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Holleman v. Golden Nugget Lake Charles, LLC

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

November 6, 2019

MARTHA HOLLEMAN AND MIKE HOLLEMAN
v.
GOLDEN NUGGET LAKE CHARLES, LLC, ET AL.

          KATHLEEN KAY MAG. JUDGE

          RULING

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is a Motion to Remand [Doc. No. 7] filed by Plaintiffs Martha Holleman and Mike Holleman (the “Hollemans”). On October 8, 201');">19, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation that recommended the denial of the Motion to Remand [Doc. No. 1');">13]. On October 22, 201');">19, the Hollemans filed an Objection to the Report and Recommendation [Doc. No. 1');">16]. For the following reasons, the Court DECLINES TO ADOPT the Report and Recommendation, and GRANTS the Motion to Remand [Doc. No. 7].

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This suit arises out of injuries Martha Holleman allegedly sustained on July 5, 201');">16, when she fell on some stairs near the pool area of the Golden Nugget Lake Charles Casino. [Doc. No. 1');">1-1');">1, p. 4');">p. 4]. On May 25, 201');">16, the Hollemans, who are citizens of Louisiana, filed suit in the 1');">14th Judicial District Court, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, alleging the damages and injuries they suffered were caused by the negligent acts of Golden Nugget Lake Charles, LLC (“Golden Nugget”), also a citizen of Louisiana.

         On April 26, 201');">18, the Hollemans amended their suit to add as a Defendant Bergman, Walls & Associates, Ltd.-Architects (“BWA”), the contractor Golden Nugget allegedly hired to ensure the stairs near the pool area were designed and constructed safely, and Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Company (“Westchester”), Golden Nugget's insurer. BWA is a citizen of Nevada. The Hollemans alleged that Golden Nugget and BWA are solidarily liable for all damages sustained by them. [Doc. No. 1');">1-1');">1, p. 52].

         The matter was set for trial in state court for May 20, 201');">19. On March 25, 201');">19, the Hollemans executed settlement documents resolving their claims against Golden Nugget and Westchester but reserving their right to proceed against BWA. Thus, as of March 25, 201');">19, complete diversity of citizenship existed for the first time between the Hollemans and the only remaining Defendant, BWA.

         On April 1');">10, 201');">19, the state court judge signed the order of dismissal dismissing Golden Nugget and Westchester from the case.

         On April 1');">15, 201');">19, BWA filed a notice of removal, removing the action to federal court almost three years after it was commenced and one month before the scheduled trial date.

         On May 1');">14, 201');">19, the Hollemans filed the Motion to Remand [Doc. No. 7], arguing that BWA's notice of removal is untimely, having been filed more than one year after the commencement of the state court action on May 25, 201');">16.

         On October 8, 201');">19, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation that the motion to remand be denied [Doc. No. 1');">13]. On October 22, 201');">19, the Hollemans filed their Objection [Doc. No. 1');">16]. On November 5, 201');">19, BWA filed a reply [Doc. No. 1');">17].

         II. LAW AND ANALYSIS

         A. Law on Removal

         The procedure for removal is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1');">1446. Generally, a defendant must file a notice of removal within thirty (30) days of its receipt of an “initial pleading setting forth the claim for relief. . ..” 28 U.S.C. § 1');">1446(b)(1');">1). When “the case stated by the initial pleading” does not provide grounds for removal, defendants may remove the action “within 30 days after receipt . . . of an amended pleading, motion, or other paper from which it may first be ascertained that the case is one which is or has become removable.” 28 U.S.C. § 1');">1446(b)(3). The relevant federal statute also instructs that, in cases that are not initially removable, a diversity action may not be removed pursuant to § 1');">1446(b)(3) “more than 1');">1 year after commencement of the action, unless the district court finds that plaintiff has acted in bad faith to ...


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