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Chaplin v. G&T Conveyor Co.

July 13, 2008

MARK T. CHAPLIN AND ANNE CHAPLIN, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
G&T CONVEYOR COMPANY, INC., SIEMENS DEMATIC A/K/A DEMATIC CORP. A/K/A SIEMENS CORPORATION, AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC., AND SIEMENS ENERGY & AUTOMATIONS, INC.,*FN1 DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs, Marc and Anne Chaplin, commenced this action on September 29, 2005, by filing a Summons and Verified Complaint in the New York State Supreme Court, County of Erie. On September 28, 2006, Siemens Energy and Automations, Inc. ("SE&A"), purporting to be the proper defendant, filed a Notice of Removal to this Court. Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Remand and for Costs, Expenses, and Attorney's Fees, on October 30, 2006. This Court will grant Plaintiffs' motion in part and deny it in part, and remand this case to state court for the reasons stated below.

II. BACKGROUND

The facts of this case, undisputed for purposes of the present motion, are as follows:

Plaintiffs filed a Summons and Verified Complaint on September 29, 2005, in New York State Supreme Court. (Docket No. 1-3). On or around May 9, 2006, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint naming Siemens Dematic a/k/a Dematic Corp. a/k/a Siemens Corporation, G & T Conveyors, and American Airlines Inc., as Defendants.

According to the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff Marc Chaplin was working for the Transportation Security Administration on May 11, 2003, at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport when his right hand and arm were pulled into, trapped, and pinned in the conveyor belt used by American Airlines. (Compl. at ¶ ¶ 12, 13). Mr. Chaplin and others repeatedly hit the emergency stop switch, but the belt did not stop operating. (Compl. at ¶ 13, 14). As a result of the failed conveyor belt and related control systems, Mr. Chaplin sustained serious bodily injuries that are permanent, progressive, and ongoing. (Compl. at ¶ 18).

Plaintiffs are residents of New York. (Compl. at ¶ ¶ 1, 2). American Airlines is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Texas; G & T Conveyor is a Florida corporation with its principal place of business in Florida; and Siemens Corporation is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in New York. (Compl. at ¶ ¶ 3-8). SE&A is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Georgia. (Burton Aff., ¶ 11).

The Amended Complaint asserts four causes of action against Defendants. First, Plaintiffs allege that G&T Conveyor and Siemens Corporation negligently designed, manufactured, sold, and installed the baggage conveyor belt and related equipment. (Compl. at ¶ ¶ 9, 10). Plaintiffs also allege that American Airlines failed to maintain care for, upkeep, inspect, service, and/or repair the baggage conveyor belts and related equipment. (Compl. at ¶ 16). Second, Plaintiffs allege that G & T Conveyor and Siemens Corporation breached express and implied warranties, which resulted in serious injury to Mr. Chaplin. (Compl. at ¶ 24). Third, Plaintiffs allege that G & T Conveyor and Siemens Corporation assumed strict liability for all reasonably foreseeable injuries by sale of the baggage conveyor belt, related systems, and emergency stop switch, which were dangerous instrumentalities. (Compl. at ¶ 29). Finally, Plaintiff Anne Chaplin seeks recovery for damages she suffered as a result of her husband's injuries. (Compl. at ¶ ¶ 38-39).

Plaintiffs filed the instant motion on October 30, 2006. In support of their motion, Plaintiffs filed the Affidavit of Thomas H. Burton, Esq., with exhibits, a reply memorandum of law, and the Reply Affidavit of Amy Habib Rittling, Esq. In opposition, SE&A filed a memorandum of law and the affidavit of Bruce Ainbinder, Esq., with exhibits. This case was transferred to this Court on October 17, 2007, due to the retirement of the Honorable John T. Elfvin, Senior District Judge.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standard

A civil action brought in state court may be removed by a defendant to a federal district court of original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. A notice of removal must contain a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal, along with a copy of all proceedings, pleadings, and orders served upon the defendant. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a). The notice must be filed within thirty days after the defendant receives a copy of the initial pleading, or within thirty days after the service of summons upon the defendant, whichever is shorter. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b).

District courts have original jurisdiction over claims involving the Constitution, treaties, or laws of the United States, and over claims between citizens of different states if the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). For purposes of diversity jurisdiction, "a corporation shall be deemed to be a citizen of any State by which it has been incorporated and of the State where it has its principal place of business." 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1) (emphasis added). Section 1332(c)(1) is intended to restrict the scope of federal ...


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