United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
July 16, 2004.
CHAPMAN AND CUTLER LLP, Plaintiff,
ALLCO FINANCE CORPORATION, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: MILTON SHADUR, Senior District Judge
Chapman and Cutler LLP ("Chapman") has sued Allco Finance
Corporation ("Allco") for unpaid legal fees and expenses, seeking
to invoke federal diversity of citizenship jurisdiction. Because
Chapman's Complaint is (quite astonishingly) deficient in that
respect, this memorandum order is issued sua sponte to require
that subject matter jurisdiction be established properly.
Complaint ¶ 2 conforms appropriately enough to the dual
corporate citizenship provision of 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1), for it
identifies both Nevada and New York citizenship on Allco's part.
But all that Complaint ¶ 1 says about Chapman itself is this:
Chapman is an Illinois limited liability partnership,
having its principal place of business in Chicago,
It is a source of bemusement whenever counsel who are (or ought
to be) familiar with federal practice demonstrate an unawareness
of the principle that was established by the ultimate judicial
authority nearly a decade and a half ago: that whenever any partnership (including a limited partnership) is named as a
"party" to a lawsuit, the relevant citizenship for federal
diversity purposes is that of all partners and not that of the
partnership itself (Carden v. Arkoma Assocs., 494 U.S. 185
195-96 (1990) and cases cited there). But for that principle to
be unknown to the litigators in a major law firm, seeking to sue
on its own behalf, really boggles the mind.
In any event, the question that Chapman must address for
diversity purposes is whether even one of its 200 or so lawyers
is a citizen of Nevada or New York, which would of course destroy
the total diversity that has been required for nearly two
centuries by the line of cases beginning with Strawbridge v.
Curtiss, 7 U.S. (3 Cranch) 267 (1806). Accordingly Chapman's
counsel are granted leave to file an appropriate amendment to
Complaint ¶ 1 (not a full-blown and self-contained Amended
Complaint) in this Court's chambers on or before July 23, 2004.
In the absence of such an appropriate filing, or if the filing
were to disclose a lack of total diversity, this Court would be
constrained to dismiss both the Complaint and this action for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.