U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, August 28, 2020
The state court matter of Paul Hotard was removed by a defendant to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on diversity grounds. The plaintiff filed a motion seeking to remand the matter to state court because, the plaintiff argued, the “removing party … was not identified as a defendant in the petition.” (Id., at p. 51). The defendant, in turn, argued that removal was proper as per “Louisiana’s system of pleading” because it was, in fact, “named as a defendant in the state court petition.”
Subject matter jurisdiction was not at issue. Instead, the court focused on whether the defendant was entitled to remove the case and, in particular, whether the removing defendant “was named as a defendant in the petition.” In order to make that determination, the court analyzed Louisiana’s pleading statute, as well as the specific allegations in the petition.
As for the statute, the court noted that it was required to construe “the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure liberally and with regard to the fact that forms of procedure implement the substantive law and are not an end in themselves.” As for the allegations, the court emphasized that there were “numerous references” to “additional defendants” in the petition, including allegations asserted against the removing defendant. As such, the court determined that the allegations indicated that the removing defendant was designated as a defendant.
In short, removal was proper and the court denied the motion to remand.