A recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features discussion with Steve Riden in an article titled “Jurisdictional issue jeopardizes eight-figure verdict.”
The article covers a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit concerning a contract dispute. The decision was entered in the case titled BRT Management LLC v. Malden Storage, LLC, et al..
The decision addresses a party’s obligation to establish the existence of subject matter jurisdiction when asserting claims in federal court. In this case, the defendants had not provided sufficient assurances that every member of one defendant — a limited liability corporation — met the requirement for diversity, i.e., that no plaintiff and defendant were domiciled in the same state. As a consequence, the First Circuit indicated that dismissal of the lawsuit would be justified, but gave the defendants “one more chance” to establish that the District Court has subject matter jurisdiction.
In its decision, the First Circuit detailed the obligations of establishing diversity for non-corporate entities like LLCs or trusts.
In the article, Steve Riden is quoted as follows:
Boston attorney Stephen D. Riden called BRT “required reading for any attorney who is going to represent or be adverse to an LLC or trust in federal court.”
The case illustrates that the burden to conclusively establish the diversity of citizenship “never ends,” Riden said. He noted that the parties thought they were doing the right thing by stipulating that diversity existed, apparently having mutually decided that it may not be worth the effort to drill down and identify every natural person involved in a trust or LLC.
But the 1st Circuit was “merciless” in emphasizing that there are “no shortcuts,” he said.
As much as the 1st Circuit’s decision is a “cautionary tale,” it is also a “helpful guide,” recommending a process of conducting limited jurisdictional discovery of non-public information at the outset of a case to confirm that jurisdictional diversity exists, Riden observed.
“This is a decision that cannot be ignored, with application to every single case in federal court with an LLC, LLP or a trust as a party,” Riden said.
The article is by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s reporter, Kris Olson.
Steve is a seasoned litigator with substantial experience successfully litigating complex commercial matters in state and federal court. His exceptional track record in navigating the intricacies of court procedures, coupled with his deep understanding of commercial law, has earned him a reputation for delivering favorable outcomes for his clients. With an acute attention to detail and an unwavering commitment to upholding the rights and interests of his clients, Steve consistently demonstrates his ability to effectively advocate for their positions.
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