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Rass v. Aha Huts, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

June 5, 2019

KAMAL RASS, ET AL.
v.
AHA HUTS, LLC, ET AL.

          NOTICE

          RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Please take notice that the attached Magistrate Judge's Report has been filed with the Clerk of the United States District Court.

         In 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.

         ABSOLUTELY NO EXTENSION OF TIME SHALL BE GRANTED TO FILE WRITTEN OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT.

         MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

         Before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Supplement and Amend Petition (“Motion to Amend”). (R. Doc. 12). The motion is opposed. (R. Docs. 19, 22, 28).

         Also before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Remand. (R. Doc. 25). The motion is opposed. (R. Docs. 34, 39, 40).

         The Court considers the foregoing motions together because they concern the same related issue of whether remand of this action is warranted.

         I. Background

         On or about August 8, 2018, Kamal Rass, Karimah Ibrahim, and EZ Link Wireless Inc. (“EZ Link”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) initiated this action in the 19th Judicial District Court, East Baton Rouge, Parish, naming as defendants AHA Huts, LLC (“AHA”), United Specialty Insurance Company (“United”), Pizza Hut of America, Inc. (“PHA”), and the fictitious defendants John Doe and ABC Insurance Company (collectively, “Defendants”). (R. Doc. 1-2, “Petition”).

         Plaintiffs allege that a shared wall between EZ Link and a Pizza Hut location developed mold due to a leaky refrigerator on Pizza Hut's premises. (Petition ¶ 8-9). Among other things, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants are responsible for the resulting injuries and damages from the mold caused “by the negligent acts and omissions of Pizza Hut, individually and/or through their employees, agents, representatives, and/or subcontractors.” (Petition ¶ 12). Plaintiffs allege that “John Doe was the manager” of the Pizza Hut location and “as manager, failed to remedy the . . . hazards, had knowledge of the vice or defect, and failed to notify the appropriate parties of same.” (Petition ¶¶ 21-22). Plaintiffs further allege that AHA and PHA are “liable for the actions of John Doe under the theory of respondent superior.” (Petition ¶ 22).

         On September 12, 2018, United removed the action, asserting that this Court has diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (R. Doc. 1). United further asserts that there is complete diversity between the parties because Plaintiffs are citizens of Louisiana, United is a citizen of Texas and Delaware, AHA is a citizen of Pennsylvania and Georgia, and PHA is a citizen of Delaware and Texas. (R. Doc. 1 at 2). United further asserts that it is facially apparent that the amount in controversy requirement is satisfied. (R. Doc. 1 at 3).

         On October 4, 2018, Plaintiffs filed their Motion to Amend (R. Doc. 12). Plaintiffs state that the motion is made “to fix clerical errors in the original petition, to elaborate on damages sustained or to be sustained . . ., and to address jurisdiction, citizenship, and domicile issues.” (R. Doc. 12 at 1). Among other things, Plaintiffs seek leave to name Damanda Jackson and “Arianna (last name unknown)” as nondiverse defendants in place of the John Doe defendant pursuant to Rule 15(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In the proposed pleading, Plaintiffs assert that the proposed defendants are both citizens of Louisiana and “managers” of AHA and/or PHA during the applicable time periods. (R. Doc. 12-2 at 1). In support of the motion, Plaintiffs represented that AHA, PHA, and United do not oppose the filing of the proposed amended pleading. (R. Doc. 12 at 7).

         In fact, Defendants oppose the Motion to Amend. (R. Doc. 13). While the defendants do not object to the correction of clerical errors and the clarification of the scope of damages, they object to the addition of Damanda Jackson and “Arianna (last name unknown)” as ...


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