United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
DAVID PROCTOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on Defendant Great American
Alliance Insurance Company’s Motion for Realignment of
Parties (Doc. # 3) and Motion to Consolidate Cases (Doc. #
4), and Plaintiff Cahaba Valley Health Service’s Motion
to Remand (Doc. # 8). After careful consideration, and for
the reasons explained below, the court concludes that
Defendant’s Motion for Realignment of Parties (Doc. #
3) and Motion to Consolidate Cases (Doc. # 4) are due to be
granted, and Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand is due to be
25, 2019, this action was filed by Plaintiff Cahaba Valley
Health Services (“Cahaba”) in Alabama state
court seeking payment of insurance benefits by
Defendant Great American Alliance Insurance Company
(“Great American”). (Doc. # 1 at ¶2). Cahaba
previously obtained a judgment in state court against Great
American’s insured, Bravo Food Services, LLC
(“Bravo”). (Doc. # 1 at ¶2).
Complaint contains two counts. Count One, titled Request for
Declaratory Judgment, seeks a ruling establishing the right
of Cahaba to recover Bravo’s insurance benefits under a
policy issued by Great American. (Id. at ¶3).
As part of that claim, Cahaba also requests that Great
American be required to indemnify Cahaba and Bravo in
connection with the verdict obtained in the underlying
lawsuit. (Id.). Count Two, titled Direct Action
Against Insurer, alleges that Cahaba, as a judgment creditor
of Bravo, has a statutory right under Alabama Code §
27-23-2 to bring a direct action against Great American for
payment of the insurance policy benefits purchased by Bravo.
is a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of
Alabama with its principal place of business in Centreville,
Alabama. (Id. at ¶9). Bravo is a limited
liability company (LLC) organized under the laws of Alabama.
(Id. at ¶10). Bravo has two members: Ramon
Arias and Pamela Arias, who are both residents of Jefferson
County, Alabama, and citizens of the State of Alabama.
(Id.). Great American is a corporation organized
under the laws of Ohio, with its principal place of business
in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Id. at ¶11).
American filed a timely Notice of Removal, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a), on July 30, 2019. (Id. at
¶3). At the time of removal, Cahaba was listed as
Plaintiff, with Great American and Bravo listed as
Defendants’. (Id.). Cahaba maintains that
removal is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) because
Bravo should be realigned, in accordance with its interests.
If Bravo is so realigned, diversity of citizenship under
§ 1332(a) is proper. Moreover, Great American maintains
removal is proper because the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa
County, Alabama, the court in which this action was pending,
is located within the jurisdiction of the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. (Doc. #
1 at ¶5).
to the filing of the instant action, on July 1, 2019, Great
American filed a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment
(“the Related Action”),  which sought a ruling that
it does not have the duty to defend or indemnify Bravo or
Cahaba in connection with the verdict obtained in the
Underlying Lawsuit. (Doc. # 4 at ¶3). The same parties
(Bravo, Cahaba, and Great American) are present in both the
instant action and the Related Action. (Id. at
there are three motions pending before the court. (Docs. # 3,
4, 8). First, Defendant Great American’s Motion for
Realignment of Parties. (Doc. # 3). Second, Defendant Great
American’s Motion for Consolidation. (Doc. # 4). Third,
Plaintiff Cahaba’s Motion to Remand this case to the
Circuit Court of Bibb County. (Doc. # 8).
Great American requests that this court consolidate the two
cases and realign the parties to reflect their respective
interests. Plaintiff opposes these requests and asks this
court to remand this case to state court because the parties
are not diverse. The outcome of these competing motions turns
on whether the court has subject matter jurisdiction over the
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and “because
removal jurisdiction raises significant federalism concerns,
federal courts are directed to construe removal statutes
strictly. Indeed, all doubts about jurisdiction should be
resolved in favor of remand to state court.” Univ.
of S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 411 (11th
Cir. 1999) (citations omitted). Even so, cases that
originally could have been filed in federal court may invoke
this court's jurisdiction through removal from a state
court proceeding. E.g., Burns v. Windsor Ins.
Co., 31 F.3d 1092, 1095 (11th Cir. 1994).
context, for removal to be proper, there must be complete
diversity of citizenship and the amount in controversy must
exceed $75, 000. Here, the parties do not dispute that the
amount in controversy requirement is met, (Doc. # 1 at
¶8), and with good reason: there was a $1, 825, 000
judgment entered by the state court. (Doc. # 1 at ¶4).
Thus, the court’s ...