United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
JENNIFER E. KNIGHT, ET. AL.
HUNTINGTON INGALLS INCORPORATED, ET. AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court are plaintiffs Jennifer Knight and Wayne
Knight's Motion to Sever Claims and Remand (Rec. Doc. 33)
and defendants Huntington Ingalls Incorporated, Albert L.
Bossier, Jr., and Lamorak Insurance Company's
(“Avondale Interests” or
“Defendants”) Memorandum in Opposition (Rec. Doc.
65). Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the
motion to sever and remand is DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE to allow further discovery and
consideration of possible summary judgment motions.
before the Court are petitioners-in-intervention Michael
Knight and Debra Knight Houston's
(“Intervenors”) Motion to Remand or, in the
Alternative, for Abstention (Rec. Doc. 36) and defendants
Huntington Ingalls Incorporated, Albert L. Bossier, Jr., and
Lamorak Insurance Company's (“Avondale
Interests” or “Defendants”) Memorandum in
Opposition (Rec. Doc. 59). Accordingly, IT IS
ORDERED that the motion to remand or for abstention
is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to allow
further discovery and consideration of posssible summary
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
are relatives of decedent, of Wayne A. Knight. See
Rec. Doc. 33-1 at 2. Specifically, Jennifer Knight is the
surviving spouse of Wayne A. Knight. See id. Wayne
Knight is a surviving child of Wayne A. Knight. See
id. Petitioners-in-Intervention, Michael Knight and
Debra Knight Houston are also surviving children of Wayne A.
Knight. See id. Plaintiffs filed suit against
defendants and others on March 30, 2017 in state court.
See Rec. Doc. 65 at 9; see also Rec. Doc.
33-1 at 2. Plaintiffs allege that Wayne A. Knight was
diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of exposure to
asbestos during his employment at Avondale Shipyard from 1967
to 1982. See Rec. Doc. 65 at 9.
Petitioners-in-Intervention filed a petition on August 30,
2018. See Rec. Doc. 33-1 at 2. Defendants filed a
notice of removal on October 10, 2018. See id.
November 9, 2018, plaintiffs filed a motion to sever claims
and remand. See Rec. Doc. 33. On December 14, 2018,
defendants filed a memorandum in opposition. See
Rec. Doc. 65.
November 9, 2018, intervenors filed a motion to remand or, in
the alternative, abstain. See Rec. Doc. 36. On
December 7, 2018, defendants filed a memorandum in
opposition. See Rec. Doc. 59.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. See Orlean
Shoring, LLC v. Patterson, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36105
*1, *6 (E.D. La. 2011). A federal district court also has
jurisdiction over a removed action if it is a civil action
that is commenced in a State court and against the United
States or any agency thereof in an official or individual
capacity, for or relating to any act under color of such
office. See 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1). The
removing party has the burden to establish the existence of
jurisdiction. See Winters v. Diamond Shamrock Chem.
Co., 149 F.3d 387, 397 (5th Cir. 1998). “To
determine whether jurisdiction is present for removal,
[courts] consider the claims in the state court petition as
they existed at the time of removal.” 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.” Id.
civil action of which a district court has original
jurisdiction, it shall have supplemental jurisdiction over
all other claims that are so related to claims in the action
within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the
same case or controversy. See 28 U.S.C. §
1367(a). “Such supplemental jurisdiction shall include
claims that involve the joinder or intervention of additional
addition to having discretion to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction, a district court also has discretion to stay
federal actions where there is a parallel suit pending in
state court and exceptional circumstances exist. See
Colorado River Water Conservation Dist. v. United Sates,
96 S.Ct 1236 (1976). To establish whether exceptional
circumstances exist, a court must analyze six factors:(1)
assumption by either court of jurisdiction over a
re; (2) relative inconvenience of the forums; (3)
avoidance of piecemeal litigation; (4) the order in which
jurisdiction was obtained by the concurrent forums; (5) to
what extent federal law provides the rules of decision on the
merits; and (6) the adequacy of the state proceedings in
protecting the rights of the party invoking federal
jurisdiction. See Stewart v. Heritage Ins. Co., 438
F.3d 488, 491 (5th Cir. 2006).
to 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1), the Federal Officer Removal
Statute, removal is proper if a defendant can establish four
elements. See Legendre v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc.,
885 F.3d 398, 400 (5th Cir. 2018)(stating that federal
officer removal is unlike other removal doctrines because it
is not narrow or limited). Specifically, a removing defendant
must show: (1) that it is a person within the meaning of the
statute; (2) that it has a colorable federal defense; (3)
that it acted pursuant to a federal officer's directions;
and (4) that a causal nexus exists between its actions under
color of federal office and the plaintiff's claims.
See id. There is no dispute as to the first element
as both parties agree Avondale is a person within the meaning
of the statute. See Rec. Doc. 33-1 at 5; Rec. Doc.
65 at 20.
argues this case was properly removed under the Federal
Officer Removal Statute. See Rec. Doc. 65 at 18.
Arguably, Avondale meets each of the four requisite elements.
Specifcally, plaintiff concedes that the first element is
met; Avondale believes it has colorable federal defenses
under Boyle v. United Technologies Corp., 487 U.S.
500 (1988) and the Longshore and Harbor Workers'
Compensation Act; that it acted under the color of federal
office when building federal vessels; and intervenors'
strict liability claim satisfies the causal nexus
requirement. See id. at 20-40.
regard to severance, defendants argue there is no legal basis
to do so. See id. at 14. Defendants contend that the
Court should exercise supplemental jurisdiction over all
claims asserted by plaintiffs and Intervenors. See
id. at 40. It ...