United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON JUDGE
the Court is the United States Magistrate Judge's
Report and Recommendation (Doc. 99) pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The Report and Recommendation
addresses the Motion to Remand (Doc. 77)
filed by Plaintiff Shelby Lowery, III ("Plaintiff').
The Magistrate Judge recommended that the Motion to Remand be
denied because diversity of citizenship existed at the time
this lawsuit was filed in state court and at the time it was
removed to federal court, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
1332. (Doc. 99 pp. 10-11).
Report and Recommendation notified the parties that, pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), they had fourteen days from
the date they received the Report and Recommendation to file
written objections to the proposed findings of fact,
conclusions of law, and recommendations therein. (Doc. 99 at
reasons stated herein, the Magistrate Judge's
Report and Recommendation (Doc. 99) is
ADOPTED as the Court's opinion herein.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs Motion to Remand (Doc.
77) is DENIED.
filed objections to the Magistrate Judge's
Recommendation, claiming that the Magistrate Judge improperly
concluded that diversity jurisdiction exists in this case,
given that Defendant Shawn Williams was a Louisiana resident
at all relevant times. (Doc. 101). As brief
background, this case arises out of a motor vehicle collision
that occurred in December of 2016. Plaintiff initiated this
action in the 19thJudicial District Court on March
23, 2017. (Doc. 1-1 at p. 1-5). Defendants removed the action
on April 21, 2017 asserting that the Court had diversity
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Doc. 1). It
is undisputed that up until February 2017, Williams lived in
Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Doc. 99 at p. 3). Defendants claim
that in February 2017, Williams moved to Atlanta, Georgia to
live permanently. (Doc. 15 at p. 1). On March 13, 2017
Williams began working as a boat captain, which required him
to spend thirty days at a time at sea with two-week intervals
on land. (Id.) Defendants claim that Williams spent
these intervals either visiting family in Georgia and Texas
or his fiance, Ashley Gibson, in Louisiana. (Doc. 15 at p.
contends that the evidence produced at the hearing on the
Motion to Remand indicates that Williams' intention at
the time of suit and removal was to live with Gibson, his now
wife, in Louisiana. (Doc. 101 at p. 2). First, Plaintiff
highlights evidence that supports that Williams lived in
Louisiana at the time of the accident, prior to filing suit,
and after Defendants filed their notice of removal. (Doc. 101
at p. 2-3). However, as the Magistrate Judge indicated,
diversity of citizenship is only required at the time of
filing of suit in state court and at the time of removal to
federal court. Coury v. Prot, 85 F.3d 244, 249-49
(5th Cir. 1996). Moreover, "if diversity is established
at the commencement and removal of the suit, it will not be
destroyed by subsequent changes in the citizenship of the
extant parties." Id. As such, this evidence has
no bearing on the question of diversity jurisdiction.
also points to several other pieces of evidence: First, nine
days before Defendants removed this action, Williams
submitted a change of address, requesting that his address be
changed to Gibson's home in Louisiana. (Doc. 101 at p.
2). However, as the Magistrate Judge pointed out, this was
only to ensure that his mail would be checked while he was at
sea. (Doc. 99 at p. 11). Second, Williams was unable to name
the owner or any current resident of the house he was to
return to in Georgia. (Doc. 101 at p. 3). Third, although
Williams testified that he intended to move to Mississppi or
remain in Georgia to attend police training, such intent
never turned into actual employment. (Doc. 101 at p. 4).
Finally, Williams married Gibson, a Louisiana resident, the
day after the hearing on the Motion to Remand and currently
lives with her. (Id.).
taking these facts as true, the Court concludes that they are
insufficient to overcome the multitude of other evidence
which supports that Williams moved from Louisiana before suit
was filed in state court and did not intend to return to
Louisiana until after this action was removed. As the
Magistrate Judge recounted this evidence in great detail in
the recommendation, it is unnecessary for the Court to
reiterate it here. (Doc. 99 at pp. 4-5).
carefully considered the underlying Complaint, the instant
motions, and related filings, the Court approves the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, and hereby
adopts the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and
IT IS ORDERED that the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation, (Doc. 99), is
ADOPTED as the Court's opinion herein.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion to