United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
KATHLEEN KAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the court is a Motion to for Leave to File a First
Supplemental and Amending Complaint filed by plaintiffs John
and Katie Palir. Doc. 16. The motion is opposed by defendant
Laboratory Corp of America (“LabCorp”). Docs. 24,
31. The motion has been referred to the undersigned in
accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636.
reasons that follow the motion is DENIED.
filed suit in state court alleging that on or about October
12, 2017 John Palir was injured when a phlebotomist employed
by LabCorp “negligently stabbed a needle into [his]
right arm causing immediate severe pain, numbness, and
burning in his right arm and hand.” Doc. 1, att. 1,
¶ 6. He named LabCorp and an “Unknown Defendant
Employee” as defendants. Id. at ¶ 1. He
alleged that the unknown employee was negligent and that
LabCorp was liable “under the doctrine of respondeat
superior for the negligent actions of its employee who was
acting within the course and scope of his/her employment at
the time of the incident.” Id. at ¶ 11.
26, 2019, in response to plaintiffs' discovery, LabCorp
identified the unknown employee as Sharonda Lewis. Doc. 16,
att. 3, pp. 3, 4. On September 3, 2019 plaintiff filed the
motion before the court in order to name the previously
unnamed employee. Doc. 16, att. 2. The parties do not dispute
that Ms. Lewis is a Louisiana citizen. Since plaintiffs are
also Louisiana citizens, allowing the amended complaint to
add Ms. Lewis as a defendant would destroy diversity. We must
therefore determine if such amendment should be allowed.
28 U.S.C. § 1447(e) if after a case is removed to
federal court the plaintiff seeks to join an additional
defendant whose joinder would destroy subject matter
jurisdiction, the court may “deny joinder, or permit
joinder and remand the action to the State court.”
According to the jurisprudence in the Fifth Circuit, a motion
to amend a pleading to add a non-diverse defendant is more
closely scrutinized than an ordinary amendment under Rule
15(a) where leave to amend is given freely when justice so
requires. Hensgens v. Deere & Co., 833 F.2d
1179, 1182 (5th Cir. 1987).
faced with a motion to amend to add a non-diverse party, the
court must balance “the defendant's interest in
maintaining the federal forum with the competing interests of
not having parallel lawsuits.” Id. The motion
should be examined using the following factors: (1) whether
the purpose of the amendment is to defeat federal
jurisdiction; (2) whether plaintiff has been dilatory in
asking for the amendment; (3) whether plaintiff will be
significantly injured if the amendment is not allowed; and
(4) any other factor bearing on the equities. Id.
If, after consideration of these factors, the court allows
the amendment it must remand the matter to state court. If
the amendment is denied, the federal court retains
examine each of the four factors albeit in a different order.
we find that plaintiffs were not dilatory in asking for the
amendment. Plaintiffs discovered the identity of
LabCorp's employee on July 26, 2019, and filed their
motion to amend less than six weeks later on ...