Jones v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Company
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING 7 MOTION to Remand to State Court. Signed by Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins on 7/2/2013. (JLC)
2013 Jul-02 PM 03:50
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
) Case No.: 2:13-CV-624-VEH
NOVARTIS PHARMACEUTICALS )
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the court is the Motion to Remand (Doc. 7) filed by the Plaintiff,
Ernesteen Jones (“Ms. Jones”). The court has considered the arguments made in this
document, as well as those made in Ms. Jones’s “Memorandum of Law” supporting
the motion (Doc. 8) and the Response (Doc. 10) filed by the Defendant, Novartis
Pharmaceuticals Corporation (“NPC”)1. For the following reasons, Ms. Jones’s
motion is DENIED.
I. Factual Background and Procedural History
The following basic facts are not disputed by either party. Ms. Jones initiated
this action in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama, on March 8, 2013. Doc.
According to NPC, Ms. Jones wrongly labeled it as “Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Company” in her underlying complaint. Doc. 10 at 2.
8-1 at 1. In her complaint filed with that court, she alleges that her prescribed use of
Reclast, a drug manufactured by NPC, caused her to suffer a variety of injuries,
including atypical fractures to her right and left femurs. See id. at 5-7. Her complaint
asserts the following claims against NPC:
Alabama Extended Manufacturer’s Liability Doctrine (“AEMLD”);
Failure to Warn Under the AEMLD;
Negligence and Wantonness; and
Breach of Warranty of Merchantibility
Id. at 7-14. Ms. Jones is a citizen of Alabama, and NPC is a citizen of both New
Jersey and Delaware. Doc. 1 ¶¶ 4-5. Her complaint also names as defendants thirty
fictitious parties and declares the following about them:
Plaintiff avers that the identity of the fictitious parties Defendant is unknown
to Plaintiff at this time, or if their names are known to Plaintiff at this time,
their identities as proper parties Defendant are not known to Plaintiff at this
time and their true names will be substantiated by amendment when
Doc. 8-1 at 4-5. Ms. Jones seeks compensatory and punitive damages from NPC,
although her complaint does not specify the monetary amount sought. Id. at 10-11,
Ms. Jones served NPC with the complaint on either March 15, 2013, or March
18, 2013. Compare Doc. 8 at 2 with Doc. 1 ¶ 2.2 On April 4, 2013, NPC timely filed
a Notice of Removal with this court, asserting jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332,
1441, and 1446. Doc. 1 ¶¶ 7-10.
II. Legal Standards
A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction Generally
“It is by now axiomatic that the inferior federal courts are courts of limited
jurisdiction. They are ‘empowered to hear only those cases within the judicial power
of the United States as defined by Article III of the Constitution,’ and which have
been entrusted to them by a jurisdictional grant authorized by Congress.” Univ. of S.
Ala. v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 409 (11th Cir. 1999) (quoting Taylor v.
Appleton, 30 F.3d 1365, 1367 (11th Cir. 1994)). “Accordingly, ‘[w]hen a federal
court acts outside its statutory subject-matter jurisdiction, it violates the fundamental
constitutional precept of limited federal power.’” Id. (quoting Marathon Oil Co. v.
Ruhrgas, 145 F.3d 211, 216 (5th Cir.1998)). “Simply put, once a federal court
determines that it is without subject matter jurisdiction, the court is powerless to
continue.” Id. at 410.
“A necessary corollary to the concept that a federal court is powerless to act
The parties appear to differ on the precise date Ms. Jones served NPC with the summons
and complaint in the underlying action. As Ms. Jones does not contend that NPC untimely
removed the action, this discrepancy is irrelevant to the disposition of this Motion.
without jurisdiction is the equally unremarkable principle that a court should inquire
into whether it has subject matter jurisdiction at the earliest possible stage in the
proceedings.” Id. “Indeed, it is well settled that a federal court is obligated to inquire
into subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte whenever it may be lacking.” Id. (citations
Moreover, “[t]he jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter of a claim
involves the court’s competency to consider a given type of case, and cannot be
waived or otherwise conferred upon the court by the parties. Otherwise, a party could
‘work a wrongful extension of federal jurisdiction and give district courts power the
Congress denied them.’” Jackson v. Seaboard Coast Line R.R., 678 F.2d 992, 100001 (11th Cir. 1982) (quoting Am. Fire & Cas. Co. v. Finn, 341 U.S. 6, 18 (1951))
(internal footnotes and citations omitted). Furthermore, “[b]ecause removal
jurisdiction raises significant federalism concerns, federal courts are directed to
construe removal statutes strictly.” Univ. of S. Ala., 168 F.3d at 411 (citing Shamrock
Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108-09 (1941)).
