United States District Court, D. Maryland
Xinis United States District Judge
before the Court is Plaintiff NH Special Events, LLC's
motion to remand. ECF No. 13. The motion is fully briefed,
and no hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6. For
the following reasons, the Court remands this case.
August 2018, Plaintiff entered into a license agreement with
Defendant Franklin Exhibits Management Group, LLC to allow
Defendant to display an Air Force One replica at the National
Harbor. ECF No. 13-1 at 2. The agreement was terminated on
February 8, 2019, however, Defendant failed to remove the
March 2019, Plaintiff filed a Complaint for wrongful detainer
in the District Court for Prince George's County,
Maryland, seeking possession of the premises and damages. ECF
No. 1-1 at 2. The Sheriff's Office
(“Sheriff”) attempted service of the summons and
complaint on Defendant and, after it was unable to serve the
summons, affixed a copy of the summons and complaint to the
property and mailed a copy to Defendant. Id. at 4;
ECF No. 1-4 at 25.
district court scheduled a trial for April 11, 2019, but
Defendant failed to appear. ECF No. 13-1 at 3. As a result,
the district court entered a default judgment against the
Defendant granting possession of the property to Plaintiff
but did not assess damages. Id. Plaintiff's
counsel also wrote to Defendant on May 15, 2019, stating
Plaintiff's intention to take possession of the property
in accordance with the judgment. ECF No. 17-4 at 1. A day
after receiving this letter, Defendant “conducted a
Maryland Case Search” and claims to have first become
aware of the Complaint. ECF No. 17 at 5.
subsequently moved to vacate the default judgment. ECF No.
1-1 at 10. The court granted the motion on June 20, 2019 in
open court and with both parties in attendance. ECF No. 13-1
at 3-4. Defendant accepted service of the complaint at the
hearing and noted removal the following day. Id. at
4; ECF No. 1. Plaintiff thereafter moved to remand. ECF No.
Standard of Review
Court, as one of limited jurisdiction, may hear only civil
cases that implicate a federal question or are brought
pursuant to the Court's diversity jurisdiction. Exxon
Mobile Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546,
552 (2005). Diversity jurisdiction is proper where the amount
in controversy exceeds $75, 000 and no plaintiff is a citizen
of the same state as any defendant. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a);
Johnson v. Am. Towers, LLC, 781 F.3d 693, 704
(2015). Where diversity jurisdiction is proper, a defendant
may remove the case to federal court 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).
removal “raises significant federalism concerns,
[courts] must strictly construe removal jurisdiction.”
Mulcahey, 29 F.3d at 151; see also Cohn v.
Charles, 857 F.Supp.2d 544, 547 (D. Md. 2012)
(“Doubts about the propriety of removal are to be
resolved in favor of remanding the case to state
court.”). The defendant, as the removing party, bears
the burden of “demonstrating the court's
jurisdiction over the matter.” See Md. Stadium
Auth. v. Ellerbe Becket, Inc., 407 F.3d 255,
260 (4th Cir. 2005); Strawn v. AT&T Mobility,
LLC, 530 F.3d 293, 296 (4th Cir. 2008).
U.S.C. § 1446 governs the procedure for removal. The
The notice of removal of a civil action or proceeding shall
be filed within 30 days after the receipt by the defendant,
through service or otherwise, of a copy of the initial
pleading setting forth the claim for relief upon which such
action or proceeding is based, or
within 30 days after the service of summons upon the
defendant if such initial pleading has then been filed ...