United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
KENGARRICA WILLIAMS, et al.
SENTRY INSURANCE A MUTUAL CO., et al.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
H.L. PEREZ-MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion to Remand and for Attorney Fees filed
by Plaintiffs (Doc. 22). Williams' Motions to Remand and
for Attorney Fees should be granted.
Kengarrica Williams (“Williams”) filed a petition
for personal injury damages on behalf of herself and her
minor child A.L., Jr., in a Louisiana state court (Doc. 1-5).
The named defendants are Rue 21, Inc., Cindy Hamby (an
employee of Rue 21, Inc. in Bastrop, Louisiana), Shatoria
Wilson (an employee of Rue 21, Inc. in Bastrop, Louisiana),
Sentry Insurance, A Mutual Company (a general liability
insurer of Rue 21, Inc. and its employees), and Burlington
Sand Realty, L.L.C. (owner and operator of the premises
occupied by Rue 21, Inc. in Bastrop, Louisiana) (Doc. 1-5).
alleges that, on May 28, 2016, Hamby and/or Wilson placed a
metal sign holder on top of a clothing rack that had been
placed on a sidewalk for a sale (Doc. 1-5). The metal sign
holder was not secured to the rack and it fell, striking A.L.
on the head and injuring him (Doc. 1-5). Plaintiffs seek
monetary damages, costs, and judicial interest.
removed, premising federal jurisdiction on diversity of
citizenship (Doc. 1).
filed their petition for damages on May 9, 2017 (Doc. 1-5).
Defendant Rue 21 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 15,
2017 (Doc. 10-1). Defendants then removed this case on June
26, 2017, without any mention of the bankruptcy (Doc. 1).
Defendants alleged in their Notice of Removal that Cindy
Hamby and Shatoria Wilson were fraudulently joined as
defendants. Defendant Rue 21 filed a Suggestion of Bankruptcy
on July 10, 2017 (Doc. 10), invoking the automatic stay.
Plaintiffs' Motion to Lift the Stay for purposes of
deciding the motion to remand (Doc. 26) was granted (Doc.
Law and Analysis
Plaintiff's unopposed Motion to Remand should be
filed a motion to remand (Doc. 22), arguing Wilson and Hamby
are not improperly joined. Defendants' contend in their
response (Doc. 32) that, due to “recently discovered
evidence uncovered during depositions of witnesses, ”
they no longer have any opposition and do not oppose
Plaintiffs' motion to remand.
diversity statute - 28 U.S.C. § 1332 - is satisfied upon
a showing of: (1) diversity of citizenship between the
parties; and (2) an amount in controversy in excess of $75,
000, exclusive of interest and costs. “Complete
diversity requires that all persons on one side of the
controversy be citizens of different states than all persons
on the other side.” Harvey v. Grey Wolf Drilling
Co., 542 F.3d 1077, 1079 (5th Cir. 2008) (internal
citation and quotation omitted). Further, “when
jurisdiction depends on citizenship, citizenship must be
distinctly and affirmatively alleged.” Getty Oil
Corp., a Div. of Texaco, Inc. v. Ins. Co. of N. Am., 841
F.2d 1254, 1259 (5th Cir. 1988). The Court has “an
independent obligation to determine whether subject-matter
jurisdiction exists, even in the absence of a challenge from
any party.” Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S.
500, 514 (2006). This duty persists throughout all phases of
the litigation, even after trial and the entry of final
judgment. See id. at 506-07.
Kengarrica Williams is a citizen of Louisiana (Doc. 1-2).
Williams appears both individually and as tutrix of her minor
child, A.L. The citizenship of A.L. is not alleged.
Insurance A Mutual Company is a “foreign mutual
insurance company” organized under the laws of
Wisconsin, with its principal place of business in Wisconsin.
Since Defendants have not alleged what type of business
entity Sentry Insurance is, the ...