United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
SHERIEL F. PERKINS; and, THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI EX REL. SHERIEL F. PERKINS Plaintiffs,
CAROLYN McADAMS, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DEBRA M. BROWN, District Judge.
This is an election contest brought by Plaintiff Sheriel F. Perkins and the State of Mississippi on relation of Sheriel F. Perkins against Defendant Carolyn McAdams, the current Mayor of Greenwood, Mississippi. In her complaint, Plaintiff challenges the results of the June 4, 2013, Greenwood, Mississippi, mayoral election. Doc. #3.
A. Original Complaint
On June 24, 2013, Plaintiff filed suit in the Circuit Court of Leflore County, Mississippi. In her original complaint, Plaintiff alleged that she "was one of two candidates for Mayor of the City of Greenwood, Mississippi, in the General Election held on June 4, 2013." Doc. #3 at ¶ 4. Plaintiff further alleged that the final certification of results, which showed a victory for her opponent Defendant Carolyn McAdams, were "erroneous, arbitrary, capricious, [and] incorrect." Id. at ¶ 9.
Of relevance here, Plaintiff alleged that various election officials engaged in "racially motivated manipulation of the electoral process to the detriment of the African American voters in Greenwood...." Doc. #3 at ¶¶ 20, 22, 25. Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that the election officials gave African American voters "incorrect information concerning affidavit (provisional ballots)" and denied such voters the opportunity to cast provisional ballots. Id. at ¶ 25.
Based on her initial allegations, Plaintiff alleged federal causes of action arising from violations of: (1) "Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965" (Counts Six and Eight), (2) "Help America Vote Act, 42 U.S.C. [§] 15482" (Count Seven); and (3) substantive and procedural due process rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (Count Eleven). Doc. #3 at ¶¶ 20-25, 30-31.
B. Removal, Motion to Remand, and Amendment
On July 24, 2013, Defendant removed the action to this Court. Doc. #1. In her notice of removal, Defendant, citing Counts Six, Seven, and Eight, stated that "this Court has federal question jurisdiction of certain claims asserted by Plaintiff against Defendant and supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims because they are related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction...." Id. at ¶¶ 8-9.
On August 22, 2013, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend her complaint. Doc. #10. In her motion, Plaintiff sought leave to "file a first amended complaint to delete the Sixth, Seventh, and Eleventh causes of action based on federal law and references to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Help America Vote Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 1582 and the substantive and procedural due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment." Id. The brief accompanying the motion described the motion as seeking "leave to file a first amended complaint to voluntarily delete and dismiss any and all federal claims and references to federal claims." Doc. #11 at 3.
The day after filing the motion to amend, Plaintiff filed a motion to remand for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Doc. #12. On September 9, 2013, Defendant filed a timely response in opposition to the motion to remand. Doc. #19. Plaintiff did not file a reply to Defendant's response within the time allowed. However, on September 25, 2013, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file out of time a reply in support of her motion to remand. Doc. #23. The same day, Plaintiff filed an "amended" motion for leave to file the reply. Doc. #24. In her amended motion, Plaintiff represents that the motion for leave is unopposed. Id.
On January 2, 2014, the Magistrate Judge assigned to this matter granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint. Doc. #26. The amended complaint, which was filed the following day, omitted all references to federal statutes and the United States Constitution. Doc. #28.
On January 17, 2014, Defendant filed an amended motion to dismiss combined with a motion to strike in the same document. Doc. #31. Plaintiff timely responded to the dual motion. Doc. #34. On February 5, 2014, the Court directed Defendant to file her motions separately. Accordingly, on February 10, 2014, Defendant filed a second amended motion to dismiss and a separate motion to strike. Docs. #35 & #37. The same day, Defendant replied to Plaintiff's response to the January 17 motion. Doc. #39.
Motion for Leave ...