Hoyt v. Lane Construction Corp., No. 18-10289 (5th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed suit in state court against C.E.N. Concrete, Storm Water Management, and Lane Construction after Jeffery Hoyt slid off an icy patch of road and drowned in his car in an adjacent body of water. All the parties were citizens of Texas, except for Lane. Lane removed the case to federal court and the district court later granted its motion for summary judgment.
The Fifth Circuit held that the district court's bad-faith finding was not clearly erroneous and that plaintiffs could not avoid that result by relying on cases that predate Congress's enactment of the bad-faith exception to 28 U.S.C. 1446(c)(1)'s time bar. Furthermore, the voluntary-involuntary rule did not bar Lane from removing the case to federal court and the district court did not err in denying plaintiffs' second motion to remand. However, the district court erred by granting summary judgment to Lane where Lane failed to show as a matter of law that its TxDOT-documented negligence before the accident and its TxDOT-documented inspection deficiencies after the accident did not cause Jeffery's death. Furthermore, material disputes of fact precluded plaintiffs' premises liability claim. Finally, the court vacated the grant of summary judgment on the gross negligence claim and remanded for reconsideration.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on August 23, 2019.