United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
John Miller originally brought this lawsuit in state court
after falling from the back of a box truck which unexpectedly
moved away from the loading dock. Defendant Panther II
Transportation, Inc. (“Panther”) removed
on the basis of the Court's diversity jurisdiction. Mr.
Miller's initial complaint named Panther as the sole
defendant, alleging that Panther was vicariously liable for
his injuries as the employer of the truck driver. Discovery
later revealed that the driver was William Hall, and that Mr.
Hall may actually (or additionally) be employed by Expediter
Services, LLC (“Expediter”). So Mr.
Miller sought, and the Court eventually granted, leave to
amend his complaint to join Mr. Hall and Expediter as
defendants. [Filing No. 34.] One problem remained,
however: Mr. Miller did not know the citizenship of
Expediter. Now, Mr. Miller contends that complete diversity
does not exist and requests that the Court remand this matter
to state court. Panther opposes Mr. Miller's Motion to
Remand, attaching affidavits from individuals with various
ownership interests in Expediter and its members, and moves
for leave to file a surreply to address Mr. Miller's
evidentiary objections. For the reasons described below, the
Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for
Leave to File Surreply and DENIES Mr.
Miller's Motion to Remand.
October 11, 2017, Mr. Miller brought suit in state court
against Panther, alleging that he was injured in a November
2015 work incident when the box truck he was unloading
prematurely moved away from the loading dock. [Filing No.
1-1 at 3-4.] On November 8, 2017, Panther removed the
matter, invoking this Court's diversity jurisdiction.
[Filing No. 1.] On February 28, 2018, Mr. Miller
moved to amend his complaint to join Mr. Hall and Expediter
as defendants. [Filing No. 17.]
6, 2018, the Court granted Mr. Miller's motion for leave
to amend. [Filing No. 34.] The Court noted, however,
that this matter could not proceed as-is if Expediter's
joinder would destroy diversity:
One issue remains, however. Mr. Miller's proposed amended
complaint, [Filing No. 17-1], alleges that he does
not know the citizenship of Expediter's members. The
Court therefore ORDERS Mr. Miller to conduct
whatever investigation may be necessary to properly allege
Expediter's citizenship and to file an amended complaint
reflecting the proper jurisdictional allegations on or before
July 20, 2018. Should Expediter's
joinder destroy diversity, Mr. Miller should allege such and
contemporaneously file a motion to remand, whereupon the
other defendants may renew their opposition to Mr.
Miller's motion for leave to amend as to Expediter.
See, e.g, Schur v. L.A. Weight Loss Ctrs.,
Inc., 577 F.3d 752, 759 (7th Cir. 2009) (“When
joinder of a nondiverse party would destroy subject matter
jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e) applies and
provides the district court two options: (1) deny joinder, or
(2) permit joinder and remand to state court. These are the
only options; the district court may not permit joinder of a
nondiverse defendant and retain jurisdiction.”
(internal footnote and citation omitted)); id. at
761 (“. . . [W]hen a district court is unaware
that joinder will destroy diversity, it may reconsider its
prior decision permitting leave to amend a
[Filing No. 34 at 13-14.] Thus, the Court ordered
Mr. Miller to conduct an investigation as to Expediter's
citizenship, directed that Mr. Miller file a motion to remand
if appropriate, and advised Panther that it may renew its
opposition to Expediter's joinder if Mr. Miller sought
20, 2018, Mr. Miller filed his Amended Complaint, stating
that the “identity of the members of [Expediter] and
their states of citizenship are unknown to Plaintiff despite
inquiry to Defendant Expediter.” [Filing No.
35.] As directed by the Court, Mr. Miller
contemporaneously moved to remand this case to state court.
[Filing No. 36.] Mr. Miller's Motion to Remand
and Panther's Motion for Leave to File Surreply are fully
briefed and ripe for decision.
Miller argues that remand is required because Expediter has
failed to establish that subject matter jurisdiction exists.
[Filing No. 36.]
explained in the Court's Order permitting Mr. Miller to
join Expediter, Panther had the option to reassert its
objection to Expediter's joinder in response to Mr.
Miller's Motion to Remand. [Filing No. 34 at
14.] It has not done so. Instead, Panther opposes Mr.
Miller's Motion on its merits, detailing Expediter's
corporate structure and attaching affidavits which, if
credited, would establish that Expediter is a citizen of
several states (specifically, Tennessee, Wyoming, Missouri,
Arizona, and New Jersey), none of which is Indiana, the state
of which Mr. Miller is a citizen. [Filing No. 48.]
Panther argues that complete diversity exists and that remand
would therefore be inappropriate.
reply, Mr. Miller lodges what are essentially evidentiary
objections. First, Mr. Miller argues that several affiants
purport to have personal knowledge of the domiciles of other
persons without any facts to support the claim of personal
knowledge. [Filing No. 50 at 4-5.] Second, Mr.
Miller argues that the affidavits assert domicile in a
conclusory fashion, with no facts or evidence to support ...