United States District Court, D. Maryland
KRISTINE D. BROWN, et al, Plaintiffs
COMFORT A. BOATENG and KOFI L. BOATENG, Defendants
J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
above-captioned case was removed to this Court from the
Circuit Court for Prince George's County on September 11,
2018 by Defendants Comfort A. Boateng and Kofi Boateng. ECF
No. 1. Plaintiffs have filed a Motion to Remand, arguing that
the Notice of Removal was untimely filed and that this Court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the case. ECF No. 6.
Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand also requests that they be
awarded costs and expenses incurred in responding to the
Motion to Strike
addressing the Motion to Remand, it is necessary to consider
Defendants' Motion to Strike the Plaintiffs' Motion
to Remand, in which Defendants argue that Plaintiffs'
Motion and Certificate of Service were not properly filed
because they were not signed as required by Fed, R. Civ. P.
11. ECF No. 8. Local Rule of Civil Procedure 102.1(a) states
that "[u]se of any of the methods for signing an
electronic document established by the Court, including use
of an attorney's login and password to electronically
file a document, constitutes the attorney's signature on
the document." The Court's established procedures
for electronic case filings state that
Anything filed using an attorney's login and password
will be deemed to have been signed by that attorney for
all purposes, including Fed.R.Civ.P. I J. Attorneys may,
but are not required to, place an electronic signature on
documents and papers. For the attorney whose login and
password is being used, it is sufficient to indicate a
signature as in the following example:
John M, Barrister, Esquire
District Court for the District of Maryland Electronic Case
Filing Policies and Procedures Manual (D. Md.), Section
III.C.8(a): Signature Format, available at
Manual.pdf (last updated Oct. 2018) (emphasis added).
Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand and Certificate of Service,
which were submitted electronically using an attorney's
login and password and featured the optional ""
example noted above, constitute valid signatures for purposes
of Rule 11 and this Court's local rules. Therefore,
Defendants' Motion to Strike is denied.
to the Motion to Remand, Plaintiffs assert that the case must
be remanded because, among other reasons, the Notice of
Removal is untimely. ECF No. 6-1. The underlying state case
mentioned in the Notice of Removal is Maryland case number
CAEF-16-04391 from the Circuit Court for Prince George's
County. ECF No. 1 at 4. As Plaintiffs note (and a review of
the Maryland Judiciary Website confirms, see
number CAEF-16-04391 was filed in February 2016.
Plaintiffs' affidavits of service demonstrate that
Defendants were served on February 29, 2016. ECF No. 6-4.
Defendants' Notice of Removal was filed on September 11,
2018, over two and a half years later and well beyond the
time permitted under 28 U.S.C. § 1446.
counter that the notice of removal was timely because it
filed "within one year of the commencement of the action
in Bankruptcy Court," ECF No, 7 at 3, apparently
referring to In re Boaleng, Case No, 17-26830
(Bankr. D.Md.). The existence of a federal
bankruptcy is irrelevant to the timeliness of the removal of
even assuming that the Defendants' notice of removal was
timely filed, C. Attorney's Fees and
Motion to Remand also requests costs and attorney's fees
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). ECF No. 6 at 3.
Plaintiffs have not included adequate information to allow
the Court to rule on the request for fees, which will
accordingly be denied without prejudice at this time.
Plaintiffs will be given an opportunity to supply the Court
with the necessary information. Within 21 days of the date of
this opinion and accompanying order. Plaintiffs may resubmit
a Motion for Costs and Fees. Consistent with Fed.R.Civ.P.
54(d)(2)(B), this Motion must "specify the judgment and
the statute, rule, or other grounds entitling the movant to
the award"  and "state the amount sought or
provide a fair estimate of it." Rule 54(d)(2)(B)(ii),
district court retains jurisdiction to consider an
application for costs and fees even after an inappropriately
removed case has been remanded. Bryant v. Britt, 420
F.3d 161 (2nd Cir. 2005) (per curiam) (so holding, and noting
that "[a] 11 of the other circuits that have addressed
the question"-the Third, Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth
Circuits-"have reached the same conclusion");
see also Barlow v. Colgate Palmolive Co,, 722 F.3d
1001, 1009 (4th Cir. 2014) ("[D]istrict courts have
jurisdiction to decide Rule 11 sanctions motions on the
merits, even when they are filed after the underlying action