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Kammerdiener v. Ford Motor Co.

February 24, 2010

WILLIAM R. KAMMERDIENER ET AL.
v.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Present: The Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez, United States District Judge

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

Wendy K. Hernandez Not Present n/a

Deputy Clerk Court Reporter Tape No.

Proceedings: (In Chambers) Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Remand

Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Remand. The Court finds this matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15. After considering the moving and opposing papers, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs' motion.

Background

On October 15, 2007, Sharon Kammerdiener was fatally injured in an automobile accident while driving a Ford Explorer. See Compl. ¶ 9. Two years later, on October 15, 2009, Plaintiffs William R. Kammerdiener, as an individual and as Successor in Interest to the Estate of Sharon Jean Kammerdiener, William H. Kammerdiener, Jamie Jean Kammerdiener, and Brenda Nopwasky (collectively, "Plaintiffs") filed suit in California state court against Defendant Ford Motor Company ("Defendant").

On November 24, 2009, Defendant timely removed the action to this Court. On December 17, 2009, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause ("OSC") re: Remand to State Court based on the allegations in the Notice of Removal that Defendant's principal place of business was Dearborn, Michigan. See Dkt. #7. Plaintiffs filed a motion to remand the case on December 23, 2009. Both parties submitted responses to the OSC, with Plaintiffs raising the same arguments made in the motion for remand, and the Court discharged the OSC on January 17, 2010. On January 29, 2010, Defendant filed an Opposition to the motion, which was followed by Plaintiffs' Reply on February 12, 2010.*fn1

Legal Standard

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. , 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128 L.Ed. 2d 391 (1994). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1441, a defendant may remove a civil action from state court to federal district court only if the federal court has subject matter jurisdiction over the case. See Abrego Abrego v. Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d 676, 679-80 (9th Cir. 2006). There is a strong presumption against removal jurisdiction, and the party seeking removal always has the burden of establishing that removal is proper. See Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992).

Discussion

Plaintiffs move for remand on the grounds that Defendant's Notice of Removal lacked sufficient allegations of the parties' citizenship and the amount in controversy. Despite Plaintiffs argument that the Notice of Removal was defective, Defendant has provided the Court with sufficient information to conclude that removal was appropriate and that the Court has jurisdiction over the action under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

A. Diversity of Citizenship

Plaintiffs claim that the Notice of Removal was defective because Defendant did not adequately allege the citizenship of the parties. According to the Notice of Removal, Defendant claimed: "Ford was, at the time of the filing of this action, and still is, incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware and has its principal place of business in the City of Dearborn, State of Michigan." Notice of Removal ¶ 9. The Notice of Removal also notes that Defendant was informed that Plaintiffs William R. Kammerdiener, William H. Kammerdiener, and Jamie Jean Kammerdiener are citizens of Arizona and that Plaintiff Brenda Nopwasky is a citizen of California. See id. ¶ 7. The Complaint does not include any information concerning Plaintiffs' citizenship, and Defendant notes that ...


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