United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING MOTIONS
WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action is brought by a father, proceeding pro se,
against the operators of the train that struck and killed his
daughter. Plaintiff moves to remand the action to state court
or, in the alternative, transfer to a different division
within the district. In addition, defendants move to dismiss
the complaint. Plaintiff seeks a stay of defendants'
motion. For the reasons stated herein, each of these motions
August 4, 2016, an Amtrak train struck and killed Dejani
Monette Hall as she walked to a gym in Merced, California. No
Amtrak employee attempted to resuscitate her (Dkt. No. 7, Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 10, 13).
August 2, 2018, plaintiff Randy Lee Hall brought this action
against Amtrak and six Amtrak employees in California
Superior Court, County of Contra Costa. The complaint averred
two claims: (i) gross negligence and (ii) dangerous condition
of public and private property (Dkt. No. 1, Exh. A at 3, 7).
Plaintiff served the complaint on March 25, 2019 (Dkt. No. 7,
Proof of Service Cover Sheet at 2). Defendants' counsel
received the complaint on March 29, 2019 (Dkt. Nos. 33-1,
Exhs. A, B; 35 ¶¶ 2, 3).
April 29, 2019, plaintiff amended his complaint. The amended
complaint narrowed the list of defendants to Amtrak National
Railroad Passenger Corporation, Engineer Jonathan Staska,
Conductor Denise Hogg, and Assistant Conductor Michael John
Torrence (Dkt. No. 7, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 2-5). The
amended complaint also expanded the list of alleged claims.
Specifically, the amended complaint alleged two claims for
gross negligence, two claims for general negligence, one
claim for dangerous condition of private property, one claim
for wrongful death, one claim for a survival action, one
claim for negligence per se, and three claims solely against
Amtrak for negligent hiring and training of the three
removed here (Dkt. No. 1). The removal process spanned three
days. Specifically, on April 29, 2019, defendants filed a
notice of removal in federal court. The next day, on April
30, defendants filed the notice of removal with the state
court (Dkt. Nos. 7; 40-1, Exh. E). On May 1, defendants filed
the bundle of state court documents to the federal docket
(Dkt. No. 7).
flurry of motions followed. Plaintiff moved to remand back to
state court (Dkt. No. 12) or, in the alternative, have the
action transferred to the Oakland Division in this district
(Dkt. No. 9). Before these motions could be heard, however,
plaintiff declined magistrate jurisdiction (Dkt. No. 19).
Upon reassignment, defendants moved to dismiss the amended
complaint (Dkt. No. 26). Plaintiff subsequently objected to
the motion to dismiss and moved to stay the motion pending
resolution of his two jurisdictional motions (Dkt. No. 30),
which he re-filed (Dkt. Nos. 31, 33). An order subsequently
denied the first-filed jurisdictional motions as moot in
light of the re-filed versions (Dkt. No. 45).
the dust settled, four motions remained: plaintiff's
motions to remand, transfer venue, and to stay, and
defendants' motion to dismiss. The parties fully briefed
the motion to remand (Dkt. Nos. 38, 40), motion to transfer
venue (Dkt. Nos. 39, 42), and motion to dismiss (Dkt. Nos.
29, 37, 41).
hearing was scheduled for July 11, 2019 at 8:00 A.M. The case
was called. Pro se plaintiff appeared, but
defendants' counsel were not there. The case was put to
the end of the calendar to give counsel the opportunity to
appear. At the end of the calendar, the case was recalled but
counsel were still not there. Pro se plaintiff came
all the way from Contra Costa County - defendants'
counsel never bothered to show up. This order follows.
order denies all the motions brought by the parties.
First, Amtrak's removal was proper because there
would have been original jurisdiction over this action and
defendants removed within thirty days of formal service of
process. Second, venue in the San Francisco Division
of the Northern District of California remains proper.
Plaintiff has not sufficiently justified an intradistrict
transfer to the Oakland Division. Third,
defendants' motion to dismiss is denied on account of the
failure of defendants' to show up to the hearing.