United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO REMAND
L. ROBART, United States District Judge
the court is Plaintiff The Northwest Railway Museum's
("the Museum") motion to remand. (Mot. (Dkt # 8).)
The court has considered the parties' submissions in
support of and in opposition to the motion, the relevant
portions of the record, and the applicable law. Being fully
advised,  the court denies the Museum's motion.
August 8, 2016, Robin Ann Roettger sued the City of
Snoqualmie, Washington, for injuries she sustained after
falling on a public sidewalk. (See generally
Roettger Compl. (Dkt. #11-1).) In her complaint, Ms. Roettger
alleges that she required multiple surgeries and "many
invasive and expensive medical procedures." (Id.
¶ 5.1; see Murphy Decl. (Dkt. # 11)
¶ 14.) The City of Snoqualmie, in turn, sued
the Museum for complete indemnification, alleging either that
the Museum agreed to a hold harmless stipulation as part of
its permit for using the sidewalk on which Ms. Roettger fell
or that the Museum had actual control over the sidewalk and
failed to warn Ms. Roettger. (Snoqualmie Compl. (Diet. #
11-2) ¶¶ 8.1-8.8.)
Museum then filed a liability insurance claim with Defendant
Indian Harbor Insurance Company ("Indian Harbor").
(Compl. (Dkt. # 1-2) ¶ 16.) Indian Harbor
refused to cover the Museum's potential liability from
the City of Snoqualmie's lawsuit. (Id. ¶
17.) In response, the Museum filed this lawsuit against
Indian Harbor and its parent corporation Defendant XL
Specialty Insurance Company (collectively,
"Defendants") in King County Superior Court for (1)
breach of contract, (2) bad faith conduct, (3) unreasonable
denial of coverage under the Insurance Fair Conduct Act
("IFCA"), RCW 48.30.015, and (4) violations of the
Consumer Protection Act ("CPA"), RCWch. 19.86.
(See generally Compl.)
removed the action based on diversity subject matter
jurisdiction. (Not. of Removal (Dkt. # 1).) The Museum now
moves to remand because (1) Defendants failed to prove
complete diversity of citizenship among the parties, and (2)
Defendants failed to prove an amount in controversy over $75,
000, 00. (Mot. at 3-4.) The court now considers the
has subject matter jurisdiction over an action when there is
complete diversity of citizenship among the parties and the
amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.00. Abrego Abrego
v. The Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2006)
(citing 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)). Removal from state court
to federal court is proper where the federal court would have
original jurisdiction over the state court action.
Id. at 679-80 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a)).
However, courts strictly construe the removal statute against
removal jurisdiction and must reject jurisdiction if there is
any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance.
Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir.
1992). "The 'strong presumption' against removal
jurisdiction means that the defendant always has the burden
of establishing that removal is proper." Id.
(quoting St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab Co.,
303 U.S. 283, 288-290 (1938)).
Complete Diversity of the Parties
Museum disputes the court's jurisdiction by arguing that
Defendants made an insufficient showing of complete diversity
of citizenship in their notice of removal. (Mot. at 3.)
Diversity subject matter jurisdiction requires complete
diversity of citizenship among the parties. Caterpillar
Inc. v, Lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 68 (1996); 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). Complete diversity exists when the
state citizenship of each plaintiff is different from the
state citizenship of each defendant. Id. (citing 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a)). A corporation can be a citizen in two
states: (1) its state of incorporation and (2) the state
where its principal place of business, typically its
headquarters, is located, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1);
Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 93 (2010)
(concluding that a principal place of business is
"normally" a corporation's headquarters).
Defendants' notice of removal could be clearer,
Defendants state that they are (1) incorporated in Delaware,
and (2) citizens of states other than Washington.
(See Not. of Removal ¶ 6.) Further,
Defendants' counsel attests that Defendants are
incorporated in Delaware with their principal places of
business in Stamford, Connecticut. (Murphy Decl. ¶¶
3-4.) Defendants allege the same in their counterclaims.
(Answer at 8.) Because the Museum is a citizen of Washington
(see Compl. ¶1; see also Not.
of Removal ¶ 6), complete diversity of citizenship
exists between Defendants and the Museum. Indeed, the Museum
implicitly acknowledges as much by abandoning its diversity
of citizenship argument in its reply memorandum.
(See Reply (Dkt. #12).) Thus, the court concludes
that Defendants have established complete diversity of
citizenship among the parties.