Caulfield v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc, No. 3:2021cv02146 - Document 13 (N.D. Tex. 2021)

Court Description: MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER: The plaintiff's 9 motion to remand this case to state court is DENIED. (Ordered by Senior Judge A. Joe Fish on 11/17/2021) (ygl)
Download PDF
Caulfield v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc Doc. 13 Case 3:21-cv-02146-G Document 13 Filed 11/17/21 Page 1 of 4 PageID 211 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS DALLAS DIVISION DARIEKA CAULFIELD, Plaintiff, VS. HOBBY LOBBY STORES, INC., Defendant. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:21-CV-2146-G MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER Before the court is the motion of the plaintiff Darieka Caulfield (“Caulfield”) to remand this case to the state court from which it was removed. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is denied. I. BACKGROUND On August 4, 2021, Caulfield filed suit in the 116th Judicial District Court of Dallas County, Texas, alleging that she suffered injuries at a store operated by the defendant Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (“Hobby Lobby”). See generally Plaintiff’s Original Petition, Request for Disclosure, and Request for Privilege Log (“Petition”), attached to Defendant Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.’s Notice of Removal (“Notice”) (docket entry 1). On September 9, 2021, Hobby Lobby removed the action to this Dockets.Justia.com Case 3:21-cv-02146-G Document 13 Filed 11/17/21 Page 2 of 4 PageID 212 court based on diversity jurisdiction. See Notice ¶ 5. Caulfield now seeks to remand the suit to state court on the ground that Hobby Lobby’s “‘principal place of business’ [is] in Texas” therefore Hobby Lobby “has failed to meet the heavy burden of showing complete diversity . . . .” Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand (docket entry 9) at 1. Conversely, Hobby Lobby contends that its principal place of business is in Oklahoma, and that complete diversity exists. See generally Defendant Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.’s Response to Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand (“Response”) (docket entry 12).1 II. ANALYSIS Title 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) permits the removal of “any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction . . . .” The statute allows a defendant to “remove a state court action to federal court only if the action could have originally been filed in federal court.” Anderson v. American Airlines, Inc., 2 F.3d 590, 593 (5th Cir. 1993) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1441). However, the removal statute must be strictly construed because “removal jurisdiction raises significant federalism concerns.” Willy v. Costal Corporation, 855 F.2d 1160, 1164 (5th Cir. 1988); see also Gutierrez v. Flores, 543 F.3d 248, 251 (5th 1 Hobby Lobby asserts that it “has removed numerous cases from state to federal court in Texas and no court has ever remanded the case back to state court on the basis that it is a citizen of the state of Texas.” Response at 7 (emphasis in the original). -2- Case 3:21-cv-02146-G Document 13 Filed 11/17/21 Page 3 of 4 PageID 213 Cir. 2008). Therefore, “any doubts concerning removal must be resolved against removal and in favor of remanding the case back to state court.” Cross v. Bankers Multiple Line Insurance Company, 810 F.Supp. 748, 750 (N.D. Tex. 1992) (Means, J.); see also Shamrock Oil & Gas Corporation v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108-09 (1941). The party seeking removal bears the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction. Willy, 855 F.2d at 1164. There are two principal bases upon which a district court may exercise removal jurisdiction: the existence of a federal question, see 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and complete diversity of citizenship among the parties, see 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Here, Hobby Lobby has alleged only diversity of citizenship as a basis of this court’s jurisdiction. See Notice ¶¶ 5-7. The court can properly exercise jurisdiction on the basis of diversity of citizenship after removal only if three requirements are met: (1) the parties are of completely diverse citizenship, see 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a); (2) none of the properly joined defendants is a citizen of the state in which the case is brought, see 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b); and (3) the case involves an amount in controversy of more than $75,000, see 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). A corporation, for the purpose of determining diversity jurisdiction, is a “citizen of every State and foreign state by which it has been incorporated and of the State or foreign state where it has its principal place of business . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1). To determine a principal place of business, the court applies the “nerve -3- Case 3:21-cv-02146-G Document 13 Filed 11/17/21 Page 4 of 4 PageID 214 center” test. See Hertz Corporation v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 92-93 (2010). Here, Hobby Lobby is incorporated in Oklahoma and has its principal place of business in Oklahoma. See generally Response; see also id. at 7 (“Hobby Lobby’s principal place of business is in Oklahoma because its operations are ‘far flung’ and its nerve center is in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, as evidenced by the fact that its corporate headquarters are there and that is where all of the major decision-making for the corporation occurs.”).2 The court finds that the parties are completely diverse. Removal is proper in this case because (1) there is complete diversity, (2) the defendant is not from the forum state, and (3) the amount in controversy is between $200,000 and $1,000,000, exceeding the $75,000 requirement. See generally Notice. Accordingly, the plaintiff’s motion to remand this case to state court is denied. III. CONCLUSION For the reasons stated above, the plaintiff’s motion to remand this case to state court is DENIED. SO ORDERED. November 17, 2021. ___________________________________ A. JOE FISH Senior United States District Judge 2 Caulfield failed to reply to Hobby Lobby’s response to her motion to remand this case to the state court from which it was removed. -4-