United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
SARAH K. NAMER
SPECIAL LOGISTICS SOUTHEAST, LLC ET AL.
ORDER & REASONS
M. AFRICK UNITED S'TATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is plaintiff Sarah K. Namer's
(“Namer”) motion to remand the above-captioned
matter to Louisiana state court. For the following reasons,
the motion is denied.
case arises out of a motor vehicle accident that occurred on
March 3, 2016. Namer filed this lawsuit on March 2, 2017
in the 24th Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Jefferson in Louisiana, alleging that she and her minor son
were injured during the accident and that the accident was
solely caused by the other driver's
negligence. The other vehicle was being driven by
Randolph Williams (“Williams”), who Namer alleges
was acting in the course and scope of his employment with
defendant Special Logistics Southeast, LLC (“Special
Logistics”) at the time of the accident. The other
defendants are Cottingham & Butler Claims Service, Inc.
(“Cottingham”) and Old Republic Insurance Company
requested service of the petition for damages on all of the
named of defendants on May 31, 2017. Both Cottingham and Old
Republic were served through the Louisiana Secretary of State
on June 12, 2017. Special Logistics was eventually served
with the petition for damages on December 21,
January 18, 2019, defendant J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc.
(“J.B. Hunt”)-as the surviving entity following a
series of mergers involving Special Logistics- removed the
case to federal court. Namer now moves to remand the case
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1447(c).
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), a defendant may remove to federal
court any action over which the federal courts have original
jurisdiction. Pursuant to § 1332, a district court has
original jurisdiction over cases in which the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and
costs, and the parties are citizens of different states. When
a court's jurisdiction is challenged in a motion to
remand, “[t]he removing party bears the burden of
establishing that federal jurisdiction exists” and that
removal was proper. See De Aguilar v. Boeing Co., 47
F.3d 1404, 1408 (5th Cir. 1995). “Any ambiguities are
construed against removal because the removal statute should
be strictly construed in favor of remand.” Manguno
v. Prudential Prop. & Cas. Co., 276 F.3d 720, 723
(5th Cir. 2002).
concedes that complete diversity exists among the parties and
that the amount in controversy meets the jurisdictional
requirement. Nonetheless, she argues that the case
should be remanded because J.B. Hunt's removal was
untimely. She contends that because the lawsuit
was filed on March 2, 2017 and not removed until January 18,
2019-over one year later-removal is improper under §
1446. Section 1446(c)(1) provides:
A case may not be removed under subsection (b)(3) on the
basis of jurisdiction conferred by section 1332 more than 1
year after commencement of the action, unless the district
court finds that the plaintiff has acted in bad faith in
order to prevent a defendant from removing the action.
argues that she has not acted in bad faith to prevent removal
as evidenced by her multiple attempts to perfect
service. However, bad faith is irrelevant here:
the foregoing limitation only applies to cases removed
“under subsection (b)(3).” Id.
Subsection (b)(3) states:
Except as provided in subsection (c), if the case stated by
the initial pleading is not removable, a notice of removal
may be filed within 30 days after receipt by the defendant,
through service or otherwise, of a copy of an amended
pleading, motion, order or other paper from which it may
first be ascertained that the case is one which is or has
one-year limitation set forth in subsection (c)(1) is,
therefore, inapplicable to cases that were removable based on
the initial pleadings. See Johnson v. HeubleinInc., 227 F.3d 236, 241 (5th Cir. 2000) (holding
that “the one-year limitation on removals applies only
to . . . cases that are not initially removable”)
(citing New YorkLife Ins. Co. v. Deshotel,
142 F.3d 873, 886 (5th Cir. 1998)); Howell v.
Dolgencorp,LLC, No. 18-1083, 2018 WL 6933468,
at *2 (W.D. La. Dec. 17, 2018) (applying Johnson and
Deshotel to the current version of the removal
statute and noting that the “‘one-year rule'
only applies to cases that were not originally
removable”); STFNo. 1001, L.P. v.