United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
before the Court is George Ireland's Motion to Remand
this case to state court. For the reasons that follow,
Ireland's motion is granted and the case is remanded to
the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County.
case arises from a motor vehicle accident involving Curt
Gandy and George Ireland. At the time of the accident, Gandy
was driving a vehicle that he rented from Zaina Corporation.
Ireland filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of
Delaware County, against Gandy and Zaina Corporation on June
14, 2018. Plaintiff amended his complaint three times, each
time adding another defendant-first GMI N.A., Inc., then
Plaza Insurance Company, and finally Liberty Mutual, his own
insurer. Liberty Mutual filed a notice of removal on July 31,
filed a motion to remand the case to state court on August
30, 2019. Plaza, GMI, and Liberty Mutual filed responses in
opposition to remand. To date, neither Gandy nor Zaina
Corporation have filed a response to the motion for remand or
participated meaningfully in this action.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to 28 U.S.C § 1446(a), “a defendant or defendants
desiring to remove any civil action from a State court shall
file in the district court…a notice of
removal…containing a short and plain statement of the
grounds for removal, together with a copy of all process,
pleadings, and orders served upon such defendant or
defendants[.]” 28 U.S.C § 1446(a). The notice of
removal must be filed within 30 days of service of the
complaint on the defendant seeking removal. 28 U.S.C.
§1446(b). After a case has been removed, “a
plaintiff may challenge removal by moving to remand the case
back to state court.” The Knit With v. Aurora
Yarns, Civ. A. No. 09-5981, 2010 WL 844739, at *3 (E.D.
Pa. Mar. 11, 2010). Remand is appropriate if the district
court lacks subject matter jurisdiction or there is a defect
in the removal process. Id. The removing party has
the burden of establishing the propriety of removal and
“all doubts must be resolved in favor of remand.”
McMillan v. Wilkie Trucking Inc., Civ. A. No.
13-7104, 2014 WL 695583, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 21, 2014).
Plaintiff seeks remand based on procedural defects in
removal. Ireland is correct that the removal in
this case was procedurally defective. “[I]t is
well-established that in cases involving multiple defendants
all defendants must join in the notice of removal.”
Ogletree v. Barnes, 851 F.Supp. 184, 186 (E.D. Pa.
1994). This “rule of unanimity, ” requires that,
“[a]ll defendants to an action must expressly,
officially and unambiguously consent to join in a notice of
removal to federal court.” McGuigan v. Darden,
Civ. A. No. 11-6563, 2012 WL 832168 at *3 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 13,
2012), (quoting Morganti v. Armstrong, Civ. A. No.
00-6343, 2001 WL 283135, at *4 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 19, 2001)).
This case lacks the unanimous consent of all defendants to
removal. To perfect removal, the consent of all defendants
must be confirmed within the 30-day time period for removal.
28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(2)(A), (B). “Failure to join
in or consent to removal is a fundamental, rather than
technical, defect.” Coralluzzo v. Darden
Restaurants, Inc., Civ. A. No. 13-6882, 2015 WL 4713275
(E.D. Pa. Aug. 6, 2015).
Mutual alleged in its Notice of Removal that all defendants
consented, with the exception of Gandy, however, it did not
include any indication of such consent with the Notice.
Although Plaza and GMI have demonstrated their consent
through participation in this action, none of the Defendants
affirmatively consented to Liberty Mutual's removal
within the required time frame. Moreover, Zaina Corporation
did not even enter an appearance in this matter until October
22, 2019. Based on the mandatory nature of the rule of
unanimity, the case must be remanded to state court.
foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's motion is granted. The
case is remanded to the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware
County. An order consistent with this Memorandum will be
 According to Liberty Mutual's
Notice of Removal and Plaintiff's Motion to Remand,
Plaintiff has already obtained a default judgment against