United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are Kenneth Strachan and Sheila Strachan's
motion to remand, Doc. #16, and State Farm Fire and Casualty
Company's motion to sever, Doc. #3.
August 11, 2017, Kenneth and Shelia Strachan filed a
complaint in the Circuit Court of Carroll County,
Mississippi, against State Farm Fire and Casualty Company
(“State Farm”) and Don Pyron Builders, LLC
(“Builders”). Doc. #2. In their complaint, the
Strachans allege that they contracted for Builders to perform
extensive remodeling of their home and that Builders
negligently completed the project, causing damage to their
property. Id. at ¶ 7, 10-11. They further
allege that State Farm wrongfully rejected their requested
reimbursement under their home insurance policy. Id.
at ¶¶ 15, 23-29. The Strachans assert claims for
breach of contract, negligence, bad faith, and breach of
fiduciary duty against State Farm, and claims for breach of
contract, breach of warranty, negligence, and unjust
enrichment against Builders. Id. at ¶¶
Strachans served State Farm with process on August 29, 2017,
and State Farm, asserting diversity jurisdiction, removed the
state court action to this Court on September 28, 2017. Doc.
#1. The notice of removal, as amended,  alleges that
State Farm is a citizen of Illinois, Builders is a citizen of
Mississippi, and the Strachans are citizens of Mississippi.
Doc. #15 at ¶¶ 4-6. The notice of removal also
alleges that, notwithstanding the matching citizenship of the
Strachans and Builders, complete diversity exists because,
pursuant to the doctrine of fraudulent or egregious
misjoinder, the citizenship of Builders may be
after removal, State Farm filed a motion seeking severance
and remand of the claims against Builders. Doc. #3. The
Strachans did not respond to the motion to sever but, on
October 27, 2017, filed a motion to remand. Doc. #16. The
motion to remand has been fully briefed. See Doc.
#21; Doc. #22.
the federal removal statute, a civil action may be removed
from a state court to a federal court on the basis of
diversity. This is so because the federal court has original
subject matter jurisdiction over such cases.”
Int'l Energy Ventures Mgmt., L.L.C. v. United Energy
Grp., Ltd., 818 F.3d 193, 199 (5th Cir. 2016).
“The party seeking to remove bears the burden of
showing that federal jurisdiction exists and that removal was
proper. Any ambiguities are construed against removal and in
favor of remand to state court.” Scarlott v. Nissan
N. Am., Inc., 771 F.3d 883, 887 (5th Cir. 2014)
(internal citations omitted). In this regard, “[i]f at
any time before final judgment it appears that the district
court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be
remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
jurisdiction requires that there be: (1) complete diversity
between the parties; and (2) an amount in controversy in
excess of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. 28
U.S.C. § 1332; Caterpillar Inc. v. Lewis, 519
U.S. 61, 68 (1996). Complete diversity “requires that
all persons on one side of the controversy be citizens of
different states than all persons on the other side.”
Vaillancourt v. PNC Bank, Nat'l Ass'n, 771
F.3d 843, 847 (5th Cir. 2014).
explained above, State Farm submits that complete diversity
exists because Builders, a non-diverse defendant, was
fraudulently misjoined. The Strachans seek remand on the
ground that Builders was not fraudulently misjoined in ...