United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
GRAY M. ORDENUNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Brenda Sides filed this lawsuit in the Circuit Court of
Montgomery County, Alabama on August 3, 2016, naming Sodexo,
Inc. (“Sodexo”) as the defendant. On August 16,
2016, Sodexo removed the case to this court on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Doc. 1. Now before the court is Sides' motion for leave
to amend, which seeks leave to add a non-diverse defendant to
the lawsuit. Doc. 23. After reviewing the motion, and for the
reasons that follow, the court finds that Sides' motion
is due to be DENIED.
lawsuit was filed after Sides allegedly slipped and fell
while returning to her husband's hospital room at Baptist
Medical Center South. Doc. 1-1. At the time of the accident,
Sodexo was responsible for the cleaning operations at the
hospital. Doc. 1-1. Sides' complaint alleges that certain
agents, servants, or employees of Sodexo failed to clean the
hospital properly, that this failure created a hazardous and
dangerous condition, and that Sodexo failed to warn Sides
about this hazardous and dangerous condition. Doc. 1-1.
Sodexo is the only named defendant, and Sides asserts purely
state-law claims against it for negligence; wantonness;
failure to properly train, maintain, inspect or warn of a
hazardous or dangerous condition; and respondeat superior.
removed the case from the Montgomery County Circuit Court to
this court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Doc. 1.
Sodexo alleges that Sides is a citizen of Alabama, that
Sodexo is a citizen of Delaware, and that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000, exclusive of interest and
costs. Doc. 1. Sides did not move to remand, and the court
entered a uniform scheduling order, setting January 9, 2017
as the deadline to amend pleadings. Doc. 15.
16, 2017, more than four months after the deadline to amend
passed, Sides moved to amend the complaint to add Cherylnthia
Johnson, a non-diverse party,  as a defendant. Doc. 23. On May
26, 2017, Sodexo objected to Sides' motion and urged the
court to disallow the requested amendment because (1) its
sole purpose is to defeat federal diversity jurisdiction; (2)
Sides was dilatory in requesting the amendment; (3) Sides
will not be significantly injured if the amendment is not
allowed; and (4) factors bearing on the equities weigh in
favor of disallowing the requested amendment. Doc. 25. In
response, Sides argues that the requested amendment should be
allowed because she will be significantly prejudiced if she
cannot join Johnson as a defendant. Doc. 27.
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 requires that the
amount in controversy exceed $75, 000, exclusive of interest
and costs, and that the dispute be between citizens of
different states. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). Of course,
“[f]ederal courts are courts of limited
jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Thus, “[t]hey
possess only that power authorized by [the] Constitution and
statute.” Id. A case may be removed to this
court from a state court only if it originally could have
been filed in federal court. See 28 U.S.C. §
1441(a); Burns v. Windsor Ins. Co., 31 F.3d 1092,
1095 (11th Cir. 1994). The party seeking removal bears the
burden of establishing federal jurisdiction with adequate
proof. See Friedman v. New York Life Ins. Co., 410
F.3d 1350, 1353 (11th Cir. 2005). In light of the federal
courts' limited jurisdiction, “removal statutes are
construed narrowly” and “uncertainties are
resolved in favor of remand.” Burns, 31 F.3d
at 1095 (citations omitted).
existence of federal jurisdiction is tested as of the time of
removal.” Ehlen Floor Covering, Inc. v.
Lamb, 660 F.3d 1283, 1287 (11th Cir. 2011). “If
after removal the plaintiff seeks to join additional
defendants whose joinder would destroy subject-matter
jurisdiction, the court may deny joinder, or permit joinder
and remand the action to the State court.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(e). The granting of leave for a post-removal
amendment that would destroy diversity jurisdiction is
(1) the extent to which the purpose of the amendment is to
defeat federal jurisdiction,
(2) whether the plaintiff has been dilatory in asking for the
(3) whether the plaintiff will be significantly injured if
the amendment is not allowed, and
(4) any other factors bearing on the equities.
Jones v. Rent-A-Ctr. E., Inc., 356 F.Supp.2d 1273,
1275 (M.D. Ala. 2005) (citing Hensgens v. Deere and
Co., 833 F.2d 1179, 1182 (5th Cir. 1987)). “In
making this determination, a district court must balance
competing interests-the danger of parallel federal and state
proceedings and the defendant's interest in retaining the
federal forum.” Ibis Villas at Miami Gardens Condo