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Bravo! Facility Service, Inc. v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Mid-Atlantic States, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

May 30, 2017

BRAVO! FACILITY SERVICE, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
KAISER FOUNDATION HEALTH PLAN OF THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          T.S. Ellis, m United States District Judge.

         At issue on plaintiffs motion to remand this removed diversity action is whether the removing defendant adequately complied with the removal statute (28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(2)(A)) where, as here, the notice of removal states that "all other defendants . . . have joined in this notice of removal, as evidenced by the joinders, " and one defendant filed evidence of her consent to removal within the thirty (30) day removal period and the other three did not.

         For the reasons that follow, settled circuit precedent confirms that the notice of removal falls short of unambiguously stating that all defendants consented to removal. Therefore, plaintiffs motion to remand must be granted because there is doubt as to whether every defendant timely consented to removal.

         I.

         Plaintiff BRAVO! Facility Services, Inc. is an environmental services corporation with its principal place of business in Vienna, Virginia.[1] Defendant Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic, Inc. ("Kaiser"), a subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente, is a healthcare plan company that is incorporated in Maryland and maintains its principal place of business in Rockville, Maryland. Defendant Troy A. Blades ("Blades") is a resident and citizen of Maryland, who at all relevant times was a Kaiser employee. Defendant Osmond Adams ("Adams") is also a resident and citizen of Maryland and was a Kaiser employee during all relevant times. Defendant Marie Vought ("Vought"), also a resident and citizen of Maryland, was plaintiffs Director of Environmental Services and had been previously employed by Kaiser. Blackstone Consulting, Inc. ("BCI"), the removing defendant, is a California environmental services corporation that competed directly with the plaintiff for Kaiser's environmental services contract.

         On July 1, 2012, plaintiff entered into a five-year contract with defendant Kaiser to perform a variety of environmental services at Kaiser's facilities in the Mid-Atlantic region. This contract was scheduled to expire on June 30, 2017. Approximately nine months before the expiration of the contract, Kaiser terminated plaintiffs services and replaced the plaintiff with defendant BCI and ABM, a non-party company that was also one of plaintiff s competitors.

         Plaintiff alleges that as early as 2015, defendants Kaiser, Blades, Adams, Vought and BCI conspired to replace plaintiff as Kaiser's environmental service provider. As part of this alleged conspiracy, plaintiff claims the defendants planted defendant Vought as a senior employee in plaintiffs company in order to steal plaintiffs valuable proprietary information and to recruit plaintiffs employees to work for BCI and ABM.

         In February 2017, Plaintiff sued the five defendants in the Fairfax County Circuit Court, alleging eight causes of action:

i. tortious interference with a contract against defendants Blades, Adams, Vought and BCI;
ii. conspiracy to interfere tortiously with an contract against all defendants;
iii. tortious interference with prospective economic advantages against defendants Blades, Adams, Vought and BCI;
iv. conspiracy to interfere tortiously with prospective economic advantages (against all defendants);
v. statutory business conspiracy against all defendants;
vi. breach of fiduciary duties of loyalty and care against ...

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