United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
MONIQUE D. EVANS, Plaintiff,
FORD MOTOR COMPANY and FRANK ROGERS, Defendants.
NANETTE K. LAUGHREY United States District Judge.
before the Court are a motion by Defendants Ford Motor
Company (“Ford”) and Frank Rogers to dismiss
(Doc. 6) and a motion by Plaintiff to remand (Doc. 8). For
the reasons set forth below, the motion to remand is denied
and the motion to dismiss is granted.
Evans is a former employee of Ford. According to her
petition, Mr. Rogers terminated her employment with Ford
effective November 14, 2015 because of her pregnancy. On
January 25, 2016, after Ms. Evans complained to union
representatives that the termination was discriminatory, Mr.
Rogers offered to reinstate her under the following
conditions: she would remain on probation for twelve months
and would forfeit all backpay and future bonuses. When Ms.
Evans asked to discuss the offer with a union representative,
Mr. Rogers rescinded the offer to reinstate her.
February 9, 2016, Plaintiff filed pro se a Charge of
Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, alleging discrimination on the basis of sex. She
explained that, after she took maternity leave due to
pregnancy complications, Ford terminated her effective
November 14, 2015. She stated, “[O]n or about January
23, 2016, I was told by my union representative that I could
have my job back with conditions. I had to agree to 12
months' probation and forfeit all my bonuses.” She
expressed the belief that she was “discharged and
denied [her] bonuses” because of her pregnancy. The
charge was dated and time-stamped February 9, 2016, more than
two weeks after Mr. Rogers made and then revoked the
conditional offer of reinstatement.
16, 2016, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (the
“MCHR”) issued to Ms. Evans a Notice of Right to
Sue (the “First RTS Notice”), notifying her that
it had decided to terminate all proceedings related to the
First Charge. The notice specified in bold, capitalized
letters, “IF YOU DO NOT FILE A CIVIL ACTION IN
STATE CIRCUIT COURT RELATING TO THE MATTERS ASSERTED IN YOUR
COMPLAINT WITHIN 90 DAYS OF THE DATE OF THIS NOTICE, YOUR
RIGHT TO SUE IS LOST.” The notice also
explained that “[n]o person may file or reinstate a
complaint with the MCHR after the issuance of a notice under
this section relating to the same practice or act.”
Plaintiff did not file suit within 90 days of the First RTS
20, 2016, Plaintiff filed a second Charge of Discrimination
with the MCHR. The second charge named Mr. Rogers, in
addition to Ford, as a respondent and complained not only of
sex discrimination, but also of retaliation for Ms.
Evans' prior complaints about sex discrimination. The
second charge purported to address “new discriminatory
incidents, ” but like the first charge, described Ms.
Evans' termination on November 14, 2017, her January 23,
2016 conversation with a union representative, and Ford's
January 2016 offer to reinstate Ms. Evans on the conditions
that she submit to probation for twelve months and waive her
rights to backpay and future bonuses.
February 27, 2017, the MCHR issued Plaintiff a Notice of
Right to Sue (the “Second RTS Notice”) in
connection with her second charge.
8, 2016 (70 days after the Second RTS Notice was issued), Ms.
Evans filed her Petition against both Ford and Rogers in Clay
County Circuit Court.
16, 2017, Defendants removed this action from state court on
the basis of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1332, asserting that Ms. Evans joined Mr. Rogers, a fellow
Missouri citizen, solely to defeat federal diversity
jurisdiction. Ms. Evans moved to remand this action to state
court. Ford moved to dismiss the complaint.
Motion to Remand
Evans insists that defendant Rogers' Missouri citizenship
precludes diversity jurisdiction and requires remanding the
proceedings to state court. However, as discussed below, Ms.
Evans' claims against both defendants fail as a matter of
law. As such, her joinder of Mr. Rogers is fraudulent and
does not deprive the Court of jurisdiction. See Anderson
v. Home Ins. Co., 724 F.2d 82, 82 (8th Cir. 1983)
(“Joinder designed solely to deprive federal courts of
jurisdiction is fraudulent and will not prevent removal.
Fraudulent joinder exists if, on the face of plaintiff's
state court pleadings, no cause of action lies against the
resident defendant.”) (citation omitted).