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Conagra Foods, Inc. v. Americold Logistics, LLC

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

January 27, 2015

CONAGRA FOODS, INC., formerly known as Conagra, Inc.; SWIFTECKRICH, INC., Plaintiffs - Appellants, and KRAFT FOODSERVICE, INC.; SAFEWAY, INC.; PHILLIPS CONNECTIONS, INC., doing business as Phillips Connections and Hanover, Inc., Plaintiffs,
v.
AMERICOLD LOGISTICS, LLC; AMERICOLD REALTY TRUST, Defendants - Appellees

As Corrected April 10, 2015.

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS. (D.C. NO. 2:13-CV-02064-JWL-KGS).

John M. Duggan (Deron A. Anliker and Andrew I. Spitsnogle, with him on the briefs), Duggan Shadwick Doerr & Kurlbaum LLC, Overland Park, Kansas, for Plaintiffs - Appellants.

Michael D. Pospisil (John M. Edgar with him on the briefs), Edgar Law Firm LLC, Kansas City, Missouri, for Defendants - Appellees.

Before LUCERO, MURPHY, and McHUGH, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1176

MURPHY, Circuit Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Is the citizenship of a trust determined by exclusive reference to the citizenship of its trustees? According to Carden v. Arkoma Associates, 494 U.S. 185, 110 S.Ct. 1015, 108 L.Ed.2d 157 (1990), the answer to this question is " no." The citizenship of a trust, just like the citizenship of all other artificial entities except corporations, is determined by examining the citizenship " of all the entity's members." Id. at 195. That being the case, the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the suit underlying this appeal. This court remands the matter to the district court to vacate its judgment on the merits and remand the matter to state court.

II. BACKGROUND

Multiple plaintiffs, including ConAgra Foods, Inc. and Swift-Eckrich, Inc., brought suit in Kansas state court against Americold Logistics, LLC and Americold Realty Trust (the " Americold entities" ). The Americold entities removed the case to the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. As the basis for removal, the Americold entities asserted[1] the parties were completely diverse.[2] See 28 U.S.C. ยง 1441(b).

Page 1177

No party challenged the propriety of removal; the district court did not address the issue. The merits of the suit were submitted to the district court on cross-motions for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment to the Americold entities. ConAgra and Swift-Eckrich brought a timely merits appeal.

After the parties filed their merits briefs, this court noted a potential jurisdiction defect in the notice of removal. See Qwest Corp. v. PUC of Colo.., 479 F.3d 1184, 1191 (10th Cir. 2007) (holding this court has " an independent duty to ensure that the district court[ ] properly asserted jurisdiction" (quotation omitted)). We ordered the ...


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