United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
ELIZABETH ANN DELOACH, Individually and as Deloach Real Estate, LLC PLAINTIFF
ALLSTATE VEHICLE AND PROPERTY INSURANCE COMPANY, and PATRICK THIMMES DEFENDANTS
M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are Elizabeth Ann Deloach's motion to remand,
Doc. #10, and Patrick Thimmes' motion to dismiss, Doc.
13, 2018, Elizabeth Ann Deloach filed a complaint in the
Circuit Court of Grenada County, Mississippi, against
Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company and Patrick
Thimmes regarding the denial of an insurance claim on her
cabin. Doc. #2 at 1. Allstate, invoking diversity
jurisdiction, removed the case to this Court on July 12,
2018. Doc. #1 at 2. The notice of removal alleges that
Allstate is an Illinois corporation with a principal place of
business in Illinois, and that both Deloach and Thimmes are
Mississippi citizens. Id. at 1-2. Allstate contends,
however, that Thimmes' “citizenship should be
disregarded for purposes of determining whether diversity
jurisdiction exists” because he is “fraudulently
joined” or, alternatively, “fraudulently
misjoined.” Id. at 2-3.
18, 2018, Deloach filed a motion to remand. Doc. #10. One
week later, Allstate filed a motion to dismiss the claims
against it. Doc. #13. The next day, Thimmes filed a
motion to dismiss the claims against him. Doc. #16. All three
motions are opposed.
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). “If 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).
party disputes that the amount in controversy here exceeds
$75, 000. However, Allstate asserts that complete diversity
exists because Thimmes, a non-diverse defendant, was either
improperly joined or fraudulently misjoined. Deloach claims
that, because Thimmes' presence in the suit destroys
complete diversity, remand is warranted.
Court has rejected the fraudulent misjoinder doctrine.
See Wilson v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No.
4:17-CV-124, 2018 WL 1096836, at *2 (N.D. Miss. Feb. 28,
2018) (“In the absence of clear direction from either
the Fifth Circuit or the United States Supreme Court, this
Court, in strictly interpreting the removal statute, declines
to expand its jurisdiction to adopt the doctrine of
misjoinder announced in Tapscott.”). As such,
severance and remand of the claims against Thimmes is not