Lastly, Congress has decreed and the Supreme Court has confirmed that - with
the express exception of civil rights cases that have been removed - orders of remand
by district courts based upon certain grounds, including in particular those premised
upon lack of subject matter jurisdiction, are entirely insulated from review. More
specifically, § 1447(d) provides:
An order remanding a case to the State court from which it was removed
is not reviewable on appeal or otherwise, except that an order
remanding a case to the State court from which it was removed pursuant
to section 1442 or 1443 of this title shall be reviewable by appeal or
28 U.S.C. § 1447(d) (emphasis added); see also Kirchner v. Putnam Funds Trust, 547
U.S. 633, 642 (2006) (recognizing that “[w]here the [remand] order is based on one
of the [grounds enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c)], review is unavailable no matter
how plain the legal error in ordering the remand”) (citing Briscoe v. Bell, 432 U.S.
404, 413-14 n.13 (1977)).
B. Diversity Jurisdiction
“Diversity jurisdiction exists where the suit is between citizens of different
states and the amount in controversy exceeds the statutorily prescribed amount, in this
case $75,000.” Williams v. Best Buy Co., 269 F.3d 1316, 1319 (11th Cir. 2001) (citing
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)). Therefore, removal jurisdiction based upon diversity mandates:
(1) a complete diversity of citizenship between the plaintiff(s) and the defendant(s);
and (2) satisfaction of the amount in controversy requirement.
1. Citizenship Requirement
Diversity jurisdiction “requires complete diversity—every plaintiff must be
diverse from every defendant.” Palmer v. Hosp. Auth. of Randolph County, 22 F.3d
1559,1564 (11th Cir. 1994) (citation omitted). “Citizenship, not residence, is the key
fact that must be alleged in the complaint to establish diversity for a natural person.”
Taylor, 30 F.3d at 1367.
2. Amount in Controversy Requirement
Regarding this quantitative requirement, “when Congress created lower federal
courts, it limited their diversity jurisdiction to cases in which there was a minimum
monetary amount in controversy between the parties.” Smith v. GTE Corp., 236 F.3d
1292, 1299 (11th Cir. 2001) (citing Snyder v. Harris, 394 U.S. 332, 334 (1969)).
Today, the threshold amount in controversy for diversity jurisdiction, excluding
interests and costs, is that which exceeds $75,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) (“The district
courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in
controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs . .
A defendant can remove a suit to federal district court if that court has original
jurisdiction over the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). As explained above, federal district
courts have original jurisdiction over all civil actions between parties of diverse
citizenship where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interest
and costs. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
1. Two Methods for Removal
The removal procedure statute contemplates two ways that a case may be
removed based on diversity jurisdiction. The first way (formerly referred to as “first
The now-defunct distinction between “first paragraph” and “second paragraph” removals
is rendered obsolete by a clearer version of the removal statute, as amended by the Federal Courts
Jurisdiction and Venue Clarification Act of 2011, PL 112-63, December 7, 2011, 125 Stat. 758,
which added subsections to 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b). The substance of the removal procedure is not
affected by the stylistic changes to the statute; therefore, the previous case law discussing “first
paragraph” and “second paragraph” removals is still applicable despite its outdated terminology.
The recently revised version of the removal procedure statute reads, in relevant part, as follows:
(b) Requirements; generally.-(1) The notice of removal of a civil action or proceeding shall be filed within 30
days after the receipt by the defendant, through service or otherwise, of a copy
of the initial pleading setting forth the claim for relief upon which such action
or proceeding is based, or within 30 days after the service of summons upon the
defendant if such initial pleading has then been filed in court and is not required
to be served on the defendant, whichever period is shorter.
