United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KATHLEEN KAY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the court is a Motion to Remand [doc. #9] filed by
plaintiffs, Robert Vaughn and Sara Vaughn. The motion is
opposed by defendant, Lake Charles Joint Venture, LLC
(“L.C. Joint Venture”).
reasons that follow the court recommends that the motion be
filed suit on April 13, 2017 in the 14th Judicial District
Court, Parish of Calcasieu, Louisiana, for injuries allegedly
sustained by Robert Vaughn when he slipped and fell in a
bathroom at a hotel owned and operated by
defendants. Doc. 1, att. 1, pp. 1-4. L.C. Joint
Venture was served with the petition on April 27, 2017.
Id. at p. 16. Defendant SAI Hotel, Inc. was served
on April 26, 2017. Id. at p. 15.
the case was pending in state court L.C. Joint Venture filed
an exception of nonconformity and vagueness alleging,
inter alia, that plaintiffs failed to set forth
their domicile in the petition. Doc. 12, att. 1, pp. 35-36.
Shortly thereafter, plaintiffs filed a supplemental and
amending petition alleging that their domicile is the state
of South Carolina. Id. at pp. 53-54.
L.C. Joint Venture filed a Notice of Removal on July 5, 2017,
alleging jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332,
diversity jurisdiction. Doc. 1. It alleges that plaintiffs are
residents of the state of South Carolina and that L.C. Joint
Venture is a corporation “organized under the laws of
the State of Louisiana, and whose members reside in the
states of Louisiana and Texas.” Id. It further
alleges that SAI Hotel, Inc. is a corporation
“organized under the laws of the State of Louisiana,
and whose members reside in the states of Louisiana and
filed a motion to remand on July 21, 2017. Doc. 9.
Plaintiffs' motion to remand asserts that removal was
improper under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2), commonly referred
to as the “forum defendant rule.” They argue
that, since L.C. Joint Venture alleges in the notice of
removal that both it and SAI Hotel, Inc. are citizens of
Louisiana, the case cannot be removed based on the forum
defendant rule. Id.
the motion to remand was filed, L.C. Joint Venture filed a
Supplemental and Amended Notice of Removal on July 26, 2017.
Doc. 12. In its amended notice L.C. Joint Venture asserts
that it is a limited liability company whose members are
citizens of Texas and Louisiana. Id. It also states
that SAI Hotel, Inc. consents to the removal and that the
amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.
opposing the motion to remand L.C. Joint Venture does not
deny that it is a citizen of Louisiana; rather, it argues
that the forum defendant rule is inapplicable because it was
not properly served with the supplemental and amending
petition until July 12, 2017. Doc. 15. In reply plaintiffs
contend that both L.C. Joint Venture and SAI Hotel, Inc. were
properly served with the original petition on April 27, 2017
and April 26, 2017, respectively, thus, under the forum
defendant rule, removal was improper. Doc. 19.
civil action brought in a state court of which the district
courts of the United States have original jurisdiction may be
removed to the proper federal district court. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(a). District courts have original jurisdiction
over all civil actions where the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is
between citizens of different states. 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a)(1). The removing party bears the burden of showing