United States District Court, D. Nevada
STEVEN HELLERSTEIN, et al. Plaintiffs,
DESERT LIFESTYLES, et al., Defendants.
RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case, removed from state court in 2015, involves a dispute
between two groups of plaintiffs and two groups of defendants
regarding a golf course property located in a planned
community in Las Vegas, Nevada. After a long and protracted
series of events, including an appeal to the Ninth Circuit,
the Court ordered jurisdictional discovery to determine the
citizenship of Defendant LLCs and Intervenor Defendant LLC.
At a hearing on October 27, 2017, the Court took the matter
under submission, and this order now follows.
Events Leading Up to the Joinder of Stoneridge
parties are familiar with the elaborate procedural
development of this case. However, the Court summarizes the
relevant events with regard to its determination of subject
matter jurisdiction. This case was initially filed in the
Eighth Judicial District Court for Clark County, Nevada by
several homeowners of properties in the common interest
community Silverstone Ranch (collectively, “Homeowner
Plaintiffs”) on September 7, 2015. In the Complaint,
Homeowner Plaintiffs allege that Defendants Desert
Lifestyles, LLC (“Desert Lifestyles”) and Western
Golf Properties, LLC (“Western Golf”)
(collectively, “Desert Lifestyles Defendants”)
violated an agreement to maintain the golf course property
around which the Silverstone Ranch community was formed.
Homeowner Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief
to compel Desert Lifestyles, as owner of the golf course, to
maintain and operate the golf course.
Plaintiff-in-Intervention Silverstone Ranch Community
Association (“Intervenor Plaintiff”) filed a
Complaint-in-Intervention on September 11, 2015. On September
18, 2015, Desert Lifestyles Defendants removed the case to
federal court, on the grounds that both Desert Lifestyles and
Western Golf were California limited liability companies. The
Petition for Removal included an Ex-Parte Application for
Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”).
Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Remand to state court on
September 23, 2015, arguing that Desert Lifestyles Defendants
failed to demonstrate diversity of citizenship, as the
Petition for Removal failed to indicate who were the members
of the respective LLCs. The following two days, the Court
held hearings on the Ex-Parte Application for TRO and granted
the TRO against Desert Lifestyles Defendants. Beginning its
jurisdictional inquiry, the Court also ordered Desert
Lifestyles Defendants to produce information about their
members as of the date of removal. The Court held several
hearings on the request for preliminary injunction, which the
Court granted on November 10, 2015. Desert Lifestyles Defendants
appealed this decision to Ninth Circuit.
December 15, 2015, while Desert Lifestyles Defendants'
appeal was pending, Desert Lifestyles sold the golf course
property to Stoneridge Parkway, LLC
(“Stoneridge”). Desert Lifestyles Defendants
filed a Notice claiming that, due to the sale, they no longer
had an interest in the golf course property within
Silverstone Ranch and therefore were not obligated to attend
the hearing previously set for December 17, 2015 regarding
proposals for restoring the golf course. The Court ordered
Desert Lifestyles to produce documents relating to the sale
of the golf course for in camera review. On December
17, 2015, prior to the scheduled hearing, Homeowner
Plaintiffs filed an Emergency Motion requesting sanctions
against Desert Lifestyles. Intervenor Plaintiff also filed several
Emergency Motions, requesting, among other relief, binding
successors-in-interest to the preliminary injunction and
adding Stoneridge as a party to the action. During the
hearing on the same day, the Court granted Intervenor
Plaintiff leave to file an Amended Complaint, including
Stoneridge a party. The Court additionally ordered Plaintiffs
to file an Amended Motion for Sanctions by December 24,
an Amended Complaint was filed adding Stoneridge as a party
to the action, Intervenor Plaintiff filed a Notice of
Bankruptcy as to Stoneridge. Homeowner Plaintiffs and Desert
Lifestyles Defendants continued to engage in voluminous
briefing regarding sanctions and discovery issues. On January
7, 2016, the Court clarified its prior ruling and stated that
it did not find that it had jurisdiction to join any
additional party - i.e., Stoneridge - absent the filing of an
Amended Complaint with proof of service on the new party. The
same day, the Court also granted Homeowner Plaintiffs'
oral motion to withdraw their Motion to Remand without
Court granted the Desert Lifestyles Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss without prejudice on September 30, 2016. The case was
stayed pending a decision from the Ninth Circuit and
resolution of the bankruptcy proceeding as to Stoneridge.
8, 2017, the Ninth Circuit entered the Mandate to its
Memorandum, denying Desert Lifestyle Defendants' appeal
as moot, but finding that there was a “serious question
as to whether the requirements for diversity jurisdiction
[were] satisfied, ” based upon the Complaint and the
evidence in the record. The Ninth Circuit concluded that it
would “leave it to the district court to conduct the
proceedings and consider the evidence it deems
appropriate” to determine diversity jurisdiction. The
Court issued an Order on the mandate on May 12, 2017.
The Instant Motions
Plaintiff filed its Amended Complaint on April 13, 2017,
adding Stoneridge as a Defendant-in-Intervention. (ECF No.
211). Intervenor Plaintiff subsequently filed several Motions
to Amend the Complaint. (ECF Nos. 212, 213, 276, 277).
Stoneridge filed the instant Motion to Remand or
alternatively Motion to Dismiss on April 27, 2017. (ECF No.
223). On April 28, 2017, Desert Lifestyles Defendants filed a
Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction (ECF No. 231) and
Joinder to Stoneridge's Motion to Remand (ECF No. 233),
both of which were later withdrawn (ECF No. 285). Stoneridge
additionally filed a Motion to Dismiss or alternatively
Motion to Compel Arbitration (ECF No. 240). Intervenor
Plaintiff filed Responses to the Motion to Remand and Motions
to Dismiss on May 15, 2017 (ECF Nos. 247, 248) and May 19,
2017 (ECF No. 249). Stoneridge filed its Replies on May 22,
2017 (ECF Nos. 250, 251) and May 26, 2017 (ECF No. 253).
Intervenor Plaintiff filed a Partial Motion for Summary
Judgment on the issue of enforcement of the Golf Course
Agreement on July 24, 2017 (ECF No. 261). Stoneridge filed an
Emergency Motion to Stay or Defer Response on the Partial
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 275).
voluminous briefing, including several emergency motions,
prompted the Court to hold a series of hearings on the
matter. The Court held a hearing on August 3, 2017, in which
it outlined the parameters for jurisdictional discovery on
the record. On September 8, 2017, at a second hearing on the
matter, the Court ordered the deposition of the person most
knowledge about the information in Desert Lifestyles'
possession regarding the sales transaction involving the golf
course property. The Court provided further instruction on
jurisdictional discovery at a hearing on October 5, 2017. On
October 27, 2017, the Court held an evidentiary hearing on
jurisdictional issues and heard testimony from Danny
Modaberpour (“Modab”), the majority owner and
manager of Stoneridge.