Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Williams v. Camden II Operations, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division

August 21, 2018

JACQUELINE WILLIAMS, as Special Administrator of the Estate of Autry Lee Sams, deceased, and on behalf of the Wrongful death beneficiaries of Autry Lee Sams PLAINTIFF
v.
CAMDEN II OPERATIONS, LLC d/b/a/ PINE HILLS HEALTH AND REHABILITATION CENTER; et al. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          SUSAN O. HICKEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Jacqueline Williams' Motion to Remand. (ECF No. 14). Defendants filed a response. (ECF No. 17). Plaintiff filed a reply. (ECF No. 24). Defendants filed a sur-reply. (ECF No. 28). The Court finds the matter ripe for consideration.

         I. BACKGROUND

         From April 5, 2015, until February 1, 2017, Autry Lee Sams was a resident of Pine Hills Health and Rehabilitation Center (“Pine Hills”) in Camden, Arkansas. Mr. Sams died on February 8, 2017. On April 25, 2018, Plaintiff filed this action in the Circuit Court of Ouachita County, Arkansas, against Defendants, who are various corporate entities and individuals allegedly involved in some fashion with Pine Hills. Plaintiff asserts claims of negligence and medical malpractice on behalf of Mr. Sams' estate and wrongful death beneficiaries.

         Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Sams was incapable of independently providing for his daily care and personal needs, and thus, he relied on Pine Hills for the same. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' failure to adequately staff Pine Hills led to Mr. Sams suffering various injuries, including: multiple falls with injuries; urinary tract infections and sepsis; acute kidney injury; pressure sores; skin tears and abrasions; dehydration; malnutrition; delay in treatment; poor hygiene; unnecessary pain and suffering; and untimely death.

         On May 24, 2018, Defendants removed the case to this Court. In doing so, Defendants asserted that the Court has original jurisdiction over this matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) because there is complete diversity between parties and the matter in controversy exceeds $75, 000. Defendants asserted that Plaintiff is a citizen of Arkansas and that Separate Defendants Camden II Operations d/b/a Pine Hills LLC Health and Rehabilitation Center; Southern Administrative Services, LLC; Ross M. Ponthie; John Ponthie; and JEJ Investments, LLC are citizens of Louisiana and/or Texas. Defendants state that although Separate Defendant Robin Looney is a citizen of Arkansas, Plaintiff proceeds against her “in her capacity as the administrator of Pine Hills.” Defendants contend that because Plaintiff has sued Separate Defendant Looney solely in her “official capacity” as an administrator, the Court should disregard Separate Defendant Looney's personal citizenship for purposes of determining diversity jurisdiction and instead utilize the citizenship of her employer, Pine Hills.[1] Accordingly, Defendants conclude that complete diversity exists.

         On June 18, 2018, Plaintiffs filed the instant motion to remand, arguing that the Court does not have subject-matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) because there is not complete diversity between parties. Defendants oppose the motion.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff asks the Court to remand this action to the Circuit Court of Ouachita County, Arkansas, because there is not complete diversity between parties. Defendants argue in response that complete diversity exists, and even if it does not, that Separate Defendant Looney was fraudulently joined and, thus, her citizenship may be ignored for purposes of diversity jurisdiction. The Court will first determine whether complete diversity exists, and if not, the Court will then determine whether Plaintiffs fraudulently joined Separate Defendant Looney such that her citizenship may be ignored.

         A. Complete Diversity

         Defendants removed the case to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiff argues that there is not complete diversity and, thus, the Court must remand the case to state court.

         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and only certain types of cases may proceed in federal court. See Dakota, Minn. & E. R.R. Corp. v. Schieffer, 715 F.3d 712, 712 (8th Cir. 2013). A defendant in state court may remove a case to federal court if the defendant can demonstrate that the federal court has original jurisdiction over the case. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). This requirement can be met in one of two ways: (1) when the case in question involves a federal question, or (2) when diversity jurisdiction exists. The party seeking removal or opposing remand has the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction, and all doubts on that issue are to be resolved in favor of remand. Transit Cas. Co. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London, 119 F.3d 619, 625 (8th Cir. 1997). A case must be remanded to the state court from which it was removed whenever the federal court concludes that subject matter jurisdiction is nonexistent. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).

         Defendants removed the case to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Federal district courts have original jurisdiction over civil actions where the parties are citizens of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). Diversity of citizenship under 18 U.S.C. § 1332 requires complete diversity. Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 553 (2005). Complete diversity “exists where no defendant holds citizenship in the same state where any plaintiff holds citizenship.” OnePoint Solutions, LLC v. Borchert, 486 F.3d 342, 346 (8th Cir. 2007).

         The parties do not dispute that Plaintiff is an Arkansas citizen and that all Defendants other than Separate Defendant Looney are citizens of states other than Arkansas. Accordingly, the only question before the Court is whether ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.