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Farzam v. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 23, 2018

STEVE FARZAM
v.
THE NATIONAL REGISTRY OF EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIANS et al

          Present: The Honorable R. GARY KLAUSNER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         Proceedings: (IN CHAMBERS) Order Re: Defendants Doctor's Ambulance and Herren Enterprises' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction [DE 33]; Plaintiffs Motion to Remand [DE 35]

         I. INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On November 29, 2017, pro se Plaintiff Steve Farzam ("Farzam"), a California resident, filed a form complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging breach of contract against Defendant National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians ("NREMT"), an Ohio resident. NREMT removed the action to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, and soon thereafter filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. In lieu of filing an opposition, Farzam filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 15(a)(1), which permits a party to amend a complaint once as a matter of right.

         The FAC pled additional facts against NREMT and added three claims. In addition, the FAC purported to join defendants Robert Nieblas Enterprises, Doctor's Ambulance, Herren Enterprises, Inc., and Doctor's EMS Education (collectively, the "New Defendants"). It did not, however, plead any facts to implicate the New Defendants in the claims alleged. Like Farzam, each New Defendant is a California resident.

         NREMT filed another motion to dismiss the FAC, which the Court granted with leave to amend. Because of the FAC's failure to allege any facts against the New Defendants, the Court concurrently issued an order to show cause why the New Defendants should not be dismissed. Farzam has since filed a Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") that continues to assert claims for negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fan dealing against both NREMT and the New Defendants.

         Two motions are currently pending before the Court. First, Doctor's Ambulance and Herren Enterprises move to dismiss the action under Rule 12(b)(1) on the grounds that the addition of the New Defendants destroyed the Court's diversity jurisdiction. Because the action was originally removed from state court, the Court construes this motion as one to remand. Farzam does not oppose the motion.

         Instead, he filed his own motion to remand on the same grounds. The original defendant NREMT opposes both motions. For the following reasons, the Court DENIES both motions to remand.

         II. JUDICIAL STANDARD

         In considering a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the Court begins with the principle that federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and presumptively lack jurisdiction over a civil action. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). A court must first determine if it has jurisdiction before proceeding to rule on the merits of the case. Sinochem Int'l Co. v. Malaysia Int'l Shipping Corp., 549 U.S. 422, 430-31 (2007). Where, as here, the action was originally removed from state court, the case must be remanded if "at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction." 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).

         M. DISCUSSION

         As an initial matter, the Court notes that Farzam filed his motion to remand only two days after meeting and conferring with NREMT's counsel, in violation of Local Rule 7-3. While the Court cautions Farzam against further violations of the Local Rules, the Court will nevertheless consider the merits of his motion as it goes to the threshold question of the Court's jurisdiction.

         NREMT's original removal of this action to federal court was proper, as NREMT and Farzam are citizens of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332. It is undisputed, however, that joining the New Defendants would destroy complete diversity because both the New Defendants and Farzam are citizens of California.

         "If after removal the plaintiff seeks to join additional defendants whose joinder would destroy subject matter jurisdiction, the court may deny joinder, or permit joinder and remand the action to the state court." 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e). Whether to permit joinder is within the sound discretion of the court. N&vcombe v. Adolf Coors Co.,157 F.3d 686, 691 (9th Cir. 1998). When deciding whether to allow amendment to add non-diverse defendants. Courts generally consider the following factors: "(1) whether the party sought to be joined is needed for just adjudication and would be joined under [Rule] 19(a): (2) whether the state of limitations would prevent the filing of a new action against the new defendant should the court deny joinder: (3) whether there has been unexplained delay in seeking the joinder; (4) whether the ...


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