Culpepper v. Stryker Corporation et al
ORDER that Plaintiff's Motion to Stay 7 is GRANTED and that this cause of action is STAYED pending resolution of Plaintiff's Motion to Remand, which Plaintiff is DIRECTED to file on or before October 7, 2012; that Plaintiff's Motion for Extension 12 is DENIED AS MOOT. Signed by Honorable Judge Mark E. Fuller on 9/25/2012. (jg, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
STRYKER CORPORATION, et al.,
CASE NO. 2:12-cv-767-MEF
(WO – Do not publish)
This cause of action is before the Court upon a Notice of Removal filed by Defendants
on September 4, 2012 (Doc. # 1), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441, and 1446.
Simultaneously with their Notice of Removal, Defendants Howmedica Osteonics
Corporation, Stryker Corporation, and Stryker Sales Corporation filed a Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 4.) On September 10, 2012, Defendant Brennan Blackmon
filed a Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. # 5.) Plaintiff then filed a Motion to Stay Defendants’
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Motion to Dismiss (Doc. # 7), to which all the
defendants filed Responses (Doc. ## 8, 9.) Plaintiff has not yet responded to Defendants’
pending dispositive motions and has since filed a Motion for Extension of Time to Respond
to Defendants’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. # 12.)
Upon consideration of these filings, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s Motion to Stay (Doc. #
7) is due to be granted and that Plaintiff’s Motion for Extension (Doc. # 12) is due to be
denied as moot.
In their notice of removal from state court, Defendants argued that jurisdiction in this
Court is proper because Plaintiff fraudulently joined one of the named defendants in an effort
to destroy complete diversity of the parties. (Doc. # 1, at 3.) However, Plaintiff represents
in her motion to stay that she intends to challenge the removal “on solid grounds” in a
forthcoming motion to remand, which she intends to file on or before October 7, 2012. (Doc.
# 7, at 1.) In support of her motion to stay, Plaintiff argues that if the Court were to consider
Defendants’ pending dispositive motions and then later determine that it lacks jurisdiction
after considering Plaintiff’s forthcoming motion to remand, then “all rulings by this Court
would be null and void.” (Id. at 2.)
In response, Defendants argue that it is not necessary to stay the present proceedings
because the facts and arguments presented in their dispositive motions and their notice of
removal overlap. (Doc. # 8, at 2.) in support of this argument, Defendants point to a single
case in which a court addressed the merits of a defendant’s dispositive motion
simultaneously with a plaintiff’s motion to remand. See Waldrup v. Hartford Life Ins. Co.,
598 F. Supp. 3d 1219, 1226 (N.D. Ala. 2008) (denying motion to remand while
simultaneously granting motion to dismiss).
The Court sees no reason why its decision on Defendants’ pending dispositive
motions should not be stayed until after the Court has ruled on Plaintiff’s forthcoming motion
to remand. The Court acknowledges that the procedure for resolving a fraudulent joinder
claim “is similar to that used for ruling on a motion for summary judgment under Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(b)” and involves an inquiry into the facts the parties include in their pleadings and
any attached affidavits. Legg v. Wyeth, 428 F.3d 1317, 1322–23 (11th Cir. 2005) (quoting
B., Inc. v. Miller Brewing Co., 663 F.2d 545, 549 n.9 (5th Cir. Unit A 1981)). However, the
Eleventh Circuit has cautioned that in ruling on a fraudulent joinder claim, “the jurisdictional
inquiry must not subsume substantive determination.” Crowe v. Coleman, 113 F.3d 1536,
1538 (11th. Cir. 1997). Because the Court wishes to avoid addressing the merits of the
dispositive motions before it determines whether it has subject-matter jurisdiction—an issue
which will be more fully addressed in Plaintiff’s forthcoming motion to remand—the Court
concludes that the most prudent course of action at this early stage is to stay proceedings on
the dispositive motions.
Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Stay (Doc. # 7) is
GRANTED and that this cause of action is STAYED pending resolution of Plaintiff’s
Motion to Remand, which Plaintiff is DIRECTED to file on or before October 7, 2012.
It is further ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion for Extension (Doc. # 12) is DENIED
DONE this the 25th day of September, 2012.
/s/ Mark E. Fuller
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?