ 30.
second series of motions ensued. These include
Defendant's Motion to Strike Amended Complaint (Dkt. 54),
in which First Pocatello argues that FHI was improperly
realigned as a co-plaintiff without leave of the Court. Also
before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion to Strike
Extraneous Pages of Defendant's Reply Memorandum and
Declaration of Howard D. Burnett (Dkt. 60) and
Plaintiff's Second Motion to Amend/Correct Complaint and
Realign Parties (Dkt. 61).
Memorandum Decision and Order addresses the all pending
motions, except the recently-filed Motions for Preliminary
Injunction (Dkt. 67) and Expedited Discovery (Dkt. 68).
Defendant's Motion to Strike Amended Complaint (Dkt.
Pocatello seeks to strike portions of Yellowstone Poky's
First Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(f). Specifically, First Pocatello objects to the
purported designation of Featherston Holdings, Inc. (FHI) as
a named plaintiff and inclusion of related allegations in
March 8, 2017 Memorandum Decision & Order (Dkt. 50), this
Court granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1653, “for the sole
purpose of curing the defective jurisdictional
allegations.” The First Amended Complaint properly
includes additional allegations regarding Yellowstone
Poky's acquisition of rights in the underlying Agreement.
However, the addition of FHI as a named Plaintiff exceeds the
bounds of 28 U.S.C. § 1653 and the leave granted by this
Court. Section 1653 allows amendments to cure defective
allegations of jurisdiction but does not permit amendments
“to produce jurisdiction where none actually existed
before.” Newman- Green, Inc. v.
Alfonzo-Larrain, 490 U.S. 826, 831 (1989). It does not,
therefore, authorize the addition of a new plaintiff to cure
a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. See Field
v. Volkswagenwerk AG, 626 F.2d 293, 306 (3d Cir. 1980);
Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Hillman, 796 F.2d 770,
776 (5th Cir. 1986).
the Court will grant Defendant's Motion, pursuant to Rule
12(f), and strike any reference to FHI as a Plaintiff in the
First Amended Complaint.
Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Defendant's Reply Brief
and Burnett Declaration (Dkt. 60)
filed a motion to strike extraneous pages of the
Defendant's Reply Memorandum to its Motion to Strike the
Amended Complaint (Dkt. 59) and the entirety of the
Declaration of Howard D. Burnett (Dkt. 59-1), which was
attached as an exhibit to that reply brief.
argues that Defendant's Reply Memorandum consisted of
twelve pages and therefore violated Idaho Local Civil Rule
7.1, which limits reply briefs to ten pages without express
leave of the Court. In imposing length limits on party
submissions, however, courts customarily exclude the case
captions, tables of contents, tables of citations, signature
blocks, certificates of service, and other such items.
Defendant's Reply Memorandum consists of only ten (10)
pages when excluding the case caption and “Certificate
of Service.” The Court will therefore deny
Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Defendant's Reply
argues that the Declaration of Howard D. Burnett, filed in
support of the above-mentioned Reply Memorandum, should be
stricken pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(c) and
Idaho Local Civil Rule 7.1. The Court finds it unnecessary to
consider the admissibility of the declaration as it was not
relevant to the Court's ruling on Defendant's Motion
to Strike. Plaintiff's Motion to Strike the Declaration
of Howard D. Burnett will be denied as moot.
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction
Pocatello moved to dismiss Yellowstone Poky's complaint
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, on three distinct
grounds. The Court rejected two of these grounds in its March
8 Memorandum Decision and Order (Dkt. 50). On the third
ground for dismissal-failure to plead existence of a valid
assignment-the Court granted Yellowstone Poky leave to amend
its defective jurisdictional allegations. Plaintiff
thereafter filed a First Amended Complaint which now asserts
a valid assignment of the underlying Agreement:
29. Featherston Holdings, Inc. assigned and transferred all
of its interest in the Agreement to Yellowstone Poky. Roger
Featherston is the principal owner and manager of Yellowstone
Poky and the president of Featherston Holdings, Inc. Roger
Featherston has authority to bind both entities. Roger
Featherston entered into the assignment on behalf of
Featherston Holdings, Inc. and assigned and transferred all
of Featherston Holdings' interest in the Agreement
effective March 15, 2016.
paragraph alleges sufficient facts regarding Yellowstone
Poky's ownership of the contractual rights at issue so as
to establish its standing to pursue this action. Accordingly,
the Court will deny First Pocatello's Motion to Dismiss
for Lack of Jurisdiction (Dkt. 30).
Plaintiff's Motion for Joinder (Dkt. 26)
Poky has moved to join its real estate broker, Intermountain
Real Estate Idaho, LLC d/b/a Coldwell Banker Commercial
Advisors (CBCA), and Don Zebe, the actual realtor involved in
the transaction, as Defendants to the Complaint. Joinder of
Zebe would destroy complete diversity, as both Yellowstone
Poky and Zebe are citizens of Idaho. Therefore, the Court
must consider the effect of 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e), which
governs post-removal joinder of non-diverse defendants.
Legal Standard - 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e)
U.S.C. § 1447(e) provides that “[i]f after removal
the plaintiff seeks to join additional defendants whose
joinder would destroy subject matter jurisdiction, the court
may deny joinder, or permit joinder and remand the action to
the State court.” The decision regarding joinder is
committed to the trial court's discretion. Newcombe
v. Adolf Coors Co., 157 F.3d 686, 691 (9th Cir.
1998). In deciding whether to grant leave to join, the Court
may consider factors such as:
(1) whether the party sought to be joined is needed for just
adjudication and would be joined under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 19(a); (2) whether the statute of limitations would
preclude an original action against the new defendants in
state court; (3) whether there has been unexplained delay in
requesting joinder; (4) whether joinder is intended solely to
defeat federal jurisdiction; (5) whether the claims against
the new defendant appear valid; and (6) whether denial of
joinder will prejudice the plaintiff.
IBC Aviation Servs. v. Compania Mexicana De
Aviacion, 125 F.Supp.2d 1008, 1011 (N.D. Cal. 2000).
Classification as “Required” ...