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Cox v. City of Indianapolis

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

May 30, 2019

Ashley Cox, individually and as next best friend of minor children K.C. and K.R., Plaintiffs,
v.
The City of Indianapolis, Officer Ryan Weitzel, and Officer Michael O'Connor, Defendants.

          ORDER

          HON. JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE

         Presently pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Remand, [Filing No. 5]. For the following reasons, the Court DENIES the motion.

         I.

         Background

         For purposes of removal of a case from state court to federal court, “[t]he presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed by the ‘well-pleaded complaint rule,' which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint.” Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). The following factual allegations are taken from Plaintiffs' Complaint.

         Plaintiffs allege that on March 8, 2017, two Indianapolis police officers responded to a call regarding a suspected robbery committed by a young black male wearing a brown hoodie and driving a silver Ford Taurus. [Filing No. 1 at 5.] Plaintiffs allege that, in response to this call, the police officers stopped Plaintiff Ashley Cox (a black female) and her two children (ages five and seven), all of whom were travelling in a gold Mercury Sable. [Filing No. 1 at 5.] Ms. Cox alleges that the officers handcuffed her and put her in a police car, then they interrogated and/or searched all three of the individuals and searched the vehicle. [Filing No. 1 at 6.] Ms. Cox also alleges that the officers pointed a gun at her and/or her children during the stop. [Filing No. 1 at 6.]

         On March 7, 2019, Ms. Cox-individually and as next best friend of her two minor children-filed a Complaint in the Marion Superior Court against the City of Indianapolis, Officer Ryan Weitzel, and Officer Michael O'Connor (collectively, the “Defendants”), alleging that the Defendants: (1) denied the individuals “access to the public road on account of race and gender”; (2) conducted an unreasonable search and seizure of Ms. Cox and her children; (3) used excessive force against Ms. Cox and her children; and, (4) unreasonably detained Ms. Cox and her children. [Filing No. 1-1 at 4-5.] On April 5, 2019, Defendants removed this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1446 alleging that this Court has original jurisdiction over Ms. Cox's Fourth Amendment claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. [Filing No. 1 at 1-2.] Defendants cite both 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) and 28 U.S.C. § 1441(c) to support their Notice of Removal. [Filing No. 1 at 2.] Ms. Cox now asks the Court to remand the case to the Marion Superior Court.

         II.

         Discussion

          The party asserting federal court jurisdiction bears the burden of showing that jurisdiction is present, and the filing of a motion for remand does not shift this burden. Shadday v. Rodriguez Mahuad, U.S. Dist. 2006 WL 2228958, at *3 (S.D. Ind. 2006).

         In her Motion for Remand, Ms. Cox argues that the entire case should be remanded because this Court “lacks jurisdiction over the majority of the plaintiff's claims, all arising from the same event.” [Filing No. 5 at 1.] Ms. Cox cites 28 U.S.C. § 1441(c) and argues that removal under this section is only appropriate where the federal claim is “separate and independent” from the state law claims, and that the pendent claims in this case are based on a “common nucleus of operative fact” and are not “separate and independent.” [Filing No. 5 at 3.] Ms. Cox argues that because “[s]tate law predominates Plaintiff's complaint, ” the entire case should be remanded to the Marion County Superior Court. [Filing No. 5 at 3.]

         In opposition to the Motion for Remand, the Defendants argue that Ms. Cox's argument misunderstands removal under 28 U.S.C. § 1441 and “misconstrues” the case on which Ms. Cox primarily relies, Raymond James & Assocs., Inc. v. First Union Sec., Inc., U.S. Dist. 2003 WL 22454897 (S.D. Ind. 2003). [Filing No. 8 at 1.] Defendants argue that this matter was properly removed because it was done so timely and in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1441. [Filing No. 8 at 1-2.] Defendants also argue that Raymond James is directly on point in this matter and, contrary to Ms. Cox's argument, actually supports Defendants' position and prescribes denial of Ms. Cox's Motion for Remand. [Filing No. 8 at 2-3.]

         On May 20, 2019, Ms. Cox filed an untimely reply brief without seeking leave of court. [Filing No. 13.] The Court will not consider Ms. Cox's untimely reply brief.[1]

         A. Applicability of 28 ...


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