United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
WILLIAM W. ALDEN, M.D.
JOHN K. EASON, ESQ.
ORDER AND REASONS
L. C. FELDMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the plaintiff's motion to remand. For the
reasons that follow, the motion is GRANTED.
defamation case, by a physician, arises out of a YouTube
video posted online by a law professor, in which the
professor states that the physician was a porn actor when he
was a student at Princeton University and that the physician
had been blacklisted by a medical association.
Eason, a law professor and an attorney, and his wife, Janelle
Eason, sold their house located on the Northshore of New
Orleans to Ashley Steele, who is married to William Alden,
M.D. Sometime after the sale, Ms. Steele allegedly discovered
numerous redhibitory defects in the house. As a result, Ms.
Steele sued the Easons in civil district court in New
Orleans. Shortly after the redhibition suit was filed in
2014, Mr. Eason and his wife wrote a letter to Dr. Alden and
letter, the Easons demanded that the lawsuit be immediately
dismissed and that Dr. Alden pay $9, 350 or that
“consequences would follow.” When neither demand
was met, Mr. Eason posted a video of himself on YouTube in
which he spoke about Dr. Alden's character and
27, 2016, Dr. Alden sued Mr. Eason in the Civil District
Court for the Parish of Orleans. On May 4, 2017, Mr. Eason
timely removed the suit to this Court, invoking the
Court's diversity jurisdiction. Because it is common for
prospective patients to Google search a doctor's name
before seeking treatment, Dr. Alden alleges that he suffered
harm to his personal and professional reputation, loss of
business income, and loss of the respect of patients who left
his practice after viewing the video. Dr. Alden now requests
that the Court remand his defamation lawsuit to state court.
the plaintiff challenges removal in this case, the removing
defendant carries the burden of showing the propriety of this
Court's removal jurisdiction. See Manguno v.
Prudential Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 276 F.3d 720, 723
(5th Cir. 2002); see also Jernigan v. Ashland Oil,
Inc., 989 F.2d 812, 815 (5th Cir. 1993), cert.
denied, 510 U.S. 868 (1993). Remand is proper if at any
time the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(c). Given the significant federalism concerns
implicated by removal, the removal statute is strictly
construed “and any doubt as to the propriety of removal
must be resolved in favor of remand.” Gutierrez v.
Flores, 543 F.3d 248, 251 (5th Cir. 2008)(citation
omitted); Gasch v. Hartford Accident & Indem.
Co., 491 F.3d 278, 281-82 (5th Cir. 2007)(citations
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing only
the authority granted by the United States Constitution and
conferred by the United States Congress. Howery v.
Allstate Ins. Co., 243 F.3d 912, 916 (5th Cir. 2001). A
defendant may generally remove a civil action filed in state
court if the federal court has original jurisdiction over the
case - that is, if the plaintiff could have brought the
action in federal court from the outset. See 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a). To exercise diversity jurisdiction,
complete diversity must exist between the plaintiffs and all
of the properly joined defendants, and the amount in
controversy must exceed $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332. The only dispute here is whether or not the
amount-in-controversy requirement is met.
determine whether it has jurisdiction, the Court must
consider the allegations in the state court petition as they
existed at the time of removal. See Manguno v. Prudential
Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 276 F.3d 720 (5th Cir. 2002);
see also Cavallini v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co.,
44 F.3d 256, 264 (5th Cir. 1995). Louisiana law requires that
a plaintiff include ...