(A) When a civil action is removed solely under section 1441(a), all
defendants who have been properly joined and served must join in or
consent to the removal of the action.
(B) Each defendant shall have 30 days after receipt by or service on that
defendant of the initial pleading or summons described in paragraph (1)
to file the notice of removal.
(C) If defendants are served at different times, and a later-served
defendant files a notice of removal, any earlier-served defendant may
consent to the removal even though that earlier-served defendant did not
previously initiate or consent to removal.
(3) Except as provided in subsection (c), if the case stated by the initial pleading
is not removable, a notice of removal may be filed within 30 days after receipt
by the defendant, through service or otherwise, of a copy of an amended
jurisdictional grounds for removal are apparent on the face of the initial pleadings.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1). The second way (formerly referred to as “second
paragraph removals”) contemplates removal where the jurisdictional grounds later
become apparent through the defendant’s receipt of “an amended pleading, motion,
order or other paper from which it may first be ascertained that the case is one which
is or has become removable.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(3). In this case, removal was
premised on the initial pleadings.
2. Unspecified Damages
Where, as here, the plaintiff has not pled a specific amount of damages, the
removing defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount
in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional minimum. Williams, 269 F.3d at 1319
(citations omitted). In assessing whether the defendant has met this burden, the court
should first determine from looking at the complaint whether it is “facially apparent”
that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Id. In making this determination, the
court is not bound by the plaintiff’s representations regarding his or her claim, nor
must it assume that the plaintiff is in the best position to evaluate the amount of
pleading, motion, order or other paper from which it may first be ascertained
that the case is one which is or has become removable.
28 U.S.C. § 1446(b). As such, the “first paragraph removals” discussed in prior case law are now
embodied in subsection (1), and the “second paragraph removals” are now encompassed in
damages sought. Roe v. Michelin North Am., Inc., 613 F.3d 1058, 1061 (11th Cir.
2010) (citing Pretka v. Kolter City Plaza II, Inc., 608 F.3d 744, 771 (11th Cir. 2010).
Indeed, in some cases, the defendant or the court itself may be better-situated to
accurately assess the amount in controversy. Id. (citing Pretka, 608 F.3d at 771). The
court may make “reasonable deductions, reasonable inferences, or other reasonable
extrapolations” from the pleadings to determine whether it is facially apparent that
a case is removable. Id. at 1061-62 (quoting Pretka, 608 F.3d at 754). Put simply, a
district court need not “suspend reality or shelve common sense in determining
whether the face of a complaint . . . establishes the jurisdictional amount.” Id. at 1062
(quoting Pretka, 608 F.3d at 770). Instead, courts may use their “judicial experience
and common sense” in deciding whether the case stated in a complaint meets federal
jurisdictional requirements. Id. (footnote omitted).
If the jurisdictional amount is not facially apparent from the complaint, the
court should look to the removal notice and may examine accompanying evidence
provided by the defendant. Pretka, 608 F.3d at 754 (citations omitted). There are no
limits to the types of evidence a defendant may offer in this context. Id. at 755. He or
she may introduce their own affidavits, declarations, or other documentation –
provided, of course, that removal is procedurally proper. Id. (citations omitted). The
overall point in this analysis is that “a removing defendant is not required to prove the
amount in controversy beyond all doubt or to banish all uncertainty about it.” Id. at
754 (citations omitted).
As explained below, NPC has adequately proven federal subject matter
jurisdiction in this case. Specifically, it has shown by a preponderance of the evidence
that the amount in controversy between it and Ms. Jones was over $75,000 at the time
of removal. It persuasively argues that the nature of Ms. Jones’s allegations, the types
of damages she requests, and other relevant case facts cumulatively allow the court
to infer that she will seek to recover damages over the jurisdictional minimum.
Further, NPC convincingly supports its argument by highlighting Ms. Jones’s refusal
to stipulate that she is seeking less than the jurisdictional minimum. In response, Ms.
Jones misconstrues prevailing case law in this Circuit and NPC’s removal arguments.
She ultimately fails to generate doubt about federal jurisdiction over this action
sufficient to warrant remand under the review standard outlined above.
A. It is facially apparent from her complaint that Ms. Jones is seeking
more than $75,000 in damages, exclusive of interests and costs.
