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.

Chavez v. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division

January 22, 2018

JENZEL CHAVEZ, ANNA VERONICA VELA, BORIS CHAVEZ, KAREN CHAVEZ,
v.
THE GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY, WILLIAM SHANE TACKETT, CHRISTOPHER NELSON, No. 4

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          AMOS L. MAZZANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand (Dkt. #11). After reviewing the relevant pleadings and motion, the Court finds the motion should be granted.

         BACKGROUND

         As Jose and Ana Maria Chavez drove West on U.S. Highway 82, in Fannin County, Texas, a Spartan fire truck, driving East, crossed the center line and crashed into their vehicle. As a result of the collision, Jose and Ana died. Plaintiffs allege the cause of the fire truck's crossing the center line resulted from the left, front tire suffering a disablement. As a result, on July 25, 2017, Plaintiffs filed suit in the 336th Judicial Court of Fannin County, Texas. Specifically, Plaintiffs filed suit against the alleged previous owners of the fire truck, North Shore Fire Department (“North Shore”) and William Shane Tackett (“Tackett”), the fire truck's operator, Christopher Nelson (“Nelson”), and the fire truck's tire manufacturer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (“Goodyear”).

         The citizenship of the parties is not in dispute. Plaintiffs are all Texas citizens. Goodyear, an Ohio corporation with its principal place of business in Akron, Ohio, is an Ohio citizen. Nelson is an Arkansas citizen. North Shore is a Texas citizen. Tackett is a Texas citizen.

         On October 5, 2017, Goodyear filed its Notice of Removal (Dkt. #1) alleging that complete diversity exists among the real parties in interest and that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. On November 6, 2017, Plaintiffs filed their Motion for Remand (Dkt. #11), and on November 20, 2017, Goodyear filed its response (Dkt. #12). Plaintiffs filed their reply (Dkt. #13) on November 27, 2017. Goodyear filed its sur-reply (Dkt. #16) on December 5, 2017.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         A defendant may remove any civil action from state court to a district court of the United States which has original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. District courts have original jurisdiction over all civil actions that are between citizens of different states and involve an amount in controversy in excess of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). The party seeking removal “bears the burden of establishing that federal jurisdiction exists and that removal was proper.” Manguno v. Prudential Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 276 F.3d 720, 723 (5th Cir. 2002). The removal statute must “be strictly construed, and any doubt about the propriety of removal must be resolved in favor of remand.” Gasch v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., 491 F.3d 278, 281-82 (5th Cir. 2007). A district court is required to remand the case to state court if, at any time before final judgment, it determines that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); Groupo Dataflux v. Atlas Glob. Grp., L.P., 541 U.S. 567, 571 (2004).

         ANALYSIS

         Goodyear avers jurisdiction is proper because complete diversity exists between the real parties in interest. In making this argument, Goodyear claims that Plaintiffs improperly joined non-diverse Defendants North Shore and Tackett, thus, their citizenship should be irrelevant for jurisdictional purposes. Further, Goodyear contends that although Nelson is diverse he is also an improperly joined defendant. As a result, Goodyear claims that Nelson's consent to remove the case, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(2)(A), is unnecessary. Plaintiffs asserts remand is appropriate because both Tackett and Nelson are properly joined defendants.[1] As such, Plaintiffs argue remand is appropriate.

         Although the issues before the Court are whether Nelson and Tackett are properly joined defendants, the Court finds it is only necessary to address whether Goodyear's failure to obtain Nelson's consent is excusable.

         I. Failure to Obtain Nelson's Consent

         Goodyear argues that because Plaintiffs improperly joined Nelson as a defendant, Nelson's consent to remove is unnecessary. The Court disagrees.

         “When a civil action is removed solely under section 1441(a), all defendants who have been properly joined and served must join in or consent to the removal of the action.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(2)(A). This rule is sometimes referred to as the “rule of unanimity” or “unanimity of consent rule.” Breitling v. LNV Corp., 86 F.Supp.3d 564, 569 (N.D. Tex. 2015). When a defendant removes from state court to federal court, the removing defendant “bear[s] the burden of establishing compliance with the rule of unanimity, either by showing that all properly joined and served defendants[] consent to removal or by establishing that a named defendant's consent to removal is not required.” Id. at 570. Exceptions to the unanimity rule include: (1) “where the non-consenting defendant was not yet served with process at the time the removal petition was filed;” (2) “where a defendant is merely a nominal, unnecessary, or formal party-defendant;” and (3) “where the removed claim is a separate and independent claim ...


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.