United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
ADRIANA DELALUZ as next friend, heir, and/or personal representative of the estate of her deceased minor child, ISELA HUERTA CARRANZA, Plaintiff,
MANAGEMENT & TRAINING CORPORATION and JOHN DOES 1-10 agents, employees, and/or contractors of Management & Training Corporation whose identities are currently unknown, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER REMANDING CASE
WADDOUPS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Management & Training Corp. (“MTC”) removed
this action to federal court and filed a Motion for Judgment
on the Pleadings shortly thereafter. (Dkt. No. 6.) The
parties briefed and argued the Motion, and submitted
supplemental briefing at the court's request.
(See Dkt. No. 17.)
the court took the Motion under advisement, the Tenth Circuit
issued City of Albuquerque v. Soto Enterprises,
Inc., No. 16-2065___, F.3d___, 2017 WL 3138363 (10th
Cir. July 25, 2017), holding that a defendant waives its
removal right by filing a motion to dismiss in state court.
The court finds this binding precedent directly on point to
this case, and concludes that MTC has waived its right to
remove this action by having previously filed, argued, and
received a decision on its motion to dismiss in state court.
Therefore, the court REMANDS this case to
case arises out of Plaintiff Adriana Delaluz's negligence
and slander action, brought on behalf of her deceased minor
daughter, Isela Huerta Carranza, against MTC and unnamed
others. Ms. Delaluz alleges that MTC's negligence in
administering a job corps program in Clearfield, Utah, caused
Isela's untimely death in March 2014.
February 18, 2016, Ms. Delaluz filed her complaint in the
Second Judicial District Court of the State of Utah, Davis
County. (Dkt. No. 2-2 (Complaint).) MTC was served on
February 23, 2016. (Dkt. No. 2-5, p. 4 (State District Court
Documents).) On July 26, 2016, Ms. Delaluz amended her
complaint. (Id. at 8-24 (First Amended Complaint
(FAC)).) Shortly thereafter, on August 16, 2016, MTC filed a
motion to dismiss the amended complaint. (Id. at
93.) MTC argued that the state district court should dismiss
Ms. Delaluz's tort claims for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted, pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of
the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure. (Id.) On December
16, 2016, the state court heard oral arguments on MTC's
motion. (Id. at 91-92, 93.)
January 4, 2017, Judge Kay of the Second District Court
issued a written memorandum decision denying MTC's motion
to dismiss and allowing Ms. Delaluz's negligence and
slander claims to proceed. (Id. at 93-103.) On
January 6, 2017, Ms. Delaluz filed her Second Amended
Complaint, removing causes of action that she had stipulated
to dismiss and fleshing out the general factual allegations
in ways irrelevant to this decision. (Dkt. No. 2-3 (Second
Amended Complaint (SAC)); compare Dkt. No. 2-5, pp.
8-24 (FAC).) Judge Kay noticed a Rule 16 hearing that same
day. (Dkt. No. 2-5, pp. 104-05.) On January 24, 2017, MTC
timely filed a petition for interlocutory appeal in the Utah
Court of Appeals, challenging Judge Kay's order denying
its motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 6-4.)
January 31, 2017, after nearly a full year of litigation in
state court, MTC removed the case to this court. (Notice of
Removal, Dkt. No. 2.) MTC alleges as grounds for removal that
the action implicates this court's diversity
jurisdiction. (See id.) According to MTC, Ms.
Delaluz's Second Amended Complaint contains allegations
regarding her and Isela's citizenship not present in the
initial complaint. Ms. Delaluz alleges that Isela was a
citizen of Utah at her death and, because MTC is also a Utah
citizen, the parties are nondiverse. (See SAC
¶¶ 4-8, Dkt. No. 2-3.) MTC contests these
allegations, arguing that, because Isela was a minor at her
death, Isela retains her mother's citizenship of Idaho,
and she cannot be said to have emancipated herself from her
mother or otherwise abandoned her Idaho citizenship.
(See Notice of Removal ¶¶ 10-18; see
also MTC's Br. re Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Dkt.
Delaluz did not move for remand and does not contest
MTC's arguments on Isela's citizenship. She has
stated that she simply prefers to move forward with this
case, in either state or federal court, as quickly as
possible. (See Dkt No. 19.)
February 2, 2017, MTC moved for judgment on the pleadings.
(Dkt. No. 6.) After a hearing, the court requested
supplemental briefing on the question of Isela's
citizenship and took the motion under advisement. (Dkt. No.
case originally filed in state court may be removed to
federal court if, but only if, ‘federal subject-matter
jurisdiction would exist over the claim.'”
Firstenberg v. City of Santa Fe, N.M., 696 F.3d
1018, 1023 (10th Cir. 2012) (quoting Hansen v. Harper
Excavating, Inc., 641 F.3d 1216, 1220 (10th Cir. 2011)).
The court must always assure itself of its jurisdiction over
an action, even when the parties do not raise it, because
“[f]ederal courts are courts of limited
jurisdiction.” Montoya v. Chao, 296 F.3d 952,
955 (10th Cir. 2002). As the party invoking this court's
jurisdiction, MTC has the burden to show a basis for
jurisdiction exists here. Id.
argues the court has jurisdiction over the claims in this
case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because the parties
are completely diverse and the relevant threshold amount is
at issue. (See MTC's Br. re Subject Matter
Jurisdiction, Dkt. No. 18.) Ms. Delaluz does not contest the
jurisdictional facts or legal arguments MTC presents. On this
record, the court finds MTC has demonstrated that Isela's
citizenship properly remains located in Idaho and that the
parties are therefore diverse, despite contrary allegations
in the Second Amended Complaint.
the court is satisfied that it has subject matter
jurisdiction, the procedural posture of this case raises a
non-jurisdictional issue: whether MTC waived its removal
right by participating ...