Ms. Jones’s state-court complaint itself reveals that greater than $75,000 was
more likely than not “in controversy” at the time NPC removed the action. See Pretka,
608 F.3d at 751 (“A court's analysis of the amount-in-controversy requirement
focuses on how much is in controversy at the time of removal, not later.”) (citations
omitted). As NPC documents in its brief, Ms. Jones alleges that (1) she has suffered
several serious physical and emotional injuries, (2) she continues to suffer such
injuries, and (3) she expects to do so in the future. See Doc. 10 at 2-3. Specifically,
she identifies the following injuries in her complaint:
That her right femur fractured, requiring surgical repair and placement
of rods and screws;
That she incurred pain and a stress reaction in her left femur that also
required surgery to place rods and screws to prevent a complete fracture;
That she underwent an unnecessary lumbar discectomy (back surgery)
in a misguided attempt to alleviate her right thigh pain;
That she underwent and continues to undergo “painful physical therapy”
and “continues to suffer pain in and about efforts to strengthen her legs”;
That she is suffering from “loss of mobility”;
That she incurred medical bills and will continue to do so in the future;
That she experienced “pain and suffering, mental anguish, anxiety and
worry,” both in the past and continuing into the future; and
That she has and continues to experience “loss of enjoyment of life and
a diminished quality of life.”
Doc. 8-1 at 9-10. She further maintains that her injuries are permanent in nature. Id.
Besides NPC, Ms. Jones has also named thirty fictitious entities as defendants.
Id. at 2-3. These include those who:
Participated in the manufacture of Reclast;
Distributed or participated in the distribution of Reclast;
Wrote, designed, approved, modified, and/or participated in the writing
and production of the labeling for Reclast;
Were responsible for ensuring, checking, and/or confirming that the
warnings and label on Reclast were accurate and adequate to advise and
warn users of the dangers of femur fractures;
Were responsible for testing and reporting test results of Reclast to
Approved statements made, or made statements and representations,
regarding the safety of and use of Reclast;
Are the successors-in-interest of any of the named or above-described
fictitious party defendants; and
Aided and abetted the wrongdoing alleged.
Id. at 3-5. Moreover, Ms. Jones seeks punitive damages against NPC (and presumably
the other defendants) for “consciously or deliberately engag[ing] in oppression, fraud,
wantonness, or malice with regard to” her. Id. at 13. The court may reasonably infer
from this request that Ms. Jones is seeking greater recovery than if she were merely
seeking compensation for her injuries. See Overton v. Wyeth, No. CA-10-0491-KD-C,
2010 WL 4717048, at *4 (S.D. Ala. Oct. 29, 2010) (holding that plaintiff’s allegation
that the defendants acted “wantonly” was a relevant factor in assessing the amount
in controversy because it “means the damages should be greater and . . . also implies
the [injuries] could have been prevented”) (quoting White-Spinner Constr., Inc. v.
Zurich Am. Ins. Co., No. 10-0158-WS-C, 2010 WL 3489956, at *3 (S.D. Ala. Aug.
30, 2010)), report and recommendation adopted by 2010 WL 4716972 (S.D. Ala.
Nov. 15, 2010).
Put more succinctly by NPC, it “defies logic and common sense” that Ms.
Jones would be seeking $75,000 or less “given [her] allegations of three major
surgeries, painful ongoing physical therapy, continuing pain and suffering, both
physical and mental, permanent injuries and disabilities, and future medical bills, as
well as punitive damages against a major corporation (and up to 30 fictional
defendants).” Doc. 10 at 3. Given this “reasonable deduction,” the court finds that
“judicial experience and common sense” dictate that Ms. Jones’s allegations “facially
establish the jurisdictionally required amount in controversy.” Roe, 613 F.3d at 1063.
In her memorandum advocating remand, Ms. Jones does not satisfactorily rebut
these conclusions. She dismisses NPC’s analysis of her complaint allegations as
unfounded “speculative musings.” Doc. 8 at 5. In making this argument, she
construes Pretka as mandating NPC to produce independent evidence concerning the
amount in controversy before the court may draw “reasonable deductions, reasonable
inferences, or other reasonable extrapolations” from such evidence. Id. at 6-7 (citing
Pretka, 608 F.3d at 754).
