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Winfield v. Quiktrip Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

December 20, 2019

MARIA S. WINFIELD, Plaintiff,
v.
QUIKTRIP CORPORATION and JORDAN CHAPMAN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JANE J. BOYLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Maria Winfield's Motion for Remand (Doc. 4). In this slip-and-fall case, Plaintiff contends that this Court lacks diversity jurisdiction because Plaintiff is a citizen of the same state as Defendant Jordan Chapman. See Doc. 4, Pl.'s Mot. for Remand, ¶ 20. Defendants, however, suggest that this Court has diversity jurisdiction because Defendant Chapman was improperly joined. Doc. 5, Defs.' Resp., 14. Because the Court concludes that it lacks jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(d) to consider this dispute, the Court GRANTS IN PART Plaintiff's motion for remand (Doc. 4). But because the Court declines to award Plaintiff attorneys' fees, the Court also DENIES IN PART Plaintiff's motion.

         I.

         BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         On October 8, 2017, Plaintiff Maria Winfield walked into a Quiktrip gas station in Garland, Texas. Doc. 1-2, Ex. 8, Pl.'s First Am. Pet., ¶¶ 7-8. When exiting the store, Plaintiff slipped on water and fell, injuring her ankle. Id. ¶ 9. She alleges that Defendant Jordan Chapman, a Quiktrip store employee, used a water hose to wash down the pavement outside of the store, id., and this action caused her injuries. Id. ¶ 10. Accordingly, Plaintiff brings two claims against Defendants Chapman and Quiktrip: negligence and premises liability, respectively. Id. ¶¶ 11-13.[1]

         B. Procedural Background

         While the facts of this case are simple, the procedural history is more complicated. Initially, Plaintiff filed suit against only Defendant Quiktrip in state court. See Doc. 1-2, Ex. 1, Pl.'s Orig. Pet. After Plaintiff allegedly failed to clarify the amount of damages she sought, see Doc. 1, Notice of Removal, 7, Defendant Quiktrip removed the action to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1446. See Doc. 1-2, Ex. 3, Def.'s Notice of Removal. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a motion for remand, see Pl.'s Mot. for Remand, Winfield v. Quiktrip Corp., No. 3:19-cv-0612-E (N.D. Tex. Oct. 4, 2019), ECF No. 4, which the district court denied based on a finding of diversity jurisdiction. See Order, Winfield v. Quiktrip Corp., No. 3:19-cv-0612-E (N.D. Tex. Oct. 4, 2019), ECF No. 8.

         Subsequently, upon receiving Jordan Chapman's name through a disclosure from Defendant Quiktrip, see Doc. 4, Pl.'s Mot. for Remand, ¶¶ 3-5, Plaintiff filed a motion to file an amended complaint, seeking to name Chapman as a defendant in the suit. See Pl.'s Mot. for Leave, Winfield v. Quiktrip Corp., No. 3:19-cv-0612-E (N.D. Tex. Oct. 4, 2019), ECF No. 22. Defendant Quiktrip did not respond to the motion. See generally Winfield v. Quiktrip Corp., No. 3:19-cv-0612-E (N.D. Tex. Oct. 4, 2019), ECF Nos. 22-25. The district court[2] granted the motion, and because the joinder of Defendant Chapman destroyed diversity between the parties, remanded the case to state court. Order at 1, Winfield v. Quiktrip Corp., No. 3:19-cv-0612-E (N.D. Tex. Oct. 4, 2019), ECF No. 25.

         Upon remand, Plaintiff served Defendant Chapman with her first amended petition. See Doc. 1-2, Ex. 8, Pl.'s First Am. Pet.; Doc. 1-2, Ex. E, Case Information, 3-4. Then, Defendants Quiktrip and Chapman timely filed another notice of removal. See Doc. 1, Defs.' Notice of Removal. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff filed another motion to remand, which is now before this Court. See Doc. 4, Pl.'s Mot. for Remand. Since the Court has received all briefing for the motion, it is now ripe for review.

         II.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(d), “[a]n order remanding a case to the State court from which it was removed is not reviewable on appeal or otherwise, ” except in civil-rights cases against federal officers and agencies. This rule operates to divest not only appellate courts of jurisdiction to review remand orders, but also district courts. See Tenbrook v. Am. Home Prods., 2005 WL 767723, at *2 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 1, 2005). Moreover, “[t]his bar to appellate review . . . is narrower than the text of the statute would suggest”-only remands based on certain grounds are unreviewable. See Fontenot v. Watson Pharm., Inc., 718 F.3d 518, 520 (5th Cir. 2013) (citations omitted). Nonetheless, the bar on review of remand orders extends to orders based on 28 § U.S.C. 1447(e). See Fontenot, 718 F.3d at 520-21 (citing Powerex Corp. v. Reliant Energy Servs., Inc., 551 U.S. 224 (2007)). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ...


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