Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Elite Specialty Welding LLC v. Packaging Corporation of America, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division

April 15, 2019

ELITE SPECIALTY WELDING, LLC
v.
PACKAGING CORPORATION OF AMERICA, INC., ET AL.

          SUMMERHAYS MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          KATHLEEN`KAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the court is a Motion to Remand filed by plaintiff Elite Specialty Welding, LLC (“Elite.”) Doc. 6. Defendant Packaging Corporation of America, Inc. (“PCA”) opposes remand. Doc. 11. This motion has been referred to the undersigned for review, report, and recommendation in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636.

         For the reasons stated below, IT IS RECOMMENDED that the Motion to Remand be DENIED and that all claims against defendants Eric Snelgrove, Joseph Flores, [1] and David Martinez be DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

         I. Background

         On February 8, 2017, Elite's employees were performing their duties as part of a welding crew at a paper mill owned by PCA in DeRidder, Louisiana, when a foul condensate tank exploded at the facility. Doc. 1, att. 11, p. 4. One year later, Elite, a citizen of Louisiana, Texas, and Indiana, [2] filed suit in the 36th Judicial District Court, Beauregard Parish, Louisiana. Id. at 3-5. It named as defendants PCA, a citizen of Delaware and Illinois, [3] and three of its mill managers - Eric Snelgrove, Joseph Flores, and David Martinez (hereafter collectively referred to as “the mill managers”) - all of whom were citizens of Louisiana. Doc. 1, att. 11, p. 3.

         On September 26, 2018, PCA removed the action to this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Doc. 1. It asserts complete diversity exists and alleges that the citizenship of the mill managers should be ignored because Elite has failed to state a valid cause of action against them. Doc. 1, pp. 4-7. In its Notice of Removal PCA notes that it was served with the original petition on June 4, 2018. Doc. 1, p. 1. It further notes, however, that the citizenship of plaintiff LLC was not made clear by the original complaint and that thereafter counsel for plaintiff “provided ambiguous information” as to whether one of its members “was a corporation or a limited liability company.” Id. at 2. PCA states in its notice that the citizenship of plaintiff was ultimately clarified by correspondence dated September 17, 2018. Id.

         Elite filed the instant motion for remand on October 26, 2018. It asserts that it has stated a valid cause of action against the mill managers. Doc. 6, att. 1, pp. 4-7. Alternatively, Elite asserts PCA's removal was untimely because diversity was apparent on July 10, 2018. Id. at 8. PCA opposes remand. Doc. 11. It maintains that the mill managers are improperly joined [id. at 17], and that the removal was timely because it was filed within thirty days of PCA's receipt of an “other paper from which it may first be ascertained that the case is one which is or has become removable” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(3). See Id. at 24-27.

         II. Law & Analysis

         “‘Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction,' possessing ‘only that power authorized by Constitution and statute.'” Gunn v. Minton, 133 S.Ct. 1059, 1064 (2013) (citing Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 1675 (1994)). Generally, “any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). The removing defendant bears the burden of showing that removal was procedurally proper and that federal jurisdiction exists. See De Aguilar v. Boeing Co., 47 F.3d 1404, 1408 (5th Cir.1995).

         District courts have original jurisdiction over all civil actions between citizens of different states where the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). This diversity provision requires complete diversity among the parties. Caterpillar Inc. v. Lewis, 117 S.Ct. 467, 472 (1996). This means that there must be complete diversity between all named parties. Jernigan v. Ashland Oil Inc., 989 F.2d 812, 814 (5th Cir.1993).

         A. Improper Joinder of the Mill Managers

         PCA argues diversity jurisdiction exists because the mill managers were improperly joined in the suit. Doc. 1

         “The improper joinder doctrine constitutes a narrow exception to the rule of complete diversity.” McDonal v. Abbot Labs., 408 F.3d 177, 183 (5th Cir.2003). If removal is based on a claim that a non-diverse party has been improperly joined, then the removing party must establish either “actual fraud in the pleading of jurisdictional facts” or the “inability of the plaintiff to establish a cause of action against the non-diverse party in state court.” Smallwood v. Ill. Cent. R.R. Co., 385 F.3d 568, 573 (5th Cir.2004) (citing Travis v. Irby, 326 F.3d 644, 648 (5th Cir.2003)). Only the latter method is relevant here, as no fraud is alleged. Thus, the relevant question is “whether the defendant has demonstrated that there is no possibility of recovery by the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.