This interpretation is mistaken. Pretka clarified the scope of the Eleventh
Circuit’s earlier decision in Lowery v. Ala. Power Co., 483 F.3d 1184 (11th Cir.
2007). See 608 F.3d at 747 (citing Lowery). The Lowery court had held that it would
be “impermissible speculation” for the court to estimate the jurisdictional amount in
controversy “without the benefit of any evidence [on] the value of individual claims.”
483 F.3d at 1220. The Pretka court, in turn, emphasized that the defendant in Lowery
had only included “naked pleadings” in its removal notice and a “conclusory
allegation” that the jurisdictional requirement had been satisfied. 608 F.3d at 752-53.
The record contained “no specific factual details, no discovery, no affidavits or
declarations, no testimony, no interrogatories, and no exhibits other than the
complaints.” Id. at 753. So the Lowery holding concerned the narrow question of
“how to apply the preponderance of the evidence standard in the ‘fact-free context’
of that particular case.” Id. (quoting Lowery, 483 F.3d at 1209).
Pretka clarified that Lowery’s injunction against “impermissible speculation”
did not prohibit “the use of deduction, inference, or other extrapolation of the amount
in controversy.” Id. Separately, Pretka confirmed that Lowery did not preclude
defendants from introducing their own evidence to establish removability in “first
paragraph” removals; in other words, they are not constrained by the documents the
plaintiffs (or the court) give them in such scenarios. Id. at 757-78. Therefore, under
Pretka, a defendant may offer independent evidence proving an amount in
controversy exceeding the jurisdictional floor, and courts may draw inferences,
deductions, and extrapolations from such evidence to resolve the jurisdictional
question. Ms. Jones contorts this holding into a requirement that NPC substantiate
its amount-in-controversy claims with independent evidence and a prohibition on this
court inferring, deducing, or extrapolating the jurisdictional amount from simply the
complaint allegations. See Doc. 8 at 6-7.
This construction sorely misreads both Pretka and prevailing Eleventh Circuit
precedent. See Roe, 613 F.3d at 1061-62 (“Eleventh Circuit precedent permits district
courts to make ‘reasonable deductions, reasonable inferences, or other reasonable
extrapolations’ from the pleadings to determine whether it is facially apparent that a
case is removable.”) (quoting Pretka, 608 F.3d at 754) (emphasis added). In Roe, as
with the instant case, the plaintiff (Roe) was seeking punitive, but unspecified,
damages. Id. at 1059-60. The defendant (Michelin) removed the case to federal court,
and Roe sought remand based on Michelin’s failure to prove the jurisdictional amount
by a preponderance of the evidence. Id. at 1060. Michelin opposed the motion,
claiming that the nature of Roe’s allegations alone evidenced an amount in
controversy over $75,000. Id. The court agreed with Michelin and held that “courts
may use their judicial experience and common sense in determining whether the case
stated in a complaint meets federal jurisdictional requirements.” Id. at 1062 (footnote
omitted) (emphasis added). In such a situation, a court “need not give credence to a
plaintiff’s representation that the value of the claim is indeterminate.” Id. at 1064.
Ms. Jones tries to cabin Roe’s clear holding by distinguishing it as uniquely
suited to wrongful death scenarios. Doc. 8 at 7-8. Her attempted distinction is
unconvincing. The Roe court certainly reviewed Michelin’s jurisdictional claim in
light of Alabama’s Wrongful Death Act (under which Roe was suing Michelin). 613
F.3d at 1065. And the court did identify the cause of action invoked as a relevant
consideration in removal actions. See id. (“To determine whether a complaint sets
forth a claim that meets the jurisdictional minimum . . . we examine the allegations
in light of the particular causes of action chosen by the plaintiff.”). But there is no
evidence that the court meant to limit its holding strictly to wrongful death actions.
