United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
January 6, 2015
JAMES MALLOY, Plaintiff,
K-MART, INC., Defendant.
CATHY BISSON, District Judge.
For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's Motion to Remand to State Court (Doc. 5) will be denied.
On October 30, 2014, James Malloy ("Plaintiff") filed a complaint (the "Complaint") in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County against "K-Mart, Inc., " ("Defendant") seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Def.'s Notice of Removal (Doc. 1), Ex. A. The Complaint named only the above Plaintiff and Defendant. On December 3, 2014, Defendant filed a Notice of Removal in the instant matter, from the Court of Common Pleas to the Western District of Pennsylvania, alleging that Defendant is a citizen of the states of Michigan and Illinois; Plaintiff is a citizen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. Id . Alleging diversity jurisdiction, Defendant argued that removal is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 et seq. Id.
On December 16, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Remand to State Court, arguing that complete diversity of citizenship does not exist, as he filed an Amended Complaint naming two additional defendants, both residents of Pennsylvania. Pl.'s Mot. On December 24, 2014, Defendant argued, inter alia, that Plaintiff attempted to file his Amended Complaint in the Court of Common Pleas on December 4, 2014, after Defendant had filed the Notice of Removal. Def.'s Resp. (Doc. 6). After the filing of the Notice of Removal, the Court of Common Pleas lacked jurisdiction over the case, and thus Plaintiff did not properly amend his Complaint and join the two additional Pennsylvania-resident defendants. Id . Defendant argues that complete diversity of citizenship remains in this case, and diversity jurisdiction over the matter is preserved. Id.
It is axiomatic that once a Notice of Removal has been properly filed, a state court is divested of jurisdiction over the removed matter, and the case is transferred to federal court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1446; Delalla v. Hanover Ins., 660 F.3d 180, 184-85 (3d Cir. 2011) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1446). An attempt to amend a complaint before a state court after the filing of a Notice of Removal necessarily fails, as that court lacks jurisdiction over the matter. As this case currently stands, pursuant to the original Complaint, there are two parties, and those parties are citizens of different states. Contrary to Plaintiff's contention, complete diversity of citizenship indeed exists.
Should Plaintiff wish to amend the Complaint and join additional defendants to this action, the Court will entertain a motion to amend the complaint, and will coextensively address any jurisdictional issues that may arise by virtue of that motion.
For the reasons stated above, Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (Doc. 5), is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.