Womack v. Harrison et al
ORDER OF REMAND granting 10 the State's motion to remand; remanding the case to the Pulaski County Circuit Court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction; and denying as moot 5 Mr. Womack's motion to amend his notice of removal. Signed by Magistrate Judge Beth Deere on 10/11/2016. (mef)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
STEVEN L. WOMACK
CASE NO. 4:16-CV-661-JM-BD
ROSIE M. HARRISON, et al.
ORDER OF REMAND
Plaintiff Steven L. Womack filed a pro se notice of removal (docket entry #2)
seeking to remove a civil case from the Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas. Mr.
Womack alleges that the Honorable Morgan E. Welch entered a judgment against him for
$11,606.69 for past due child support even though he had not been served with the
complaint as required by Rule 4(i) of the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure. (#5 at pp.
The State of Arkansas, Office of Child Support Enforcement, has responded to the
notice of removal and has moved to remand the case to the Pulaski County Circuit Court.
(#10) For the reasons that follow, the motion to remand (#10) is GRANTED.1
In order for a civil defendant to remove a complaint from state to federal court, he
must file a notice of removal that contains a short, plain statement of the grounds for
Judge James M. Moody Jr. referred the case to this Court for disposition of all
pretrial matters. (#3)
removal together with a copy of all process, pleadings, and orders served upon him in the
state court proceeding. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a).
Here, Mr. Womack asserts that removal is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1443, which
provides for removal of a civil action:
(1) Against any person who is denied or cannot enforce in the courts of such
State a right under any law providing for the equal civil rights of citizens of the
United States, or of all persons within the jurisdiction thereof;
(2) For any act under color of authority derived from any law providing for
equal rights, or for refusing to do any act on the ground that it would be
inconsistent with such law.
As support for removal, Mr. Womack claims he:
is [a] disabled handicapped person and shall be discrimination against the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 the Federal Law prohibit and banned discriminate
on the basis of race, color religion, and national origin and shall be enforce
and including in the complaint and prohibit all other threats and harassment
by State of Arkansas Office of Child Support Enforcement Mark L. Ross
Arkansas Bar Number: 79249 Attorney for State of Arkansas Office of
Child Support Enforcement, the Honorable Morgan (Chip) Welch Pulaski
County Sixteenth Division Circuit Judge of Pulaski County, Arkansas, the
Honorable Larry Crane, Circuit Clerk his Deputy Clerk Bettina J. Boughter,
Deputy Clerk. [sic]
(#5 at 4) The United States Supreme Court has interpreted the phrase, “any law providing
for the equal civil rights of citizens” in § 1443(1) to mean any law providing for specific
civil rights ensuring racial equality. Georgia v. Rachel, 384 U.S. 780, 792 (1966)
(emphasis added); Neal v. Wilson, 112 F.3d 351, 355 (8th Cir. 1997). Mr. Womack
references the Civil Rights Act, equal rights, and due process, but does not allege that he
has been discriminated against based on his race. (#5 at 2-4) The Court has held that
broad allegations of deprivations of equal protection and due process rights do not qualify
for removal under section 1443(1). See Johnson v. Mississippi, 421 U.S. 213, 219
Furthermore, even if Mr. Womack had sufficiently asserted a cause of action under
the Civil Rights Act, removal under §1443(1) is warranted only if he can show that he has
been denied or cannot enforce that right in state court. See Georgia v. Rachel, 384 U.S.
at 800 (removal is warranted only if there is a solid basis for predicting that the
defendant’s civil rights will be denied in the state court); see also Neal, 112 F.3d at 355.
Mr. Womack has not asserted that he cannot enforce his rights in state court. Instead, he
alleges that he was prevented from reopening his state case because the clerk required
him to pay a reopening fee. (#2 at 2, 24; #5 at 2, 37) There is no indication that Mr.
Womack moved to proceed in forma pauperis or made any attempt to file an appeal of the
trial court’s judgment. Based on Mr. Womack’s allegations, there is not a solid basis to
believe the state court would deny his civil rights in order to remove his case to federal
court under §1443(1).
In any event, the Supreme Court has interpreted § 1443(2) to “confer privilege of
removal only upon federal officers or agents and those authorized to act with or for them
in affirmatively executing duties under any federal law providing for equal civil rights.”
Greenwood v. Peacock, 384 U.S. 808, 824 (1966). Mr. Womack’s allegations do not
support removal under § 1443(2).
Mr. Womack has not established that this Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1443. Accordingly, the State’s motion to remand (#10) is GRANTED. The case is
remanded to the Circuit Court of Pulaski County, 16th Division, Case No. 60DR-981861, under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Mr. Womack’s
motion to amend his notice of removal (#5) is DENIED as moot.
IT IS SO ORDERED, this 11th day of October, 2016.
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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