United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division
SNORMAN K. MOON ENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Bessie Lawhorne's
Motion to Remand the action to the Circuit Court for the City
of Charlottesville pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
(Dkt. 8). Defendant Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., which
removed the action, filed an opposition. (Dkt. 15). The Court
heard the matter and the Motion is ripe for a determination.
Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Partial
Voluntary Dismissal without Prejudice with Respect to
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Dkt. 19). For the reasons set
out below, the Court will remand the case to the Circuit
Court for the City of Charlottesville and deny the motion to
dismiss as moot.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
an automobile accident case. According to the complaint, on
May 12, 2017, Bessie Lawhorne (“Lawhorne”) was a
passenger in a minivan traveling eastbound on I-64 in Louisa
County, Virginia. (Dkt. 1, Notice of Removal Ex. A, Am.
Compl. ¶ 6). Lawhorne alleges that another car, driven
by Defendant Trisha Mashayekh, struck the minivan from
behind, “forcing [it] off the roadway and into the
median.” (Id. ¶ 8). Lawhorne alleges that
as a result of the collision she sustained serious, severe,
painful, and permanent injuries. (Id. ¶ 10).
Lawhorne further alleges that at the time of the collision
Mashayekh was acting within the course and scope of her
employment with Walgreen Co. and/or Walgreen Boots Alliance
(“WBA”). (See Id. ¶¶ 13, 17).
filed a personal injury action in the Circuit Court for the
City of Charlottesville in January 2019, naming Mashayekh and
WBA as defendants. On February 6, she amended the complaint
to add Walgreen Co. (See Dkt. 9 (Pl.'s Br. in
Supp. of Mot. to Remand at 2)). In her amended complaint,
Lawhorne alleges she is a citizen of Virginia and, upon
information and belief: (1) Defendant Mashayekh is a resident
of Virginia; (2) Walgreen Co. is a corporation with its
principle office in Illinois; and (3) Walgreens Boots
Alliance, Inc. is a corporation with its principle office in
Illinois. (Dkt. 1-1 (Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 1-4).
negligence action is against Mashayekh directly and against
Walgreen Co. and WBA under the principles of agency and
respondeat superior. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 8-19). She
seeks $2.5 million in damages. (Am. Compl. at 8). Service was
made on WBA in February 2019 and WBA filed an answer on
February 22, 2019. Service was not made on the other
defendants, including Mashayekh, prior to removal.
removed the action to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1332(a)(1), 1441, and 1446. (Dkt. 1). WBA
asserts that Lawhorne, a citizen of Virginia, and WBA, a
foreign corporation, are diverse from each other and that the
amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. (Dkt. 1). WBA also
alleges that at the time of the removal, Walgreen Co. and
Mashayekh had not been served with process and, as a result,
“complete diversity exists” and the Court has
subject matter jurisdiction over the action. (Id.;
Dkt. 9 at 1)).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing only
that power authorized by the United States Constitution and
by statute. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Generally, a case may be
filed in federal court if there is diversity of citizenship
under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 or if there is federal question
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
removal statute allows a state court defendant to remove a
case to federal district court if the state court action
could have been originally filed there. Fed.R.Civ.P. §
1441(a) (“Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act
of Congress, any civil action brought in a State court of
which the district courts of the United States have original
jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or defendants,
to the district court . . . .”). This Court has
“original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the
matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000 
and is between  citizens of different states.” 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). “Section 1332 requires
complete diversity among the parties, meaning that the
citizenship of every plaintiff must be different from the
citizenship of every defendant.” Cent. W.Va. Energy
Co. v. Mountain State Carbon, LLC, 636 F.3d 101, 103
(4th Cir. 2011) (citing Caterpillar, Inc. v. Lewis,
519 U.S. 61, 68 (1996)).
statutes are strictly construed against removal and all
doubts about the propriety of removal are resolved in favor
of retained state court jurisdiction. Marshall v.
Manville Sales Corp. 6 F.3d 229, 232 (4th Cir. 1993).
The removing party bears the burden of showing removal was
proper. Md. Stadium Auth. v. Ellerbe Becket Inc.,
407 F.3d 255, 260 (4th Cir. 2005). In determining a motion to
remand, the court looks to the record at the time of the
removal. Lowery v. Ala. Power Co., 483 F.3d 1184,
1213-15 (11th Cir. 2007).
Plaintiff's Motion to Remand
removed this action from the Circuit Court for the City of
Charlottesville, alleging federal subject matter jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332 and 1441 because
“Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., is not a citizen of
Virginia and complete diversity exists given the other
co-defendants have not been served.” (Dkt. 1 at 1, 2).
Thus, WBA asserts that the Court should not remand this case
because at the time of removal complete diversity existed
among the ...