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Holt v. Food Lion Grocery Store of Chester

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

January 4, 2019

KATHERINE H. HOLT, Plaintiff,
v.
FOOD LION GROCERY STORE OF CHESTER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROBERT E. PAYNE, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on PLAINTIFF, KATHERINE H. HOLT' S MOTION TO REMAND (ECF No. 2), which, for the following reasons, will be denied.

         BACKGROUND

         I. Procedural Context

         In this action, Katherine H. Holt sues Food Lion Grocery Store of Chester, Delhaize America, Inc., and Food Lion, LLC (hereinafter "Food Lion") on a state law tort claim for a slip and fall that occurred at a Food Lion grocery store. Compl. at 1-5 (ECF No. 1-1). Holt initially brought this action in the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond ("state action"). Compl. at 1 (ECF No. 1-1). Food Lion removed the case to this Court on July 19, 2018 based on diversity jurisdiction. Notice of Removal (ECF No. 1). Holt moved to remand the case to state court on July 27, 2018 (ECF No. 2).

         II. Relevant Facts

         There are two sets of relevant facts. The first relates to the citizenship of the parties. The second relates to the amount in controversy.

         A. Citizenship of the Parties

         At the time of the filing of the state action and the filing of the Notice of Removal, Holt was a citizen of Virginia. ECF No. 1 at ¶ 4.

         According to the Notice of Removal, Food Lion Grocery Store of Chester is not a legal entity. ECF No. 1 at ¶ 5. See also Aff. of Bruce Astrachan (ECF No. 1-3 at ¶ 2).[1]

         Delhaize America, Inc. has a complex structure. Delhaize America, Inc. was a North Carolina corporation whose principal place of business was Salisbury, North Carolina. ECF No. 1 at ¶ 7. Delhaize America, Inc. has since become Delhaize America, LLC, a North Carolina LLC whose sole member is Delhaize U.S. Holdings, Inc., a Delaware Corporation whose principal place of business is Salisbury, North Carolina. Id. The sole member of Delhaize U.S. Holdings, Inc., is Ahold Delhaize USA, Inc., a Delaware corporation whose principal place of business is Quincy, Massachusetts. Id. The sole member of Ahold Delhaize USA, Inc., is Ahold Delhaize Investment Holding, Inc., a Delaware corporation (principal place of business unspecified). Id. The sole member of Ahold Delhaize Investment Holding, Inc., is Ahold Delhaize America Holding, Inc., a Delaware corporation (principal place of business unspecified). Id. The indirect parent of Ahold Delhaize America Holding, Inc., is Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize N.V., a Dutch public company whose principal place of business is located in the Netherlands. Id. The Notice of Removal squarely asserts that "Delhaize America, Inc. is not a citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia." Id.

         Food Lion, LLC is a North Carolina LLC (principal place of business unspecified) . ECF No. 1 at ¶ 6. Its sole member is Delhaize America, LLC. Id. Delhaize America, LLC's structure is set out above. Again, the Notice of Removal squarely asserts that "Food Lion, LLC is not a citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia at the time of the filing of this Notice of Removal and was not a citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia at the time of the commencement of the State Court Action."[2] Id.

         B. Amount in Controversy

         Holt's state action sought damages in the amount of $400, 000. Compl. at 4-5 (ECF No. 1-1) . In the Notice of Removal, Food Lion states that "[t]he amount in controversy. . .exceeds the sum of $75, 000, exclusive of interests and costs, as ...


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