United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
CRAIG JALBERT, TRUSTEE, o/b/o GERMAN PELLETS LOUISIANA, L.L.C. AND LOUISIANA PELLETS, INC.
PETER LEIBOLD, et al.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
H.L. Perez-Montes, United States Magistrate Judge.
Trustee filed a Motion to Remand (Doc. 8), and Defendants
filed Motions to Dismiss. (Docs. 31, 33, 34, 35). Because
removal was defective, Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (Doc.
8) should be GRANTED, the case should be REMANDED, and
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss should be DENIED FOR LACK
OF JURISDICTION. (Docs. 31, 33, 34, 35).
Craig Jalbert, the Chapter 11 liquidating trustee (the
“Trustee”) for German Pellets Louisiana, L.L.C.
(“GPLA”) and Louisiana Pellets, Inc.
(“LP”), filed a petition for damages and
injunctive relief in the 28th Louisiana Judicial District
Court in LaSalle Parish. (Doc. 1-1). The named defendants are
Peter Leibold, Anna Kathrin Leibold, Michael Leibold, Meranda
Hyman, GP GmbH (parent company of SPLA and LAP), and VOV GmbH
(“VOV”). GPLA and LP defaulted on their
obligations to bond holders in 2016 and filed voluntary
petitions for Chapter 11 relief in the United States
Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Louisiana.
Jalbert was named their Trustee in a confirmed joint chapter
11 plan of liquidation. (Doc. 1-4, p. 23/28)). At the same
time, their parent company, GP GmbH filed for bankruptcy
protection in Germany (Doc. 1-1).
Leibolds and Hyman are four former officers and directors of
LP and GPLA (Hyman was the most senior accountant). (Doc.
1-1). VOV is an insurance association based in Cologne,
Germany. VOV represents the six underwriters that provided
“officer and director coverage” for policyholder
GP GmbH and its subsidiaries, LP and GPLA. (Doc. 1-2, pp.
Trustee filed a post-confirmation complaint in a Louisiana
state court, seeking monetary damages and alleging Defendants
breached their fiduciary duties by transferring millions of
dollars from LP and GPLA to GP GmbH for no consideration. The
Trustee contends Defendants placed the money from the LP and
GPLA accounts beyond the reach of creditors and bondholders
in the United States. The Trustee also seeks injunctive
relief to preclude VOV from paying its policy limits to GP
GmbH, to the detriment of LP's and GPLA's creditors.
answered the petition and made a reconventional demand
against the Trustee, the Leibolds, GP GmbH, and VOV. (Doc.
1-3). Hyman seeks monetary damages, contending she was never
an officer, director, or shareholder of GPLA, has no
liability as a corporate actor, and was fraudulently joined
as a defendant in this action. (Doc. 1-3).
removed alleging federal jurisdiction pursuant to: (1) 9
U.S.C. § 203 and § 205 because this matter relates
to an arbitration agreement falling under the Convention on
the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of
June 10, 1958, 21 U.S.T. § 2517, T.I.A.S. § 6997,
330 U.N.T.S. § 3 (9 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq.);
(2) 28 U.S.C. § 1334 because this case is “related
to” a case under title 11; and (3) 28 U.S.C. §
1332 because there is diversity in citizenship.
Hyman and GP GmbH did not consent to removal. GP GmbH has
the Trustee and Hyman admit they never served GP
GmbH. (Docs. 27, 28). Since GP GmbH was never
served, its consent to removal is not required. See
28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(2)(A).
Trustee filed a Motion to Remand (Docs. 8, 11), which the
Leibolds and VOV oppose. (Docs.13, 14). The Trustee filed a
reply brief. (Doc. 17).
Leibolds and VOV did not answer the complaint.
to an order of this Court. (Doc. 22), Defendants were ordered
to show the citizenship of each party with specificity for
purposes of diversity jurisdiction, and to respond to the
Complaint and Third-Party Demand. Defendants filed a response
to the Order to set forth the parties' citizenship (Doc.
30). Defendants ...