United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
Hannah Lauck, Judge
matter comes before the Court on two motions: Defendant SOS
International (VA) LTD and Defendant SOS International
"Defendants") Motion to Transfer Venue (the
"'Motion to Transfer"), (ECF No. 4), and
Plaintiff Eddie Legston's Motion to Remand ("the
Motion to Remand"), (ECF No. 6). Plaintiff did not
respond to Defendants' Motion to Transfer, and
the time to do so has expired. Defendants responded to
Plaintiffs Motion to Remand. Legston did not reply to
Defendants' response to the Motion to Remand.
the matter is ripe for disposition. The Court dispenses with
oral argument because the materials before it adequately
present the facts and legal contentions, and argument would
not aid in the decisional process. For the reasons that
follow, the Court will grant the Motion to Remand and deny
the Motion to Transfer as moot.
Factual and Procedural Background
brings this personal injury action against Defendants for
damages he sustained while working as a civilian instructor
providing classroom training for military equipment at Camp
Taji, Iraq. (Compl. ¶ 4, ECF No. 1-1.) Legston
alleges that he was injured when he was struck on the head
while operating a piece of exercise equipment that was
improperly maintained by Defendants. (Id.
¶¶ 6-14.) He further claims that Defendants
"negligently caused, permitted, and allowed to exist
certain dangerous, hazardous and unsafe conditions, that they
knew or should have known existed, and negligently fail[ed]
to warn [Legston] of the dangerous [conditions.]"
(Id. ¶ 20.)
originally filed the Complaint in the Circuit Court for the
City of Richmond (the "Richmond Circuit Court"). On
July 3, 2018, Defendants removed the case to this Court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and
1442. In their Notice of Removal, Defendants
noted that Legston improperly identified SOS International
LTD as "SOS International (VA) LTD'" and
"SOS International LTD." On July 10, 2018,
Defendants filed an Answer in this Court, reiterating
Legston's improper identification of Defendants. On that
same date, Defendants filed the Motion to Transfer.
did not respond to Defendants' Motion to Transfer. On
July 11, 2018, the next day, Legston filed the Motion to
Remand, arguing that the case should be remanded because it
was improperly removed by Defendants and that Defendants
could not show the required federal jurisdiction over the
case. Defendants responded to the Motion to Remand. (ECF No.
Analysis: Motion to Remand
Court first addresses the Motion to Remand. Legston moves to
remand the case to the Richmond Circuit Court, claiming that
it was improperly removed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1441 and 1442(a) because Defendants have not, and cannot,
meet their burden of establishing that federal question
jurisdiction exists over the matter in controversy. In their
Response, Defendants concede that neither of the Defendants,
as currently named, provide base operations support for the
U.S. Military in Iraq, and therefore this could not provide a
basis for the exercise of federal jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1442(a). Accordingly, Defendants do not oppose
the Motion to Remand. Based on the record before it, and
lacking any opposition, the Court concludes that this case
was improperly removed and should be remanded to the Richmond
party seeking removal bears the burden of establishing
federal jurisdiction. See, e.g., Mulcahey v. Columbia
Organic Chem. Co. 29 F.3d 148, 151 (4th Cir.
1994) (citing Wilson v. Republic Iron & Steel
Co., 257 U.S. 92, 97 (1921)). "If federal
jurisdiction is doubtful, a remand is necessary."
Id. (citations omitted). Although the federal
officer removal statute should be construed liberally, the
burden is on the removing party to establish each of the
elements of federal officer jurisdiction. CRGT, Inc. v.
Northrop Grumman Sys. Corp., No. 1:12-cv-554, 2012 WL
3776369, at *1 (E.D. Va. Aug. 28, 2012). Therefore, the
removing party must establish: (1) that it exists as a
"person" within the meaning of the statute; (2)
that the removing party acted pursuant to a federal
officer's directions; (3) that a causal nexus existed
between his or her actions taken under color of federal
office and the plaintiffs claims; and, (4) that a colorable
federal defense exists. L-3 Communications Corp. et al.
v. Serco, Inc., 39 F.Supp.3d 740, 745 (E.D. Va. Aug. 19,
2014); see also Mesa v. California, 489 U.S. 121,
The Court Will Remand the Case to the ...