United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
CHAD MOREHEAD, ET AL. PLAINTIFFS
ERIKA L. NIXON, individually and as an Employee and Agent of Greyhound Lines, Incorporated, and GREYHOUND LINES, INCORPORATED DEFENDANTS
P. Jordan III Chief United States District Judge.
consolidated personal-injury cases arise from a bus wreck.
Defendants Erika Nixon and Greyhound Lines, Incorporated,
removed the cases from state court, and Plaintiffs Chad
Morehead, Joshua Reagan, Arnold Okechukwu, Stephen Deliefde,
Jovany Avila-Bravo, and Rocio Sandoval-Canales now seek
remand. For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' motions to
remand [31, 33, 35, 37, and 39] are denied.
early January 2019, a bus driven by Defendant Nixon and owned
by Defendant Greyhound overturned while attempting to enter
Interstate Highway 55 in Jackson, Mississippi. Numerous
passengers were injured, some severely. See Deliefde
Compl. (3:19-CV-226) [1-1] ¶ 6; Elias Compl.
(3:19-CV-228) [1-1] ¶ 9; Reagan Compl. (3:19-CV-346)
[1-1] ¶ 6; Avila-Bravo Compl. (3:19-CV-347) [1-1] ¶
crash sparked at least seven actions against Defendants Nixon
and Greyhound. Six of those cases reached this Court in April
and May 2019, when Defendants filed notices of removal.
See Morehead Notice of Removal (3:19-CV-225) ;
Deliefde Notice of Removal (3:19-CV-226) ; Elias Notice of
Removal (3:19-CV-228) ; Okechukwu Notice of Removal
(3:19-CV-229) ; Reagan Notice of Removal (3:19-CV-346)
; Avila-Bravo Notice of Removal (3:19-CV-347) . The
seventh arrived in June 2019, also through removal.
See Cannon Removal (3:19-CV-391) .
Court consolidated all cases on June 20, 2019; the Elias case
later settled; and the Court remanded Cannon's case. That
left five Plaintiffs, all of whom filed motions to remand on
August 16, 2019. The issues have been fully briefed,
including supplemental briefs filed in response to the
Court's questions regarding abstention.
defendant may remove a case from state court to federal
district court if the federal court could exercise original
jurisdiction over the matter.” Crosby v.
CitiMortgage, Inc., No. 3:13CV670TSL-JMR, 2014 WL
12638846, at *1 (S.D.Miss. Jan. 16, 2014) (quoting Beck
v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon, No. 3:12-CV-4784-M-BF, 2013 WL
5305873, at *2-3 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 19, 2013)). The statutory
basis for removal is found in 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), which
Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress,
any civil action brought in a State court of which the
district courts of the United States have original
jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the
defendants, to the district court of the United States for
the district and division embracing the place where such
action is pending.
removing party bears the burden of establishing federal
jurisdiction.” Beichler v. Citigroup, Inc.,
241 F.Supp.2d 696, 699 (S.D.Miss. 2003) (quoting Laughlin
v. Prudential Ins., Co., 882 F.2d 187, 190 (5th Cir.
removed these cases based on diversity jurisdiction, the
requirements for which have been met. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a). Nevertheless, Plaintiffs say the Court should
issue remand orders for three reasons: (1) removal violated
the forum-defendant rule because Defendant Nixon is a citizen
of Mississippi; (2) Defendants evaded removal requirements by
filing snap removals before all defendants were served; and
(3) the Court has the equitable authority to order remand
based on abstention. Defendants disagree, arguing that
Plaintiffs waived the procedural objections to removal and
that abstention does not apply.
initial question is whether Plaintiffs'
forum-defendant-rule and snap-removal arguments address
procedural defects. If so, they had “30 days after the
filing of the notice of removal” to assert those
issues. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); see also Steilberg v.
Bradley, No. 1:15-CV-269-LG-RHW, 2016 WL 1455454, at *1
(S.D.Miss. Apr. 12, 2016) (noting that ...