Smith v. Walmart, Inc.
Memorandum Opinion and Order.... The Court therefore concludes that the Unopposed Motion for Leave to Join Party (ECF No. 6) should be, and is hereby, GRANTED. Accordingly, it is ORDERED that this case is REMANDED to the 236th Judicial District Court of Tarrant County, Texas. (Ordered by Judge Mark Pittman on 12/1/2021) (wxc) (Additional attachment(s) added on 12/1/2021: #1 Letter of Remand to the 236th District Court with Docket Sheet and Certified Memorandum Opinion and Order) (wxc). (Main Document 7 replaced on 12/1/2021) (wxc).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
FORT WORTH DIVISION
DESTANEE SHAUNDREAL SMITH,
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Before the Court is Plaintiff Destanee Shaundreal Smith’s
(“Destanee”) Unopposed Motion for Leave to Join Party (“Motion”).
ECF No. 6. Because the Parties agree that the Individual whom
Destanee seeks to add is an “integral party” and that “his presence is
necessary for the proper adjudication of the case,” id., the Court will
GRANT the Motion. And because the addition of this party will destroy
the Court’s diversity jurisdiction, see ECF No. 6-1, the Court will
REMAND the case.
Typically, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure control when a
plaintiff seeks to either amend their pleadings or add a party. See, e.g.,
FED. R. CIV. PRO. 15, 19. However, when a court’s jurisdiction is based
on diversity of citizenship under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, a party’s request to
amend a complaint to add a nondiverse defendant that, if added, would
destroy the court’s jurisdictional basis, necessarily implicates
considerations and analyses beyond a typical Rule 15 motion. See
Hensgens v. Deere & Co., 833 F.2d 1179, 1181 (5th Cir. 1987) (“[A]ddition
of a nondiverse party will defeat jurisdiction.”). Accordingly, “[a] motion
for leave to amend to add a nondiverse party whose inclusion would
destroy diversity and divest the court of jurisdiction is governed by
28 U.S.C. § 1447(e), not Rule 15(a).” Gallegos v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Ind.,
No. H–09–2777, 2009 WL 4730570, at *2 (S.D. Tex. Dec. 7, 2009).
Title 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e) states that “the court may deny joinder, or
permit joinder and remand the action to the State court” “[i]f after
removal[,] the plaintiff seeks to join additional defendants whose joinder
would destroy subject matter jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e). And
whether a court should permit joinder of a nondiverse defendant
presents two “competing interests”: the policy to avoid parallel judicial
proceedings and a defendant’s interest in retaining the federal forum.
See Hensgens, 833 F.2d at 1182. To balance these interests, courts
consider four factors: (1) whether the primary purpose of the
amendment is to defeat diversity jurisdiction, (2) whether the plaintiff
was diligent in requesting the amendment, (3) whether the plaintiff will
be prejudiced if the amendment is denied, and (4) “any other factors
bearing on the equities.” Id.
Here, the Parties agree that the nondiverse defendant should be
added because the nondiverse defendant is an “integral party” and that
“his presence is necessary for the proper adjudication of the case.” See
ECF No. 6. Thus, because Defendant indicated its agreement with the
Motion, all the factors articulated above weigh in favor of adding the
nondiverse defendant. And because the factors weigh in favor of adding
the nondiverse defendant, only one of the two “competing interests”
remain: avoiding parallel judicial proceedings, which necessarily
instructs this Court to remand the case. Even if Defendant opposed the
Motion, however, the Court would still conclude that the four factors
articulated above would weigh in favor of adding the nondiverse party
and that the case should be remanded.
The Court therefore concludes that the Unopposed Motion for Leave
to Join Party (ECF No. 6) should be, and is hereby, GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that this case is REMANDED to the
236th Judicial District Court of Tarrant County, Texas.
The Clerk of this Court is therefore INSTRUCTED to mail a
certified copy of this Memorandum Opinion and Order to the District
Court Clerk of Tarrant County, Texas.
SO ORDERED on this 1st day of December, 2021.
Mark T. Pittman
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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