United States District Court, D. Idaho
MICHAEL ALLEN, an individual; CAMP BENCH HOLDINGS, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company; CAMP RIVER HOLDINGS, LLC, an Idaho limited liability company; and CAMPBELL FARMS, INC., an Idaho corporation, Plaintiffs,
NEIL CAMPBELL, an individual, and CAMPBELL CONTRACTING, LTD., a Nevada limited liability company, Defendants.
LYNN WINMILL U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
before the Court are Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary
Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (Dkt. 6),
Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand and for attorney fees and
costs (Dkt. 9), and Plaintiffs' Motion to Expedite
Consideration of Motion to Remand (Dkt. 20). Having reviewed
the parties' briefing, as well as the record in this
case, the Court has determined that oral argument is
unnecessary. Accordingly, the Court enters the following
February 5, 2019 Defendants Neil Campbell and Campbell
Contracting, LTD submitted a Notice of Removal to the United
States District Court for the District of Idaho. Dkt. 1.
Defendants believe the Court has jurisdiction over this case
under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, because “it is a civil
action between citizens of different states and the matter in
controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000.”
Id. at 3. In their Notice, Defendants assert
complete diversity: that Plaintiffs are all citizens of
Idaho, and Defendants all citizens of Nevada. Id.
Defendants' Notice does not clarify the basis for the
amount in controversy, but it is clear from the Complaint the
parties are disputing a settlement agreement worth in excess
of $75, 000. See Dkt. 1-1 at 4.
February 6, 2019, Plaintiffs moved to remand this case to
state court. See Dkt. 9. Plaintiffs argue that the
Court lacks jurisdiction over the case under § 1332
because the parties are not completely diverse. Dkt. 10 at 2.
Specifically, Plaintiffs argue that plaintiffs Camp Bench
Holdings, LLC and Camp River Holdings, LLC share citizenship
with Defendant Neil Campbell. Id. Plaintiffs'
Motion points out that Mr. Campbell is a citizen of Nevada
and a member of both LLCs. Id. Defendants do not
challenge Plaintiffs' characterization of Mr.
Campbell's Citizenship or his membership in the two LLCs
at issue. See Dkt. 19.
at any time before final judgment it appears that the
district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case
shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). If a
plaintiff files a civil action in state court, the defendant
may remove that action to a federal district court if the
district court has original jurisdiction over the matter. 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a). Removal statutes are strictly
construed against removal jurisdiction. Ritchey v. UpJohn
Drug Co., 139 F.3d 1313, 1317 (9th Cir.1998).
“Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any
doubt as to the right of removal in the first
instance.” Gaus v. Miles, 980 F.2d 564, 566
(9th Cir.1992) (quoting Libhart v. Santa Monica Dairy
Co., 592 F.2d 1062, 1064 (9th Cir.1979)). The defendant
always has the burden of establishing that removal is proper.
Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566.
also ask the court for attorney's fees associated with
their Motion to Remand. An order remanding the case may
require payment of reasonable costs and actual expenses,
including attorney fees, incurred as a result of the removal.
28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). However, the language of Section
1447(c) is discretionary, and there is no automatic
entitlement to an award of attorney fees and costs.
Martin v. Franklin Cap. Corp., 546 U.S. 132, 136-37
(2005). The Supreme Court has articulated that the test for
awarding fees under § 1447(c) should recognize the
“desire to deter removals sought for the purpose of
prolonging litigation and increasing costs on the opposing
party, while not undermining ... [defendants'] right to
remove as a general matter, when the statutory criteria are
satisfied.” Martin, 546 U.S. at 140. Thus,
courts may award fees only when the removing party lacked
“an objectively reasonable basis” for removing
the action. Martin, 546 U.S. at 141. The Ninth
Circuit clarified that District Courts should look at the
“reasonableness of the attempted removal” when
determining whether to award attorney's fees. Lussier
v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., 518 F.3d 1062, 1065 (9th
The Court Lacks Jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, the Court has original jurisdiction
over cases in which the parties are completely diverse and
the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. A party's
citizenship is to be determined at the time the complaint was
filed and the removal effected. See Strotek Corp. v. Air.
Transp. Ass'n of Am., 300 F.3d 1129, 1131 (9th
Cir.2002). Although the amount in controversy in this case
exceeds the jurisdictional amount, the Court nevertheless
finds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction due to the
incomplete diversity of the parties.
correctly point out that plaintiffs Camp Bench Holdings, LLC
and Camp River Holdings, LLC are citizens of Nevada as well
as citizens of Idaho. As limited liability companies, both
plaintiffs are “citizen[s] of every state of which its
owners/members are citizens.” Johnson v. Columbia
Props. Anchorage, LP, 437 F.3d 894, 899 (9th Cir. 2006).
Plaintiffs' Complaint spells out that Defendant Neil
Campbell is a “member of both Camp Bench and Camp
River.” Dkt. 1-1 at 4. The Complaint also identifies
Mr. Campbell as a citizen of Nevada. Id. at 3.
Therefore, Camp Bench Holdings, LLC, and Camp River Holdings,
LLC are both citizens of Nevada because of the membership of
Mr. Campbell. Because diversity jurisdiction under §
1332 requires complete diversity between plaintiffs and
defendants, and there is incomplete diversity here, the Court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this case.
The Court Will Award Plaintiffs Attorney's Fees Under ...