United States District Court, D. Maryland
XINIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff Natalie Tham's motion to
remand this action to the Circuit Court for Prince
George's County, Maryland, ECF No. 9, and Defendants
V.T.A.C. General Contractors, Inc. and Ricardo Vazquez's
motion to dismiss for forum non conveniens and, in
the alternative, for failure to state a claim, ECF No. 5. The
motion to remand is fully briefed, and the Court rules under
Local Rule 105.6 because no hearing is necessary. For the
reasons that follow, the Court grants Plaintiff's motion
and remands this case to the Circuit Court for Prince
George's County, Maryland for further proceedings. The
Court denies Defendants' motion to dismiss as moot.
September 26, 2016, Plaintiff Natalie Tham was riding her
bicycle through Washington, D.C., when she was hit by a dump
truck driven by Defendant Ricardo Vazquez. ECF No. 5 at 1.
Vazquez, as the driver, admittedly was “acting within
the course and scope of his employment” with Defendant
V.T.A.C. General Contractors, Inc. (“V.T.A.C.”).
Id. at 9.
April 4, 2018, Tham filed this action in the Circuit Court
for Prince George's County, Maryland alleging five counts
of negligence. ECF No. 2 at 6-13. At the time of filing, Tham
resided in Chicago, Illinois. ECF No. 12 ¶ 6. Tham
asserts that her permanent home has “always” been
Maryland. ECF No. 9-28 ¶ 3. Vazquez resides in
Hyattsville, Maryland. ECF No. 9 ¶¶ 1-12. V.T.A.C.
is incorporated under the laws of Maryland and has its
principal place of business in Maryland. ECF No. 9-2; ECF No.
4, 2018, Vazquez and V.T.A.C. timely removed the case to this
Court, asserting diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a). ECF No. 1 ¶ 3. Vazquez and V.T.A.C. then
moved to dismiss the case. ECF No. 5. On May 31, 2018, Tham
moved to remand the case to the Circuit Court for Prince
George's County. ECF No. 9.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
court actions that originally could have been brought in
federal court may be removed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1441. Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386,
392 (1987); Mulcahey v. Columbia Organic Chems. Co.,
29 F.3d 148, 151 (4th Cir. 1994). The defendant, as removing
party, bears the burden of “demonstrating the
court's jurisdiction over the matter.” Strawn
v. AT&T Mobility, LLC, 530 F.3d 293, 296 (4th Cir.
2008). Federal courts construe removal statutes strictly and
resolve all doubts in favor of remand. See Md. Stadium
Auth. v. Ellerbe Becket, Inc., 407 F.3d 255, 260 (4th
invokes diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)
as its singular ground for removal. ECF No. 1 ¶ 3. Where
removal is based on diversity jurisdiction only, and a proper
defendant is a citizen of the forum state, 28 U.S.C. §
1441(b) bars removal. Lincoln Prop. Co. v. Roche,
546 U.S. 81, 90 (2005).
undisputed that Vazquez and V.T.A.C. are citizens of
Maryland. ECF No. 1 ¶ 5; ECF No. 9. In Defendants'
notice of removal, Defendants concede citizenship in
Maryland. ECF No. 1 ¶ 5 (“The Defendants are
citizens of Maryland.”). Vazquez is domiciled in
Maryland. ECF No. 9 ¶¶ 10-12. V.T.A.C. is a
corporate citizen of Maryland both because it is incorporated
in Maryland and because its principal place of business is in
Maryland. See Cent. W.Va. Energy Co. v. Mountain State
Carbon, LLC, 636 F.3d 101, 102 (4th Cir. 2011)
(“For federal diversity jurisdiction purposes, a
corporation is a citizen of the states in which it has been
incorporated and in which it has its principal place of
business.”); ECF Nos. 9-2; 9-3. Because Defendants are
citizens of the forum state, removal is improper.
Court has characterized the bar to removal in § 1441(b)
as procedural and, thus, waivable. Medish v. Johns
Hopkins Health Sys. Corp., 272 F.Supp.3d 719, 724 (D.
Md. 2017). However, where, as here, a plaintiff moves to
remand “within thirty days after the filing of the
notice of removal, ” the plaintiff has not waived her
right to seek remand. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447.
Tham moved to remand on May 18, within thirty days of
Defendants' May 4 notice of removal. See ECF No.
9; ECF No. 1. Given Tham's timely objection to removal in
a diversity case where Defendants are citizens of the forum
state, § 1441(b) requires this Court to remand this case
to the Circuit Court for Prince George's
foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's motion to remand is
granted and Defendants' motion to dismiss is ...