Viau v. Montage Hotels & Resorts et al
MEMORANDUM DECISION and Order denying 6 Motion to Remand to State Court. Signed by Judge Dale A. Kimball on 12/6/12. (jlw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH
& ORDER DENYING
MOTION TO REMAND
Case No. 2:12CV923DAK
MONTAGE HOTELS & RESORTS,
LLC, MONTAGE DEER VALLEY,
Judge Dale A. Kimball
This matter is before the court on Plaintiff Mark Viau’s Motion to Remand, filed on
October 31, 2012. The motion is fully briefed, and the court concludes that oral argument would
not significantly aid in the court’s determination of the motion. Accordingly, the court enters the
following Memorandum Decision and Order based on the memoranda submitted by the parties
and the facts and law relevant to the motion.
Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant Montage Hotel & Resorts, LLC (“Montage”)
in Utah State Court, Third District Court, on September 4, 2012. On September 5, 2012,
Plaintiff served Montage’s registered agent with his Summons and Complaint. On September
27, 2012, Plaintiff filed for default in state court because no answer had been filed and the twenty
day period to answer had expired. The state court clerk signed a default certificate on the same
On October 1, 2012, 26 days after service, Montage filed a Notice of Removal from the
state court based upon federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The next day,
Montage filed its Answer in this court.
Plaintiff moves this court to remand the case to state court, arguing that Defendants failed
to satisfy the procedural requirements for removal. Montage asserts that its removal of the case to
this court followed proper procedure because Rule 12(a) of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure
states that a defendant served within the State of Utah has 20 days to answer a complaint
“[u]nless otherwise provided by statute.” The federal removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1),
provides that a defendant may file a Notice of Removal “within 30 days after the service of
summons upon the defendant.” “After removal . . . [a] defendant who did not answer before
removal must answer . . . within the longest of these periods” : (A) 21 days after receiving,
through service or otherwise, a copy of the complaint; (B) 21 days after being served with the
summons; or (C) 7 days after the notice of removal is filed. Fed. R. Civ. P. 81(c)(2). Therefore,
Montage asserts that because a federal statute and rule allow for removal of the within 30 days
and the filing of an Answer within seven days after removal, Rule 12(a) of the Utah Rules of
Civil Procedure allows that time period as well.
Montage clearly complied with the timing requirements in the federal removal statute and
rules. Therefore, the court finds no grounds for remand to state court. The federal statutes and
rules cannot be read to preclude removal merely because a party has moved for default in the
state court. This court routinely gets cases removed when temporary restraining proceedings are
ongoing in state court. As Plaintiff recognizes, the general practice is that this court takes the
case as it finds it on removal. Montage properly attached to its Notice of Removal the pleadings
served upon it and a copy of the state court docket indicating all activity in the state court case as
of the date of removal.
The parties appear to dispute, however, whether entry of default in the state court was
proper. Montage’s asserts that it had additional time to answer because Rule 12(a) makes an
exception for other statutory time periods and the federal removal statute and rules contemplate a
longer period for filing an answer. Plaintiff, however, contends that the deadline for filing an
answer was 20 days, the state court clerk entered default, and this court must take the case as it
Even if this court accepts Plaintiff’s position, the court notes that there was only an entry of
default in state court, not default judgment. Both state and federal procedural rules allow an entry
of default to be set aside for good cause whereas default judgment may only be set aside under
Rule 60(b). See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(c); Utah R. Civ. P. 55(c). Without deciding whether Montage’s
reading of the applicable rules and statute is correct, it is a plausible reading of the applicable law
and is sufficient good cause for setting aside the entry of default. Moreover, there is a general
preference to hear cases on their merits. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion to remand is denied and
the entry of default is set aside.
Based on the above reasoning, Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand is DENIED and the state
court entry of default is set aside.
DATED this 6th day of December, 2012.
DALE A. KIMBALL
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?