United States District Court, D. New Jersey
LEONARD NIKOA BENNETT Appearing pro se
JEFFREY ALAN SHOOMAN On behalf of Defendant
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
14, 2018, Defendant, Pepsi Bottling Group, LLC,
removed Plaintiff's case from New
Jersey Superior Court to this Court. Defendant's notice
of removal stated that this Court has jurisdiction over this
matter based on the diversity of citizenship of the parties
and an amount in controversy in excess of $75, 000, exclusive
of interests and costs, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
The notice averred that Plaintiff is a citizen of New Jersey,
and Defendant is a citizen of New York. (Docket No. 1 at 3.)
16, 2018, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause as to why
the action should not be remanded because the Notice had not
articulated Defendant's citizenship in sufficient detail
to establish subject matter jurisdiction under §
1332(a).(Docket No. 4.) The Notice averred,
“[Pepsi] Bottling Group, LLC is an indirect subsidiary
of PepsiCo, Inc., a North Carolina Corporation with its
principal place of business in Purchase, New York. [Pepsi]
Bottling Group, LLC is a Delaware registered company with its
principal place of business in White Plains, New York.”
The Court pointed out, however, that the citizenship of an
LLC is determined by the citizenship of each of its members,
not where it has a principal place of business, or under
which state's law it is established. The Court further
pointed out that if a member of an LLC is another LLC, a
corporation, or a limited partnership, then each member of
the LLC, or each partner in the limited partnership, must be
identified and its citizenship pled, and for any such member
or partner that is a corporation, the state of incorporation
and its principal place of business must similarly be
identified and pled.
31, 2018, Defendant responded to the Order to Show Cause.
(Docket No. 9.) Defendant relates that Bottling Group
LLC's two members are Bottling Group Holdings, LLC and
Pepsi Bottling Holdings, Inc. Defendant further relates that
Pepsi Bottling Holdings, Inc. is a citizen of Delaware and
New York. As for Bottling Group Holdings, LLC, Defendant
relates that after it removed the action it became aware a
member of Bottling Group Holdings, LLC is Pepsi-Cola
Metropolitan Bottling Company, which is incorporated in New
it is clear that because one of the members of Bottling Group
Holdings, LLC is a New Jersey citizen so is Bottling Group
Holdings, LLC and because Bottling Group Holdings, LLC is a
New Jersey citizen and a member of Bottling Group LLC so too
is Defendant Bottling Group LLC a citizen of New Jersey.
Thus, because the citizenship of Plaintiff and Defendant is
not diverse, this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction
over the matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), and the case
must be remanded. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c)
(“If at any time before final judgment it appears that
the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the
case shall be remanded.”).
appropriate Order will be entered.
 Defendant explains that the proper
name of Plaintiff's employer is Bottling Group,
 Federal courts have an independent
obligation to address issues of subject matter jurisdiction
sua sponte and may do so at any stage of the
litigation. Zambelli Fireworks Mfg. Co., Inc. v.
Wood, 592 F.3d 412, 418 (3d Cir. 2010); Lincoln Ben.
Life Co. v. AEI Life, LLC, 800 F.3d 99, 104 (3d Cir.
2015) (citations omitted) (“The principal federal
statute governing diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. §
1332, gives federal district courts original jurisdiction of
all civil actions ‘between ... citizens of different
States' where the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.
For over two hundred years, the statute has been understood
as requiring complete diversity between all plaintiffs and
all defendants, even though only minimal diversity is
constitutionally required. This means that, unless there is
some other basis for jurisdiction, no plaintiff [may] be a
citizen of the same state as any defendant.”).
 See Zambelli, 592 F.3d at 420
(“[W]here an LLC has, as one of its members, another
LLC, ‘the citizenship of unincorporated associations
must be traced through however many layers of partners or
members there may be' to determine the citizenship of the
LLC.”)(quoting Hart v. Terminex Int'l, 336
F.3d 541, 543 (7th Cir. 2003)).
 Defendant's New Jersey citizenship
also causes the removal to be improper under 28 U.S.C. §
1441(b)(2), which provides: “A civil action otherwise
removable solely on the basis of the jurisdiction under
section 1332(a) of this title may not be removed if any of
the parties in interest properly joined and served as