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Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Rheinstein

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 20, 2017

ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMISSION OF MARYLAND Plaintiff
v.
JASON EDWARD RHEINSTEIN Defendant

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: REMAND

          Marvin J. Garbis United States District Judge.

         The Court has before it Plaintiff Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland's Motion to Remand for Lack of Federal Jurisdiction [ECF No. 68] and the materials submitted relating thereto. The Court has held a telephonic hearing and has had the benefit of the arguments of counsel.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This Court has previously granted a Motion to Remand in this case. Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Rheinstein, Civ. No. MJG-16-1591, ECF No. 30 (Mar. 17, 2017) (“First Remand Order”). Defendant alleges that the existence of new facts warrant the filing of a successive Notice of Removal.

         The underlying cause of action remains the same. On February 17, 2016 the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland (“AGC”) filed, in the Maryland Court of Appeals, a Petition for Disciplinary of Remedial Actions against Jason Edward Rheinstein (“Rheinstein”). On February 19, 2016, the Court of Appeals of Maryland transmitted the Petition to the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County to hold a judicial hearing pursuant to Maryland Rule 16-757.

         On May 23, 2016, Rheinstein filed his first Notice of Removal, contending that this Court can exercise subject matter jurisdiction over the case under 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (federal question jurisdiction) and 28 U.S.C. § 1442 (federal officer jurisdiction). Civ. No. MJG-16-1591, ECF No. 1. AGC filed a Motion to Remand, which this court granted on March 17, 2017. In its First Remand Order, this Court found no federal jurisdiction based on a federal question, no jurisdiction based on federal officer standing, and that federal abstention principles favored a remand. Following the Order, trial was set in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County for September 5, 2017.

         On Friday, September 1, 2017, Rheinstein filed a second Notice of Removal in this Court, contending that AGC's recent interrogatory responses and deposition testimony gave rise to new and different grounds for removal. Notice of Removal ¶ 4, ECF No. 1. The state court proceeding was stayed on September 5, 2017, the next business day.

         In this instant motion, the AGC once again seeks remand for lack of federal jurisdiction.

         II. JURISDICTIONAL PRINCIPLES

         The party invoking federal jurisdiction has the burden of establishing that removal is proper and that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction. Mulcahey v. Columbia Organic Chemicals Co., 29 F.3d 148, 151 (4th Cir. 1994). Removal statutes should be strictly construed, and if “federal jurisdiction is doubtful, a remand is necessary.” Id. Indeed, a federal court is to “presume . . . that a case lies outside its limited jurisdiction unless and until jurisdiction has been shown to be proper.” United States v. Poole, 531 F.3d 263, 274 (4th Cir. 2008) (emphasis in original).

         “A successive removal petition is permitted only upon a ‘relevant change of circumstances' - that is, ‘when subsequent pleadings or events reveal a new and different ground for removal.'” Reyes v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., 781 F.3d 1185, 1188 (9th Cir. 2015) (emphasis in original). The phrase “different grounds” can mean “a different set of facts that state a new ground for removal” or “new facts in support of the same theory of removal.” Cain v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., 2009 WL 539975, at *2 (N.D. W.Va. Mar. 4, 2009).

         Even if there is federal jurisdiction, federal courts must abstain from interfering in state proceedings “absent extraordinary circumstances.” Middlesex Cty. Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 431 (1982). If an ongoing state proceeding exists, “‘reinstituting the action in the federal courts' is impermissible; indeed to do so would involve a loss of time and duplication of effort.” Telco Commc'ns, Inc. v. Carbaugh, 885 F.2d 1225, 1228 (4th Cir. 1989).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Rheinstein has failed to establish a new and different basis for his second attempt at removal under either the federal officer or federal question doctrines. Moreover, even if the Court were to have jurisdiction, the Court would abstain and remand the case to state court so that the trial may proceed.

         A. Federal ...


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