United States District Court, D. Maryland
January 9, 2015
UNLIMITED RESTORATION SPECIALISTS, INC., Plaintiff
HIGH VIEW AT HUNT VALLEY CONDOMINIUM, INC., Defendant
JAMES K. BREDAR, District Judge.
This case was removed by a third-party defendant, Hanover Insurance Company ("Hanover"), in a claim filed against it and the original plaintiff, Unlimited Restoration Specialists, Inc. ("URI") (counter-defendant), in a suit brought in Maryland state court by URI against High View at Hunt Valley Condominium, Inc. ("High View"), and others. (Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1.) It was unclear to the Court whether Hanover intended to remove the entire case and so the Court ordered Hanover to clarify that. (ECF No. 8.) Hanover has responded that it intended to remove the entire case, including the third-party claim against Hanover, which, as previously noted, was also a counterclaim against the original plaintiff, URI. (Response, ECF No. 13.)
Two problems have become evident. One is that URI never joined in the removal or consented to it. The second problem, however, moots the first; the Fourth Circuit has ruled that only an original defendant in a state court action may remove to federal court. Palisades Collections LLC v. Shorts, 552 F.3d 327, 334-336 (4th Cir. 2008), cert. denied, 557 U.S. 919 (2009). Thus, neither a third-party defendant nor a counter-defendant may remove a case to federal court. Id.
Because this case was improperly removed to this Court, it will be remanded to state court via separate order.