United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon its review of the record. On
or about November 20, 2015, Plaintiffs Marcus Anderson and
Anderson Paint Store, LLC, filed their Complaint in the
Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri. (Notice of
Removal, ¶ 1). Named as Defendants were The Bi-State
Development Agency of the Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan
District (“Bi-State”), Larry Jackson
(“Jackson”), Elke Campbell, St. Louis Bridge
Company, Richard Rounds, Janet Webb, Thomas Industrial
Coating, and Dane McGraw. (Complaint, ECF No. 6). Plaintiffs
asserted claims for breach of contract, breach of implied
contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, and
detrimental reliance. (Id., ¶¶ 47-75).
about May 19, 2016, Plaintiffs successfully served Defendants
Bi-State and Jackson with the Summons and Complaint. (Notice
of Removal, ¶ 3; ECF No. 1-1, PP. 1, 12, 14). Bi-State
then removed the case to this Court on June 20, 2016, on the
basis of diversity jurisdiction. (ECF No. 1). Specifically,
Bi-State asserted “[t]his Court has original
jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a) and removal to this Court is proper pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2) because there is complete diversity
of citizenship between all parties and the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000.” (Id., ¶
to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1), “[t]he district courts
shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where
the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,
000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between-citizens
of different States.” “The removing party bears
the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction by a
preponderance of the evidence.” Boschert v. Wright
Medical Group, Inc., 2015 WL 1006482, at *2 (E.D. Mo.
Mar. 6, 2015) (citing Altimore v. Mount Mercy
College, 420 F.3d 763, 768 (8th Cir. 2005)).
Removal statutes are strictly construed, and “any
doubts about the propriety of removal must be resolved in
favor of remand.” Green v. Arizona Cardinals
Football Club LLC, 21 F.Supp.3d 1020, 1025 (E.D. Mo.
2014) (citing In re Bus. Men’s Assurance Co. of
Am., 992 F.2d 181, 183 (8th Cir. 1993)).
a defendant generally may remove a case to federal court when
the federal court would have had original jurisdiction over
the action, “there is a restriction on the removal of
diversity cases known as the ‘forum defendant
rule.’” Perez v. Forest Laboratories,
Inc., 902 F.Supp.2d 1238, 1241 (E.D. Mo. 2012). This
rule, set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b), “makes
diversity jurisdiction in a removal case narrower than if the
case was originally filed in federal court by the
plaintiff.” Johnson v. Emerson Elec. Co., 2013
WL 5442752, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Sep. 30, 2013) (citations
omitted). “Under § 1441(b), a defendant can remove
a case based on diversity jurisdiction ‘only if none of
the parties in interest properly joined and served as
defendants is a citizen of the State in which such action is
brought.’” Id. (citing Lincoln Prop.
Co. v. Roche, 546 U.S. 81, 90 (2005); Horton v.
Conklin, 431 F.3d 602, 604 (8th Cir. 2005)
(quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)); Pecherski v. General
Motors Corp., 636 F.2d 1156, 1160 (8th Cir.
1981)). Federal courts thus lack diversity jurisdiction over
a removed case in which one or more of the defendants is a
citizen of the forum state, see Perez, 902 F.Supp.2d
at 1241, and “the violation of the forum defendant rule
is a jurisdictional defect and not a mere procedural
irregularity capable of being waived.” Horton,
431 F.3d at 605 (internal quotations and citation omitted).
review of the record, the Court finds that Bi-State’s
own filings demonstrate removal was improper. In its Notice
of Removal, Bi-State confirms both that it and Jackson are
citizens of the State of Missouri, and that it was served
with the Summons and Complaint prior to removal. (Notice of
Removal, ¶¶ 3, 9-10; see also ECF No. 1-2,
P. 1 (confirming Bi-State is incorporated or has its
principal place of business in Missouri)). Under these
circumstances, this Court lacks jurisdiction and must remand
this matter to state court.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this case is
REMANDED to the Circuit Court of St. Louis
City, State of Missouri. An appropriate Order of Remand will
accompany this Memorandum and Order.
According to Bi-State, Plaintiffs are
citizens of the State of Michigan, and none of the Defendants
is a citizen thereof. (Notice of Removal, ...