Johnson v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 11/27/2017. (sat, Chambers)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
CARRIE L. JOHNSON
Civil Action No. DKC 17-2347
STATE FARM MUTUAL INSURANCE
COMPANY and BRITTANY LYNN EDGAR :
Presently pending and ready for resolution is a motion for
attorney’s fees filed by Plaintiff Carrie Johnson (“Plaintiff”)
(ECF No. 16).
The issues have been briefed, and the court now
rules, no hearing being deemed necessary.
Local Rule 105.6.
For the following reasons, the motion will be denied.
action against Defendants State Farm Mutual Insurance Company
and Brittney Edgar in the Circuit Court for Charles County,
(ECF No. 12 ¶ 2).
Defendant Edgar was served with
the summons and complaint on or about July 31. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 7).
Circuit Court for Charles County, asserting that diversity of
citizenship confers jurisdiction on this court.
(ECF No. 1).
On August 16, the court issued an order directing the parties to
show cause why the case should not be remanded as it did not
appear that removal by a Maryland citizen was proper, under what
is called the forum defendant rule.1
(ECF No. 11).
filed a response to the court’s show cause order, noting that
matter be remanded.
(ECF No. 13).
filed a motion to remand.
Plaintiff also separately
(ECF No. 12).
Defendant Edgar also
filed a response to the court’s show cause order consenting to
(ECF No. 14).
Accordingly, on August 30, the court
issued an order granting Plaintiff’s unopposed motion to remand
and remanding the case to the Circuit Court for Charles County.
(ECF No. 15).
That same day, Plaintiff filed the pending motion
for attorney’s fees.
(ECF No. 16).
response in opposition on September 6.
Defendant Edgar filed a
(ECF No. 18).
A court may award “payment of just costs and any actual
expenses, including attorney fees, incurred as a result of the
28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
“Absent unusual circumstances,
courts may award attorney’s fees under § 1447(c) only where the
Martin v. Franklin Capital Corp., 546 U.S.
28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2) provides: “A civil action otherwise
removable solely on the basis of the jurisdiction under section
1332(a) of this title may not be removed 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.”
132, 141 (2005).
Removal based on diversity jurisdiction is
normally proper when there is complete diversity between the
The forum defendant rule, which precludes removal by a
defendant that is a citizen of the forum state, is a waivable
Medish v. Johns Hopkins Health Sys. Corp.,
No. JKB-17-1448, 2017 WL 4167399, at *3 (D.Md. Sept. 20, 2017).
In this case, Plaintiff chose not to waive and thus filed a
motion to remand.
Although the court finds that removal was
improper, both parties agreed in response to the court’s show
cause order that the case should be remanded to state court, and
without significant delay the case was remanded to state court
on August 30, only 15 days after the case was removed.
of these circumstances, it does not appear that Defendant Edgar
removed the case “for the purpose of prolonging litigation and
imposing costs on the opposing party,” as Defendant Edgar had
only been served with the summons and complaint on July 31.
Martin, 546 U.S. at 140 (“The appropriate test for awarding fees
under § 1447(c) should recognize the desire to deter removals
sought for the purpose of prolonging litigation and imposing
request for attorney’s fees will be denied.
For the foregoing reasons, the motion for attorney fees
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW
United States District Judge
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