United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the pending motions to dismiss,
to remand and alternatively to stay. For the reasons set
forth below, the motion to remand is granted. The request to
stay is granted, and the Motions to Dismiss are denied.
matter is composed of two consolidated cases. The cases
involve litigation stemming from a personal injury suit
brought in state court by Plaintiff against Defendant Straub.
Prior to filing suit, Plaintiff sent a written demand to
Defendant Progressive to settle his claim. Progressive did
not settle the claim, and Plaintiff alleges it refused to pay
April 30, 2015, Plaintiff obtained a judgment against Straub
in the amount of Two Million Six Thousand Seven Hundred and
Eighty-Nine Dollars (2, 006, 789.00), plus interest at a rate
of 5.25% per annum.
the judgment was entered, Straub and his wife filed
bankruptcy and listed Plaintiff as a judgment creditor. On
February 5, 2016, Straub, through the bankruptcy trustee made
an assignment of certain of Straub's claims against
Defendant Progressive to Plaintiff. The assignment authorizes
Plaintiff to pursue suit against Defendant Progressive for
the unsatisfied portion of the judgment entered against
filed an equitable garnishment claim against Progressive and
Straub in state court, pursuant to RSMo Section 379.200. This
suit also includes claims of bad faith, and breach of
fiduciary duty. Defendant Straub also filed an action against
Progressive seeking a declaratory judgment ordering
Progressive to produce the entire claims file of the claim
filed by Breusch. Straub also sought attorneys' fees and
punitive damages in his declaratory judgment action.
removed both the garnishment suit and the declaratory
judgment action to this Court. Progressive also filed a
counterclaim for declaratory judgment against Straub and,
through joinder, Breusch. The declaratory judgment action
seeks a declaration from this Court that it acted lawfully,
reasonably and consistently with the terms of the Insurance
Policy it issued insuring Straub in the amount of $25, 000
limit for bodily injury, in its handling of the Breusch claim
and lawsuit. It also seeks a declaration that it is not
liable to Breusch or Straub for any damages claimed or
contemplated in the Settlement Agreement, in the bankruptcy
case or in any judgment entered in the underlying lawsuit in
excess of the bodily injury limits of $25, 000. The parties
moved to consolidate these suits, which the Court has
moved to voluntarily dismiss his claim for the claim file on
February 28, 2017. No objections were filed, and the Court
granted the Motion on March 6, 2017.
and Straub have moved to dismiss the declaratory judgment
suit. Upon review of the claims and the record, the Court
concludes that the garnishment case was improperly removed
and should be remanded. The declaratory judgment action
should be stayed in deference to the garnishment claim that
will be litigated in state court.
Eighth Circuit has admonished district courts to “be
attentive to a satisfaction of jurisdictional requirements in
all cases.” Sanders v. Clem co Industries, 823
F.2d 214, 216 (8th Cir.1987). Because this action has been
removed from state court to this Court, the party seeking to
invoke diversity jurisdiction is the defendant. “Only
state court actions that originally could have been filed in
federal court may be removed to federal court by the
defendant.” Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482
U.S. 386, 392 (1987). The party invoking federal jurisdiction
bears the burden of showing that all prerequisites to
jurisdiction are satisfied. In re Business Men's
Assur. Co. of America, 992 F.2d 181, 183 (8th Cir.1993).
Any doubts about the propriety of removal are resolved in
favor of state court jurisdiction and remand. Wilkinson
v. Shackelford, 478 F.3d 957, 963 (8th Cir.2007). If the
Court determines that it does not have jurisdiction over a
removed action, it must remand the action to the state court
where it originated. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
order for a federal court to have original diversity
jurisdiction over an action, the action must be between
‘citizens of different states.'” American
States Ins. Co., 2008 WL 163588, at *3; 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a). There must be complete diversity. Id. In
cases involving multiple plaintiffs and/or multiple
defendants, if ...