See id. at 1063-64 (“This common-sense approach to deciding a jurisdictional
challenge is especially useful in cases brought under Alabama’s Wrongful Death Act,
in which no compensatory damages may be recovered.”) (footnote omitted) (emphasis
added); see also Overton, 2010 WL 4717048, at *4 n.3 (“While this Court has applied
Roe’s mandate to district court judges to use ‘judicial experience and common sense’
to determine that the jurisdictional minimum was met in a wrongful death case . . . the
undersigned does not believe that Roe’s ‘common-sense approach’ must be limited
to such cases.”) (citations omitted). Ms. Jones’s citations to Butler v. Charter
Communications, 755 F. Supp. 2d 1192 (M.D. Ala. 2010), and SUA Insurance
Company v. Classic Home Builders, LLC, 751 F. Supp. 2d 1245 (S.D. Ala. 2010),
are unavailing in this context. Both of these decisions emphasize that Roe should not
be applied to non-wrongful-death cases just because the plaintiff seeks punitive
damages. See Butler, 755 F. Supp. 2d at 1195; SUA Ins. Co., 751 F. Supp. 2d at 1255
(holding that the court was “not free simply to assume” that the jurisdictional
requirement was met because the plaintiff requested punitive damages).
The court makes no such assumption here. Although Ms. Jones describes her
suit as merely a “products liability case,” Doc. 8 at 10, her allegations describe
serious personal injury. She claims she has suffered atypical fractures to both her
femurs, and she faults NPC for three corrective surgeries she had to endure as a result
– including a wholly unnecessary operation on her back. Overall, she claims (by the
court’s estimate) eleven different types of injuries that she has suffered because of
NPC, whether in the past, presently, or ongoing into the future. And, she asserts all
these injuries are permanent in nature. NPC asks this court to employ its “judicial
experience and common sense” to determine it more likely than not that Ms. Jones
seeks at least the jurisdictional minimum. The court considers this a reasonable
inference from the nature of Ms. Jones’s allegations. As the Eleventh Circuit
explained in Roe, preventing the court from making such a logical deduction would
allow plaintiffs like Ms. Jones to evade federal jurisdiction through “artful pleading.”
613 F.3d at 1064; see also id. (“[P]reventing a district judge from acknowledging the
value of the claim, merely because it is unspecified by the plaintiff, would force the
court to abdicate its statutory right to hear the case.”).
B. NPC persuasively buttresses its jurisdictional argument by highlighting
Ms. Jones’s refusal to stipulate that she is seeking less than $75,000.
Although the court finds it facially apparent from the pleadings that the
jurisdictional minimum is met here, NPC supplements its case by underscoring Ms.
Jones’s refusal to stipulate that she is seeking less than the jurisdictional minimum.
See Doc. 10 at 5-6; Doc. 10-1 ¶ 2. The court is aware that “a refusal to stipulate
standing alone does not satisfy [the defendant’s] burden of proof on the jurisdictional
issue.” Williams, 269 F.3d at 1320 (emphasis added). But, NPC obviously is not
relying exclusively on Ms. Jones’s refusal to stipulate. Rather, it simply argues that
it is relevant that she would not so stipulate – or, indeed, substantiate at all her
arguments on the amount at issue here. The court agrees, and considers such refusal
in reaching its decision to deny remand. See Devore v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp.,
658 F. Supp. 2d 1372, 1380 (M.D. Fla. 2009) (“[A] plaintiff’s refusal to stipulate or
admit that she is not seeking damages in excess of the requisite amount should be
considered when assessing the amount in controversy.”) (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted).
NPC has proven by a preponderance of the evidence that more than $75,000
was in controversy at the time it removed the case from state court. That this is so is
facially evident from Ms. Jones’s complaint allegations. But this conclusion is
buffered by her blunt refusal to concede that she is seeking less than the jurisdictional
minimum. “[T]he Federal courts should not sanction devices intended to prevent a
removal to a Federal court where one has that right, and should be equally vigilant to
protect the right to proceed in the Federal court as to permit the state courts, in proper
cases, to retain their own jurisdiction.” Wecker v. Nt’l Enameling and Stamping Co.,
204 U.S. 176, 186 (1907). While courts are to construe the removal statutes narrowly,
they should not “rewrite them to add restrictions that cannot be found in their
language and that would run counter to their purposes.” Pretka, 608 F.3d at 766
(citation omitted). Accordingly, Ms. Jones’s Motion to Remand is DENIED.
Signed this the 2nd of July, 2013
VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS
United States District Judge
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