Moises v. Par Pacific Holdings, Inc.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND re 8 - Signed by JUDGE JILL A. OTAKE on 2/16/2021. (emt, )
Case 1:20-cv-00533-JAO-RT Document 15 Filed 02/16/21 Page 1 of 4
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF HAWAII
CIVIL NO. 20-00533 JAO-RT
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S
MOTION TO REMAND
PAR PACIFIC HOLDINGS, INC., et al.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO REMAND
Before the Court is Plaintiff Aaron Moises’ Motion to Remand, filed
January 28, 2021. ECF No. 8. Defendant Par Pacific Holdings, Inc.
(“Defendant”), who removed this action from the Circuit Court of the First Circuit,
State of Hawai‘i, does not oppose the Motion.1 ECF No. 14. The Court finds this
matter suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to Rule 7.1(c) of the
Local Rules of Practice for the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. For
the following reasons, the Motion is GRANTED.
Defendants Careonsite, Inc. (“Careonsite”) and Patrick Lam, M.D. (“Lam”)
have not appeared and they did not file responses to the Motion, which were due
by February 12, 2021.
Case 1:20-cv-00533-JAO-RT Document 15 Filed 02/16/21 Page 2 of 4
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Plaintiff moves to remand for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because
Plaintiff and Lam are both citizens of Hawai‘i. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1441, a
defendant may remove a civil action brought in a state court to federal district
court if the district court has original jurisdiction. Abrego Abrego v. The Dow
Chemical Co., 443 F.3d 676, 679-80 (9th Cir. 2006). “Removal . . . statutes are
‘strictly construed,’ and a ‘defendant seeking removal has the burden to establish
that removal is proper and any doubt is resolved against removability.’” Hawaii ex
rel. Louie v. HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., 761 F.3d 1027, 1034 (9th Cir. 2014)
(quoting Luther v. Countrywide Home Loans Serv. LP, 533 F.3d 1031, 1034 (9th
Cir. 2008)); Hunter v. Phillip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 2009)
(quoting Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (per curiam)) (“The
‘strong presumption against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always
has the burden of establishing that removal is proper,’ and that the court resolves
all ambiguity in favor of remand to state court.”); Durham v. Lockheed Martin
Corp., 445 F.3d 1247, 1252 (9th Cir. 2006). Courts should presume that a case lies
outside the limited jurisdiction of the federal courts. Hunter, 582 F.3d at 1042.
Federal district courts have original jurisdiction over cases where the amount
in controversy exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and where the
matter in controversy is between citizens of different states. See 28 U.S.C.
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§ 1332(a)(1). Complete diversity of citizenship requires that each of the plaintiffs
be a citizen of a different state than each of the defendants. See Williams v. United
Airlines, Inc., 500 F.3d 1019, 1025 (9th Cir. 2007) (citing Exxon Mobil Corp. v.
Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 553 (2005)); Morris v. Princess Cruises,
Inc., 236 F.3d 1061, 1067 (9th Cir. 2001). Moreover, actions based on diversity
jurisdiction may only be removed if none of the properly joined and served
defendants is a citizen of the state in which the action is brought.2 See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(b). Thus, “[d]efendants may remove an action on the basis of diversity of
citizenship if there is complete diversity between all named plaintiffs and all
named defendants, and no defendant is a citizen of the forum State.” Lincoln Prop.
Co. v. Roche, 546 U.S. 81, 84 (2005).
Plaintiff cites the forum defendant rule as the basis for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. The forum defendant rule precludes removal “if any of the parties in
interest properly joined and served as defendants is a citizen of the State in which
such action is brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2). However, despite Plaintiff’s
assertion to the contrary, it is a procedural—not jurisdictional—requirement. See
Lively v. Wild Oats Markets, Inc., 456 F.3d 933, 942 (9th Cir. 2006) (“We hold
that the forum defendant rule embodied in § 1441(b) is a procedural requirement,
and thus a violation of this rule constitutes a waivable non-jurisdictional defect
subject to the 30–day time limit imposed by § 1447(c).”). Remand based on the
forum defendant rule must therefore be asserted within 30 days of removal. But as
explained herein, the lack of complete diversity deprives the Court of subject
matter jurisdiction, not the forum defendant rule.
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Here, complete diversity is lacking because Plaintiff and Lam—and possibly
Careonsite—share Hawai‘i citizenship.3 Therefore, the case must be remanded for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
For the reasons stated herein, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s Motion to
Remand and REMANDS this action to the First Circuit Court, State of Hawai‘i.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Honolulu, Hawai‘i, February 16, 2021.
Civil No. 20-00533 JAO-RT; Moises v. Par Pacific Holdings, Inc., et al.; ORDER GRANTING
PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO REMAND
The Court screened the Notice of Removal for jurisdictional deficiencies but
because Defendant alleged that Careonsite and Lam were not properly joined or
served, see ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 6-8, the Court did not issue an order to show cause
regarding the propriety of removal. See Hunter, 582 F.3d at 1043 (identifying an
exception to the requirement for complete diversity when a non-diverse defendant
was fraudulently joined).
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