United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
WILLIAM R. LEFEAR PLAINTIFF
LOVE'S TRAVEL STOPS & COUNTRY STORES, et al. DEFENDANTS
ORDER REMANDING CASE
M. Brown, United States District Judge.
23, 2018, William LeFear filed a complaint in the Circuit
Court of DeSoto County, Mississippi, against Loves Travel
Stops and Country Stores (“Love's”),
Justin J. Banks, and John Does 1-10. Doc. #2. The complaint
asserted state law claims of negligence arising from a motor
vehicle accident between an automobile driven by LeFear and a
tractor trailer owned by Love's and driven by Banks.
Id. at 2-3. On August 20, 2018, Love's and
Banks, asserting diversity and federal question jurisdiction,
removed the case to the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Mississippi. Doc. #1.
December 13, 2018, LeFear, with leave of the Court,
filed an “Amended Complaint.” Doc. #28. The
amended complaint substitutes Teramus R. Boney and Hokiebird
Trucking, PLLCfor John Does 1 and 2, and alleges that (1)
LeFear “is an adult resident citizen of Atlanta,
Georgia;” (2) Banks “is an adult resident of the
state of Mississippi;” (3) Love's “is a
company licensed to do and is doing business in the state of
Mississippi;” (4) Boney “is an adult resident
citizen of the state of Georgia;” (5) Hokiebird
“is a Georgia corporation;” (6) “John Does
3-10 are fictious parties that may be liable to
[LeFear];” and (7) “the injuries giving rise to
the action exceed $75, 000.” Id. at 1-3. On
December 20, 2018, Love's and Banks answered the amended
complaint. Doc. #30.
January 8, 2019, Love's and Banks filed a motion to
remand, arguing that joinder of Boney and Hokiebird destroys
diversity jurisdiction in this case. Doc. #33 at 1-2. LeFear
did not respond to the motion to remand.
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). “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).
the joinder of Boney destroys subject matter jurisdiction, to
the extent jurisdiction can be demonstrated,  because LeFear
and Boney, who are persons on different sides of the
controversy, are both citizens of Georgia. Accordingly, the
motion to remand  is GRANTED.
case is REMANDED to the Circuit Court of
DeSoto County, Mississippi.
 It appears the proper name for the
entity named in the complaint is “Love's Travel
Stops & Country Stores.” See Doc.
 Regarding diversity jurisdiction, the
notice of removal asserts that LeFear “is an adult
citizen of the state of Georgia, ” Love's “is
a foreign corporation incorporated in and with its principal
place of business in the state of Oklahoma, ” Banks
“is an adult citizen of the state of Tennessee, ”
and “there is in excess of $75, 000.00 as the amount in
controversy.” Doc. #1 at 2. The notice of removal also
asserts that “there is federal question jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331” because “the
Complaint further alleges violations of 49 CFR §§
392.22 and 396 by the Defendants.” Doc. #1 at 3.
However, courts have regularly held that garden-variety state
negligence claims premised on violations of the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Regulations (the regulations referenced by
LeFear) do not implicate federal question jurisdiction.
See, e.g., Burkett v. SE Indep. Delivery Servs.,
Inc., No. 2:17-cv-786, 2018 WL 1093320, at *3 (M.D. Ala.
Feb. 28, 2018); Melton v. Great W. Cas. Co., No.
416-275, 2017 WL 4397944, at *1, 5 (S.D. Ga. Sep. 29, 2017);
Harris v. U-Haul Int'l, Inc., No. CV 12-5040,
2012 WL 12919226, at *2 (W.D. Ark. Oct. 1, 2012). Nothing in
LeFear's complaint suggests that a departure from this
rule is warranted.
 Doc. #27.
 The amended complaint refers to
Hokiebird as “Hokiebird Trucking, PLLC, ”
“Hokiebird Trucking, LCC, ” and “Hokiebird