Reaves v. Airnb-California et al
ORDER ACCEPTING THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, denying #10 Motion to Join Parties, filed by Kathy Reaves, et.al and instructing the Clerk of Court to remand this case to the Dutch Fork Magistrate Court in Richland County SC. Signed by Honorable Terry L Wooten on November 13, 2023. (kbos)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Case No. 3:23-cv-4970-TLW
Hotel Medellin, LLC,
Kathy Reaves “& Et. Al,”,
Plaintiff Hotel Medellin, LLC filed a “Rule to Vacate or Show Cause (Eviction)”
against Defendant Kathy Reaves in the Dutch Fork Magistrate Court in Richland
County, South Carolina. ECF No. 1–1. Plaintiff seeks to evict Defendant from an
Airbnb short term rental. Id. Defendant, proceeding pro se, filed a notice of removal
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1446, removing this action from the Dutch Fork Magistrate
Court to federal district court. ECF No. 1. Defendant’s removal and Plaintiff’s
complaint were referred to the Honorable Thomas E. Rogers, III, United States
Magistrate Judge, for initial review. On October 10, 2023, the Magistrate Judge issued
an order (hereinafter, the “Report”) 1 recommending the Court remand this matter back
to the Dutch Fork Magistrate Court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. ECF No. 5.
Plaintiff has filed objections to the order along with a motion to join parties. ECF Nos.
10 & 11.
The Magistrate Judge’s recommendation is based on his conclusion that this
Court lack subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s state court eviction case against
The Magistrate Judge’s notes that the Court can treat the order as one subject to appeal from the
Magistrate Judge to the District Judge, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a); see also 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), or
as a report and recommendation. ECF No. 5 at 3. The Court elects to review the Magistrate Judge’s
order as a report and recommendation.
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Defendant. ECF No. 5. Hence, it is not subject to removal and must be remanded. As
noted in the Report, the basis for removal, i.e., the Court’s subject matter jurisdiction,
must be apparent from the allegations in Plaintiff’s complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1446. In her
notice of removal, Defendant states that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, which sets forth the basis for federal question
jurisdiction. ECF No. 1 at 1. However, as noted in the Magistrate Judge’s Report, “there
is no federal question jurisdiction arising from the allegations by the Plaintiff in the
state court action.” ECF No. 5 at 2. Similarly, the Report concludes that there is also
not diversity jurisdiction because both Plaintiff and Defendant are residents of South
Carolina. Id. at 2–3. Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court
remand this matter back to the Dutch Fork Magistrate’s Court. Id. at 4.
Defendant filed objections to the Report. ECF No. 11. Her objections (1) assert
that this case should not be in the Florence Division of Federal District Court; 2 (2)
make arguments in connection to another one of her pending federal cases, which are
unrelated to this eviction proceeding; (3) state that the Dutch Fork Magistrate Court is
not the proper jurisdiction because it lacks jurisdiction over Airbnb, and (4) assert that
federal court is appropriate because she wants to bring claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 arising out of the Cayce Police Department’s apparent assistance in her eviction.
ECF No. 11. Moreover, Defendant has filed “a motion to join parties” wherein she seeks
to add Michael Shoemaker, 3 Airbnb, the City of Cayce, Officer White, Officer Walker,
This objection is without basis. This case is in the Columbia Division as evidenced by the fact that
“3” is the first number in this matter’s civil action number.
3 Michael Shoemaker is the sole owner of the Plaintiff LLC. ECF No. 15.
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and several John Does as third-party defendants. 4 ECF No. 10. Defendant states that
her claims against the third-party defendants are brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1331, 1441 & 1446, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the
“Constitutional Torts” section of “Article I of the Declaration of Rights under the South
Carolina Constitution and Due Process under the South Carolina State Constitution.”
Id. at 9. Plaintiff has filed a letter opposing Plaintiff’s removal. ECF No. 15.
