United States District Court, E.D. California
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: MOTION TO DISMISS, MOTION TO
REMAND, AND MOTION TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT
WILLIAM B. SHUBB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Paul Singh and Andrea Singh initiated this action against
defendants Lowe's Home Centers, LLC ("Lowe's)
and Does 1 through 50, bringing claims for assault, battery,
intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence,
vicarious liability, and negligent supervision, instruction,
and training. (First Amended Compl. ("FAC") (Docket
No. 1., Ex. B).) Presently before the court are
plaintiffs' Motion to Remand (Docket No. 7);
plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended
Complaint (Docket No. 9); and Lowe's Motion to Dismiss
or, in the alternative, for More Definite Statement (Docket
No. 4) .
Motion to Remand
jurisdiction is a preliminary matter that should be resolved
before all others. Smith v. Mail Boxes, Etc., 191
F.Supp.2d 1155, 1157 (E.D. Cal. 2002)("[J]urisdictional
issues should be resolved before the court determines if a
stay is appropriate."). Accordingly, the court will
first address plaintiff's Motion to Remand.
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 . . .
where such action is pending." 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
However, if "it appears that the district court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be
remanded." 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). On a motion to
remand, the defendant bears the burden of showing by a
preponderance of the evidence that federal jurisdiction is
appropriate. Geographic Expeditions, Inc. v. Estate of
Lhotka, 599 F.3d 1102, 1107 (9th Cir. 2010) (citation
courts have original jurisdiction over cases where complete
diversity exists between the parties and the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and
costs. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). To satisfy the requirements
for complete diversity, "each of the plaintiffs must be
a citizen of a different state than each of the
defendants." Morris v. Princess Cruises, Inc.,
236 F.3d 1061, 1067 (9th Cir. 2001) (citing Caterpillar
Inc. v. Lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 68 (1996)).
initiated this case in Sutter County Superior Court, and
Lowe's removed it to federal court, alleging that
"it is a civil action wherein the matter in controversy
exceeds the sum of $75, 000.00, " and additionally
alleging that "the action is between citizens of
different states." (Notice of Removal (Docket No. 1)
¶ 17.) Defendants include Lowe's, the sole named
defendant, as well as Does 1 through 50. It is undisputed
that plaintiffs were, and presently remain, residents of
California, while Lowe's is a citizen of North Carolina.
(Id. ¶¶ 18-19.)
argue that the presence of doe defendants destroys complete
diversity and thus precludes removal. However, it is well
established that "[i]n determining whether a civil
action is removable on the basis of jurisdiction under
section 1332(a) . . . the citizenship of defendants sued
under fictitious names shall be disregarded." 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(b)(1). From this language, the Ninth Circuit has
concluded that "Congress obviously reached the
conclusion that doe defendants should not defeat diversity
jurisdiction." Bryant v. Ford Motor Co., 886
F.2d 1526, 1528 (9th Cir. 1989). Therefore, because the court
will disregard the citizenship of all doe defendants, it
concludes that complete diversity exists under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a). Further, there is no debate regarding the
satisfaction of the $75, 000 requirement. Accordingly, the
court concludes that this action was removable and will deny
plaintiffs' Motion to Remand.
possible that plaintiffs may later seek leave to add a
nondiverse party. In the event that occurs, "the court
may deny joinder, or permit joinder and remand the action to
the State court." Newcombe v. Adolf Coors Co.,
157 F.3d 686, 690 (9th Cir. 1998)(explaining that if after
removal plaintiff seeks to join additional defendants whose
joinder would destroy subject matter jurisdiction, court has
discretion to deny).
Leave to Amend
Rule of Civil Procedure 15 empowers parties to agree to
amendments and alternatively directs the court to freely
grant leave to amend "when justice so requires."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). "[T]his policy is to be applied
with extreme liberality." Morongo Band of Mission
Indians v. Rose, 893 F.2d 1074, 1079 (9th Cir. 1990).
Whether to grant or deny leave to amend is ...