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Platis v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

November 6, 2014

PAUL P. PLATIS, Plaintiff,
v.
BP EXPLORATION & PRODUCTION, INC., and OIL RECOVERY COMPANY, INC. OF ALABAMA, Defendants.

ORDER

KATHERINE P. NELSON, Magistrate Judge.

This action is before the Court on the "Motion for Voluntary Dismissal without Prejudice of Defendant BP Exploration & Production, Inc." (Doc. 3) and "Motion to Remand" (Doc. 4) filed by the Plaintiff, Paul P. Platis ("Platis").[1]

The motion for voluntary dismissal moves to Defendant BP Exploration & Production, Inc. ("BP") without prejudice under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1). ( See Doc. 3 at 1). As BP has not yet filed an answer or a motion for summary judgment, the Court construes the motion for voluntary dismissal (Doc. 3) as a notice of dismissal of BP under Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i), which requires no separate order of dismissal and is effective immediately upon filing. See Matthews v. Gaither, 902 F.2d 877, 880 (11th Cir. 1990) (Rule 41(a)(1) "grants a plaintiff an unconditional right to dismiss his complaint by notice and without an order of the court at any time prior to the defendant's service of an answer or a motion for summary judgment. The dismissal is effective immediately upon the filing of a written notice of dismissal, and no subsequent court order is required. The fact that a notice of dismissal is styled motion to dismiss' rather than notice of dismissal' is without consequence." (internal citations omitted)); Klay v. United Healthgroup, Inc., 376 F.3d 1092, 1106 (11th Cir. 2004) ("Rule 41 allows a plaintiff to dismiss all of his claims against a particular defendant..."). Thus, BP is no longer a party to this action, and the Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to terminate BP as such.

Regarding Platis's motion to remand under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), such request for relief is premised entirely on the proposition that "[s]ubsequent to Plaintiff's dismissal of Defendant BP Exploration and Production, Inc., no subject matter jurisdictional grounds exist, as to the action pending against Defendant Oil Recovery Company, Inc. in this Court." (Doc. 4). However, a review of the Complaint (Doc. 1-1 at 3-10) indicates that Platis's state-law negligence and wantonness claims against the remaining Defendant, Oil Recovery Company, Inc. ("ORC"), are still premised primarily on activities related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill clean-up. BP's notice of removal (Doc. 1), to which ORC consented (Doc. 1-2), provides two plausible arguments, supported by caselaw, as to why there is subject matter jurisdiction over this action based on the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act ("OCSLA"), 43 U.S.C. § 1331, et seq., and Platis has provided no authority indicating otherwise. Moreover, even assuming that the post-removal dismissal of BP has eliminated the basis for federal jurisdiction in this action, "a district court's removal jurisdiction is determined at the time of removal, and events occurring after removal... do not oust the district court's jurisdiction.'" Smith v. Wynfield Dev. Co., Inc., 238 F.Appx. 451, 455 (11th Cir. 2007) (quoting Poore v. Am.-Amicable Life Ins. Co. of Texas, 218 F.3d 1287, 1290-91 (11th Cir. 2000)). "[W]hen a defendant removes a case to federal court based on the presence of a federal claim, an amendment eliminating the original basis for federal jurisdiction generally does not defeat jurisdiction." Rockwell Int'l Corp. v. United States, 549 U.S. 457, 474 n.6 (2007). See also IMFC Prof'l Servs. of Florida, Inc. v. Latin Am. Home Health, Inc., 676 F.2d 152, 157 (5th Cir. Unit B 1982)[2] ("[A]mendment of a complaint...to eliminate a federal question does not oust a court of jurisdiction (absent sham pleading)..."); Nelson v. Whirlpool Corp., 727 F.Supp.2d 1294, 1301 (S.D. Ala. 2010) (Steele, C.J.).

Accordingly, it is ORDERED that Platis's motion to remand (Doc. 4) is DENIED, without prejudice to his ability to timely file another motion to remand that is supported by sufficient argument and authority. Should ORC timely file a notice that it consents to remand, the Court will reconsider the motion (Doc. 4).[3]

DONE and ORDERED.


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