United States District Court, Western District of Louisiana, Shreveport Division
December 15, 2014
VICKI PYLANT, ET AL
HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL, INC. ET AL
MARK L. HORNSBY, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Plaintiffs filed this civil action against several defendants, who removed the case based on an assertion of diversity jurisdiction. Defendants acknowledged that Plaintiffs and defendant Vernon Chance are Louisiana citizens, which would destroy diversity, but Defendants asserted that the citizenship of Chance should be ignored pursuant to the improper joinder doctrine, which is outlined in Smallwood v. Illinois Central RR Co., 385 F.3d 568 (5th Cir. 2004). Plaintiffs have not challenged the improper joinder plea, but the court is obligated to determine subject matter jurisdiction, including whether a party is improperly joined, on its own initiative. Gasch v. Haertford Acc & Indem. Co. 491 F.3rd 278, 281 (5th Cir. 2007).
If Plaintiffs contests the assertion that Vernon Chance was improperly joined, they must file a motion to remand, supported by a memorandum, by January 20, 2015 and explain why there is a reasonable basis to predict that state law would allow Plaintiffs to recover against Chance. If Plaintiffs timely file a motion to remand, it will be noticed for briefing so that the Defendants can respond and attempt to meet their burden on the improper joinder issue.
If Plaintiffs do not timely file a motion to remand and challenge the improper joinder plea, the court will consider Plaintiffs to concede the point, Vernon Chance will be dismissed, and the court will set a scheduling conference.