United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
KATHLEEN BRANDNER, ET AL.
ALLSTATE PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, ET AL.
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR., UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
take notice that the attached Magistrate Judge's Report
has been filed with the Clerk of the United States District
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), you have fourteen
(14) days after being served with the attached Report to file
written objections to the proposed findings of fact,
conclusions of law and recommendations therein. Failure to
file written objections to the proposed findings,
conclusions, and recommendations within 14 days after being
served will bar you, except upon grounds of plain error, from
attacking on appeal the unobjected-to proposed factual
findings and legal conclusions of the Magistrate Judge which
have been accepted by the District Court.
NO EXTENSION OF TIME SHALL BE GRANTED TO FILE WRITTEN
OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT.
JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand (R. Doc. 4)
filed on July 16, 2018. The motion is opposed by State Farm
Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. (R. Doc. 8). Plaintiffs
have filed a Reply. (R. Doc. 13).
about January 19, 2017, Plaintiffs initiated this litigation
in the 19th Judicial District Court, Parish of East Baton
Rouge, State of Louisiana. (R. Doc. 1-4). Plaintiffs allege
that a vehicle operated by Defendant Morgan Lanoux struck
their vehicle from behind on or about April 6, 2016. (R. Doc.
1-4 at 5). As a result of the collision, Plaintiffs allege
they suffered injuries and damages, including physical and
mental injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental
anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, lost wages
and/or earning capacity, and property damage. Plaintiffs sued
the alleged driver of the vehicle, as well as the alleged
primary insurer, uninsured motorist insurer, and umbrella
insurance carrier. (R. Doc. 1-4 at 6).
removed the suit to federal court on May 31, 2018, alleging
the existence of diversity jurisdiction. (R. Doc. 1 at 1).
Defendants acknowledge that Defendant Lanoux is a citizen of
Louisiana, but argue that, during a May 4, 2018 deposition,
Plaintiff Kathleen Brandner “clearly and definitely
indicated her intention to abandon and discontinue any claim
against Morgan Lanoux, the only non-diverse defendant
present.” (R. Doc. 1 at 3). Plaintiffs filed their
Motion to Remand (R. Doc. 4) on July 16, 2018, arguing a lack
of complete diversity, or alternatively, insufficient
Law and Analysis
defendant may remove “any civil action brought in a
State court of which the district courts of the United States
have original jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
When original jurisdiction is based on diversity of
citizenship, the cause of action must be between
“citizens of different States” and the amount in
controversy must exceed the “sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs.” 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a)-(a)(1). Subject matter jurisdiction must exist at the
time of removal to federal court, based on the facts and
allegations contained in the complaint. St. Paul
Reinsurance Co., Ltd. v. Greenberg, 134 F.3d 1250, 1253
(5th Cir. 1998) (“jurisdictional facts must be judged
as of the time the complaint is filed”). Remand is
proper if at any time the court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction [and] possess only
that power authorized by Constitution and statute, which is
not to be expanded by judicial decree.” Kokkonen v.
Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)
(citations omitted). The removal statute, 28 U.S.C. §
1441, is strictly construed and any doubt as to the propriety
of removal should be resolved in favor of remand. Gasch
v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co., 491 F.3d 278, 281-82
(5th Cir. 2007); see also Manguno v. Prudential Prop.
& Cas. Ins. Co., 276 F.3d 720, 723 (5th Cir. 2002)
(“Any ambiguities are construed against removal because
the removal statute should be strictly construed in favor of
remand.”); Howery v. Allstate Ins. Co., 243
F.3d 912, 916 (5th Cir. 2001) (“We must presume that a
suit lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden
of establishing federal jurisdiction rests on the party
seeking the federal forum.”).