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Dominguez v. Rogers

United States District Court, S.D. New York

August 4, 2017

TANYA DOMINGUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CATLIN IVAN ROGERS and BULK CARRIERS P.E.I. LTD., Defendants.

          Joshua Gropper Gropper Law Group PLLC New York, New York Counsel for Plaintiff

          Beverly Barr Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote New York, New York Counsel for Defendants

          MEMORANDUM & OPINION

          VERNON S. BRODERICK, United States District Judge

         Before me are Plaintiff's motion to remand this action to the New York State Supreme Court, Bronx County (“Supreme Court”), (Doc. 7), and Defendants' cross-motion for leave to file an amended petition for removal, (Doc. 19). Because the defects in Defendants' petition for removal are merely technical and may therefore be corrected more than thirty days after the filing of the complaint, Plaintiff's motion to remand is DENIED, and Defendants' motion to file an amended petition for removal is GRANTED.

         I. Background and Procedural History

         Plaintiff commenced this action on June 13, 2016, by filing a complaint in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Bronx County. (See Doc. 1 at 5-13.)[1] The case stems from an August 2015 motor vehicle accident that occurred on the Cross-Bronx Expressway in the Bronx, New York. (Compl. ¶¶ 26-28.) Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that she suffered severe and permanent physical injuries when the motor vehicle driven by Defendant Catlin Ivan Rogers (“Rogers”), and owned by Defendant Bulk Carriers (P.E.I.) Ltd. (“Bulk Carriers”, and together with Rogers, “Defendants”), “came into contact with the motor-vehicle” Plaintiff was driving. (Id.) Plaintiff asserts two causes of action: (1) negligence; and (2) negligent hiring, training, screening, and/or supervision. (See Compl.)

         On September 1, 2016, Defendants filed a petition for removal in this District. (See Doc. 1.) In the Removal Petition, Defendants assert that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) because there is complete diversity of citizenship between Plaintiff and Defendants, (Removal Petition ¶ 6), and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, (id. ¶ 9). Defendants state that they were served in accordance with the Hague Convention, [2] and received a copy of the summons and complaint on August 3, 2016. (Id. ¶¶ 3, 12.) In addition, Defendants allege that: (1) Plaintiff is a “resident” of Fort Lee, New Jersey, (id. ¶ 4 (citing Compl. ¶ 1));[3] (2) Bulk Carriers operates its principal place of business in the Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada, (id. ¶ 2); and (3) Rogers is a “resident” of Borden-Carlton in the Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada, (id. ¶ 5).

         Upon removal from the Supreme Court, the case was initially assigned to Judge Nelson S. Román. (See ECF Dkt. Entry Sept. 1, 2016.) On September 26, 2016, Plaintiff submitted a pre-motion letter seeking leave to file her anticipated motion to remand. (Doc. 5.) On October 20, 2016, the case was reassigned to me, (see ECF Dkt. Entry Oct. 20, 2016), and the next day I issued a memo endorsement granting Plaintiff leave to file her anticipated motion to remand as soon as practicable, (Doc. 6).

         On October 26, 2016, Plaintiff filed her two page Motion to Remand to State Court and Opposition to Defendants' Petition for Removal. (Doc. 7.) On November 18, 2016, Defendants filed their Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Remand and in Support of Defendants' Cross-Motion for Leave to Amend Petition for Removal. (Doc. 15.) After several attempts to correct various filing errors, on January 24, 2017, Defendants filed their Notice of Cross-Motion for Leave to Amend Petition for Removal, (Doc. 19), and the Certification of Beverly Barr in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Remand and in Support of Defendants' Cross-Motion for Leave to Amend Petition for Removal, (the “Barr Declaration”, Doc. 20). Defendants attached their proposed amended petition for removal (“Amended Removal Petition”) as Exhibit F to the Barr Declaration. (Doc. 20 at 43-45.) Plaintiff did not file a reply memorandum of law in support of her motion to remand or a memorandum of law in opposition to Defendants' cross motion for leave to amend the petition for removal.

         In the Amended Removal Petition, Defendants allege that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) because there is complete diversity of citizenship between Plaintiff and Defendants, (Amended Removal Petition ¶¶ 13, 14), and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, (id. ¶ 10). With respect to Defendants' citizenship, the Amended Removal Petition states that: (1) Bulk Carriers is a Canadian company with its principal place of business in the Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada, (id ¶ 5); and (2) Rogers is a Canadian citizen residing in Borden-Carlton in the Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada, (id. ¶ 6). With respect to Plaintiffs citizenship, the Amended Removal Petition states that Plaintiff: (1) resides in Fort Lee, New Jersey, (id. ¶ 7); (2) does not disclose whether or not she is a citizen of the State of New Jersey or the United States, (id. ¶ 8); and (3) does not have any nexus with Canada other than the motor vehicle accident with the Canadian Defendants, (id. ¶ 12).

         IL Legal Standard

         The federal removal statute provides, in part, that:

A defendant or defendants desiring to remove any civil action from a State court shall file in the district court of the United States for the district and division within which such action is pending a notice of removal signed pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and containing a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal, together with a copy of all process, pleadings, and orders served upon such defendant or defendants in such action.

28 U.S.C. ยง 1446(a). In addition, the statute provides that the notice of removal shall be filed within thirty days after the defendant's receipt of the ...


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