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Diane Flood v. Csx Transportation

February 11, 2012

DIANE FLOOD, AS GUARDIAN OF THE PERSON AND PROPERTY OF ANNE MARIE FLOOD, AN INCAPACITATED PERSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC., DEFENDANT.



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

DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Diane Flood, as guardian of the person and property of Anne Marie Flood, commenced this action on January 30, 2008 by filing a summons and complaint in the New York State Supreme Court, County of Erie. On February 25, 2011 Defendant CSX Transportation ("CSX") filed a Notice of Removal to this Court. Presently before this Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Remand. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's motion is granted.*fn1

II. BACKGROUND

On January 30, 2008 Plaintiff filed her complaint in the New York State Supreme Court, County of Erie against CSX and then-defendant the Town of Hamburg, New York ("Hamburg"). (Notice of Removal, ¶ 4, Docket No. 1.) The complaint asserted various claims for negligence as well as violations of Sections 21, 53-a and 53-b of the New York State Railroad Law arising out of the collision between a train operated by CSX and Anne Marie Flood's vehicle on November 24, 2007, resulting in Flood suffering traumatic brain injuries. (Id. ¶ 12.)

On January 11, 2010, the Honorable Timothy J. Drury, New York Supreme Court Justice, granted Hamburg's motion for summary judgment. (Id. ¶ 15.) Justice Drury's order was filed on January 20, 2010 and notice of entry was served on January 22, 2010. (Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff appealed that decision to the Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department, but that court affirmed the lower court's decision on December 30, 2010. (Id. ¶ 17.) Hamburg served Notice of Entry of the order on Plaintiff on January 5, 2011. (Id.)

Thereafter, CSX filed its notice of removal on February 25, 2011. (Docket No. 1.) Plaintiff responded with the present motion to remand, filed on March 25, 2011. (Docket No. 5.) The parties' briefs were deemed submitted on April 22, 2011, at which time this Court took Plaintiff's motion under advisement without oral argument.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Defendant's Removal and Plaintiff's Motion to Remand

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. District courts have original jurisdiction over all civil actions arising under the Constitution, treaties, or laws of the United States, and over all civil actions between citizens of different states, if the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332(a)(1).

Out of respect for states' rights and in keeping with the limited jurisdiction of federal courts, removal jurisdiction is "strictly construed," with all doubts resolved against removal. Syngenta Corp Prot., Inc. v. Henson, 537 U.S. 28, 32, 123 S. Ct. 366, 154 L. Ed. 2d 368 (2002); In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether ("MTBE") Prods. Liab. Litig., 488 F.3d 112, 124 (2d Cir. 2007). And the removing party bears the burden of establishing proper jurisdiction. United Food & Commercial Workers Union v. Centermark Props. Meriden Square, Inc., 30 F.3d 298, 301 (2d Cir. 1994); Funeral Fin. Sys., Ltd. v. Solex Express, Inc., No. 01-CV6079(JG), 2002 WL 598530, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 11, 2002) (noting that in the face of a motion to remand, the burden falls on the defendant to prove the existence of jurisdiction and that the case is properly in federal court).

Defendant removed this action on the basis of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). Defendant contends that the state court's dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against Hamburg leave only diverse parties, namely CSX, a Virginia corporation with its principle place of business in Jacksonville, Florida, and Plaintiff, a New York resident and citizen. (Notice of Removal ¶¶ 5, 10.)

Plaintiff challenges Defendant's removal for failure to comply with the 30-day notice and 1-year commencement deadlines under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1446(b), as well as because Defendant waived its right to remove this ...


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