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Maynor v. Chennault International Airport Authority

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

June 12, 2019


          JAMES JUDGE



         Before the court is a Motion to Remand filed by plaintiffs Haley Maynor and Lee Maynor, II. Doc. 22. Defendants Chennault International Airport Authority (“Chennault”) and Randolph Robb oppose remand. Doc. 26. 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 GRANTED.



         This suit arises from injuries plaintiffs allege they sustained when Haley Maynor, an employee of Chennault, was allegedly sexually harassed, assaulted, and battered by her supervisor, Randolph Robb. Doc. 1, att. 1, pp. 1-4. On October 12, 2018, plaintiffs filed suit in the 14thJudicial District Court, Parish of Calcasieu, alleging violations of state and federal law. Id. Made defendants therein were Chennault and Randolph Robb. Id. at 1.

         On November 16, 2018, Chennault removed the suit asserting we had federal question jurisdiction based on plaintiffs' federal claims. Doc. 1. On April 5, 2019, plaintiffs were granted leave to amend their complaint. Doc. 17. In the Amended Petition for Damages plaintiffs now assert claims under only state law and “specifically waive any remedies and causes of action under any Federal law which are not otherwise recoverable pursuant to La. R.S. 23:303, et seq.” Doc. 18, p. 2. The federal claims were subsequently and voluntarily dismissed with prejudice. Docs. 21, 24.

         On April 18, 2019, plaintiffs filed the instant motion for remand. Doc. 22. They assert the case should be remanded because the remaining claims deal with a complex issue of state law. Id. at 2. They aver defendants will not be prejudiced by having to litigate the claims in Louisiana state court. Id. at att. 1, p. 5. Defendants oppose remand. Doc. 26. They argue the court should retain supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims because plaintiffs' state law claims are substantially similar to the claims plaintiffs initially asserted under federal law and they dispute plaintiffs' assertion that these claims raise any novel or complex issues of state law. Id. at 4.


         Law and 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) (internal quotation omitted). Generally, a defendant may remove a civil action to federal court if the federal court has original jurisdiction over the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). However, the federal district court must remand the action to state court if it finds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). The removing party 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).

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, federal courts have original jurisdiction over “all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” “The presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed by the ‘well-pleaded complaint rule,' which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint.” Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 107 S.Ct. 2425, 2429 (1987). This rule recognizes the axiom “that a plaintiff is master of his complaint and may generally allege only a state law cause of action even where a federal remedy is also available.” Bernhard v. Whitney Nat'l Bank, 523 F.3d 546, 551 (5th Cir. 2008).

         Federal question jurisdiction is most frequently invoked by plaintiffs asserting a cause of action created by federal law. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), “in any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts 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.” Plaintiffs asserted a federal claim on the face of their initial complaint by alleging defendants were liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, et seq. Doc. 1, att. 1, p. 3. All of their state law claims were “part of the same case or controversy.” See 28 U.S.C. ยง 1367(a). Accordingly, removal was proper because this court had subject matter ...

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