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Dane v. Target Corporation

United States District Court, D. Maryland

November 26, 2014

MAI DANE, Plaintiff;
v.
TARGET CORPORATION, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

THEODORE D. CHUANG, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Remand. ECF No. 11, filed by Plaintiff Mai Dang ("bang"). The issue before the Court is whether Defendant Target Corporation ("Target") has timely filed its Notice of Removal. Having reviewed the pleadings and briefs, the Court finds no hearing necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the following reasons, the Motion to Remand is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

On March 12, 2014, Dang tiled suit against Target in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland alleging employment discrimination on the basis of national origin, gender, and disability under the Montgomery County Human Rights Act, Montgomery County Code § 27-19 (Am. Legal Publ'g Corp. 2014). Compl. ¶¶ 26-43, ECF No. 2. The Complaint contained no federal causes of action.

In the Complaint, Dang alleged that she is "an individual resident of the State of Maryland and resides in Montgomery County, " and that Target is a "corporation organized under the laws of Minnesota and maintains and operates numerous retail stores in Montgomery County, Maryland." Compl. ¶ 1-2. Dang also alleged that she is owed damages in excess of $75, 000. Id. ¶¶ 31(a)-(c), 37(a)-(c). 43(a)-(c).

On March 27, 2014, Dang effected service on Target, which moved to dismiss the Complaint on April 25, 2014. Notice Removal ¶¶ 2, 4, ECF No. I. On May 13, 2014. Dang filed an Amended Complaint, which alleged disability discrimination and retaliation under the Montgomery County Human Rights Act, no longer alleged the national origin and gender discrimination counts, and alleged additional facts. See Am. Compl., ECF No. 4. The Amended Complaint made no changes to the allegations regarding the parties' citizenship or the amount in controversy, and, like the original Complaint, contained no federal causes of action. Id. ¶¶ 1-2, 44(a)-(c), 52(a)-(c).

On June 2, 2014, Target filed an Answer to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, Local Rule 103.5(a) Attach., Ex. 1, ECF No. 10-9. and the case proceeded to discovery. Target propounded both its First Requests for Admissions and First Set of Interrogatories on Dang on June 4, 2014, see Local Rule 103.5(a) Attach., Ex. K. ECF No. 10-11. served Notice of Deposition of Dang on June 19, 2014, see Local Rule 103.5(a) Attach., Ex. L, ECF No. 10-12, and responded to both Dang's First Request for Production and First Interrogatories on June 30, 2014, see Local Rule 103.5(a) Attach., Ex. M. ECF No. 10-13.

On July 9, 2014, Target received Dang's responses to its discovery requests. See Notice Removal, Ex. D-E, ECF Nos. 1-4-1-5. Target's first Interrogatory stated: "Please describe in detail the location, including the city and state, where Target maintains its corporate headquarters." Notice Removal, Ex. E at 1. Dang responded, "Upon information and belief, Minneapolis, Minnesota." Id. Similarly, in reply to Target's First Request for Admissions, Dang responded that she, "[u]pon information and belief, admitted" that Target "does not maintain its corporate headquarters in the state of Maryland, " and that it "maintains its corporate headquarters in the state of Minnesota." Notice Removal, Ex. D at 1.

On July 10, 2014, Target filed in this Court its Notice of Removal on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, stating that the Notice of Removal was timely filed because the grounds for removal, specifically the location of Target's principal place of business, had not appeared on the face of any paper filed in the case until Dang submitted her responses to Target's discovery requests. Notice Removal ¶¶ 14-19. Dang filed the instant Motion to Remand on August 7, 2014.

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

A defendant in a state civil action may remove the case to federal district court provided that the district court would have had original jurisdiction had the action been filed there in the first instance. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) (2012). The federal district courts have original jurisdiction over claims in which the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000 and there is complete diversity of citizenship among the parties, meaning no plaintiff and no defendant are citizens of the same state. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a); Wis. Dep't al Corr. v. Schacht, 524 U.S. 381, 388 (1998). Where a party is a corporation, it is deemed to be a citizen of both the corporation's state of incorporation and the state in which its principal place of business, typically the site of its corporate headquarters, is located. Id. § 1332(c)(1); Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 92-93 (2010).

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1), defendants must file a notice of removal within 30 days of receipt of the initial pleading. however, § 1446(b) also provides that:

[I]f the case stated by the initial pleading is not removable, a notice of removal may be filed within 30 days after receipt by the defendant, through service or otherwise, of a copy of an amended pleading, motion, order or other paper from which it may first be ...

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