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Pineview Extended Care Centre, Inc. v. Ade

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 21, 2018

PINEVIEW EXTENDED CARE CENTER, INC. D/B/A FUTURECARE PINEVIEW Petitioner,
v.
ESAU ADE, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Paula Xinis United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court is a Petition to Compel Arbitration filed by Pineview Extended Care Center, Inc., d/b/a FutureCare Pineview (“Pineview”), along with a separate Motion to Stay Companion Litigation. ECF Nos. 1 and 8. Respondent Esau Ade, through his personal representative Julius Ade (“Ade”), has moved to dismiss the Petition. ECF No. 6. For the reasons below, the Court DENIES the Motion to Dismiss, GRANTS the Petition to Compel Arbitration, and DENIES the Motion to Stay.

         I. Background

         Julius Ade, as representative of Esau Ade, initiated a medical malpractice action in Maryland's Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (“HCADRO”) against Pineview, [1]alleging that Pineview was negligent in its care of Esau Ade. See ECF No. 1-2 at 2-5. Pineview moved this Court to compel arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), 9 U.S.C. § 4, based on the written agreement executed between Pineview and Julius Ade on behalf of Esau Ade. See ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 3, 20; ECF No. 1-4. In relevant part, the parties agreed that “any and all disputes that may arise from the care that [Esau Ade] receive[s] from [Pineview]” will be “submitted to binding arbitration for resolution.” ECF No. 1-4 at 2.

         II. Discussion

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         The Court first addresses Ade's Motion to Dismiss because it centers on this Court's jurisdiction to review the Petition. Ade contends that Pineview has failed to “prove” sufficiently that Ade is a citizen of the District of Columbia. Notably, Ade does not demonstrate, or even argue, that he is not a citizen of the District of Columbia. Rather, Ade asserts that the Petition must be dismissed because Pineview has generated no proof that Ade is domiciled in the District of Columbia. ECF No. 6 ¶ 7. Ade is incorrect.

         At the pleading stage, the Court accepts the facts pleaded with regard to citizenship as true, and need not look behind the pleading unless the party challenging citizenship marshals evidence in support of his position. See Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 96-97 (2010) (“When challenged on allegations of jurisdictional facts, the parties must support their allegations by competent proof.”); Sligh v. Doe, 596 F.2d 1169, 1171 (4th Cir. 1979) (if defendant had offered testimony to rebut finding of Virginia citizenship, there may have been a basis to question diversity jurisdiction, but no such testimony was offered); cf. Axel Johnson, Inc. v. Carroll Carolina Oil Co., Inc., 145 F.3d 660, 663 (4th Cir. 1998) (allegations of mere residence, rather than allegations of citizenship or domicile, insufficient to give rise to diversity jurisdiction). Pineview has alleged adequately that Ade is a citizen of the District of Columbia. See ECF No. 1 ¶ 6. Ade's bare averment regarding Pineview's lack of proof does not warrant dismissal. ECF No. 6 is DENIED.

         B. Petition to Compel

         The Court next considers Pineview's Petition to Compel Arbitration pursuant to the FAA. The FAA provides:

A party aggrieved by the alleged failure, neglect, or refusal of another to arbitrate under a written agreement for arbitration may petition any United States district court which, save for such agreement, would have jurisdiction . . . in a civil action . . . of the subject matter of a suit arising out of the controversy between the parties, for an order directing that such arbitration proceed in the manner provided for in such agreement.

9 U.S.C. § 4. As addressed above, the parties are citizens of different states, and Pineview properly alleges that the amount in controversy is in excess of $75, 000.[2] Accordingly, diversity jurisdiction is satisfied. It is also undisputed that the agreement between Pineview and Ade includes an agreement to arbitrate “any disputes that may arise from the care” Pineview provided to Ade.[3] “Any dispute” certainly includes the claims currently pending before the HCADRO. This Court, therefore, properly may compel arbitration under the FAA. ECF No. 1 is GRANTED.

         C. Motion to Stay

         Pineview also requests that this Court stay the HCADRO action pursuant to the stay provision of the Maryland Uniform Arbitration Act (“MUAA”), Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. ...


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