In reviewing Defendant’s objections to the order, the Court is charged with
reviewing de novo any portion of the Magistrate Judge’s Report to which a specific
objection is registered, and may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
recommendations contained in that report. 28 U.S.C. § 636. In conducting its review,
the Court applies the following standard:
The magistrate judge makes only a recommendation to the Court, to
which any party may file written objections.... The Court is not bound by
the recommendation of the magistrate judge but, instead, retains
responsibility for the final determination. The Court is required to make
a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified
findings or recommendation as to which an objection is made. However,
the Court is not required to review, under a de novo or any other
standard, the factual or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to
those portions of the report and recommendation to which no objections
are addressed. While the level of scrutiny entailed by the Court’s review
of the Report thus depends on whether or not objections have been filed,
in either case the Court is free, after review, to accept, reject, or modify
any of the magistrate judge’s findings or recommendations.
Wallace v. Housing Auth. of the City of Columbia, 791 F. Supp. 137, 138 (D.S.C. 1992)
(citations omitted). Moreover, to constitute a “specific objection” warranting de novo
review, an objection must be made with “sufficient specificity so as reasonably to alert
Defendant states that these individuals are “plaintiffs.” The Court finds that they would be thirdparty defendants under Rule 14.
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the district court to the true ground for the objection.” United States v. Midgette, 478
F.3d 616, 622 (4th Cir. 2007).
The Court concludes that Defendant’s objections provide no basis for rejecting
the Magistrate Judge’s Report. As the Magistrate Judge correctly concluded, this Court
is without jurisdiction to adjudicate this state eviction proceeding. First, there is no
federal question jurisdiction because Plaintiff’s action does not arise under a federal
statute or constitutional provision. Although Defendant did not file Plaintiff’s eviction
application with her notice of removal as required by § 1446, she did provide the Dutch
Fork Magistrate Court’s “Rule to Vacate or Show Cause (Eviction).” ECF No. 1–1. That
document states that Plaintiff’s eviction proceeding is based on S.C. Code Ann. § 27–
37–10, which governs grounds for ejection of a tenant under South Carolina law. Id.
Given that Plaintiff’s cause of action arises under a state statute, there is clearly no
federal question implicated in this matter.
Second, the Magistrate Judge’s Report correctly concludes that the Court cannot
exercise diversity jurisdiction over this matter. This is because Plaintiff and Defendant
are residents of South Carolina. Specifically, the “Rule to Vacate or Show Cause
(Eviction)” states that both Plaintiff and Defendant are residents of Columbia, South
Carolina. Id. Thus, this Court cannot exercise jurisdiction because the parties are not
Finally, the Court must also deny Defendant’s motion to join parties. First, even
if the Court granted the motion, the Court would still lack diversity jurisdiction because
complete diversity would not exist among the parties because Defendant seeks to join
several South Carolina individuals and entities to this action as third-party defendants.
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Moreover, the Court must deny Defendant’s motion to the extent it seeks to establish a
basis for federal question jurisdiction. As noted, subject matter jurisdiction is governed
by the allegations in Plaintiff’s complaint at the time of removal. Dennison v. Carolina
Payday Loans, Inc., 549 F.3d 941, 943 (4th Cir. 2008) (noting that “federal jurisdiction .
. . is fixed at the time the . . . notice of removal is filed.”). Here, Defendant cannot
establish a basis for federal question jurisdiction following removal by asserting
purported constitutional claims against several third-party defendants.
Accordingly, in light of the standard in Wallace, the Court has carefully reviewed
both the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Defendant’s objections. For the reasons stated
by the Magistrate Judge, the Report, ECF No. 5, is accepted, Plaintiff’s objections, ECF
No. 11, are overruled, and Plaintiff’s motion to join parties, ECF No. 10, is denied. The
Court instructs the Clerk of Court to remand this case to the Dutch Fork Magistrate
Court in Richland County, South Carolina.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
November 13, 2023
Columbia, South Carolina
__s/Terry L. Wooten
Senior United States District Judge
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