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Doe v. Blair

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

March 21, 2016

JANE DOE #1, a minor, by her next friends and guardians, Ben and Kelly Houdersheldt; BEN HOUDERSHELDT; KELLY HOUDERSHELDT; JANE DOE #2, a minor, by her next friends and guardians, Ben and Kelly Houdersheldt, Plaintiffs - Appellees,
v.
MATT BLAIR, an individual; RES-CARE, INC., a foreign company, Defendants - Appellants

         Argued January 28, 2016.

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, at Beckley. (5:14-cv-23501). Irene C. Berger, District Judge.

         ARGUED:

         Edward Taylor George, MACCORKLE LAVENDER, PLLC, Charleston, West Virginia, for Appellants.

         Erwin Leon Conrad, CONRAD & CONRAD, PLLC, Fayetteville, West Virginia, for Appellees.

         ON BRIEF:

         Michael E. Mullins, MACCORKLE LAVENDER, PLLC, Charleston, West Virginia, for Appellant Matt Blair.

         John P. Fuller, Suleiman O. Oko-ogua, BAILEY & WYANT, PLLC, Charleston, West Virginia, for Appellant Res-Care, Inc.

         Jamison T. Conrad, CONRAD & CONRAD, PLLC, Fayetteville, West Virginia; Thomas A. Rist, RIST LAW OFFICES, Fayetteville, West Virginia, for Appellees.

         Before SHEDD and FLOYD, Circuit Judges, and Loretta C. BIGGS, United States District Judge for the Middle District of North Carolina, sitting by designation. Judge Floyd wrote the opinion, in which Judge Shedd and Judge Biggs joined.

          OPINION

         FLOYD, Circuit Judge:

         This appeal challenges the district court's sua sponte order remanding the underlying case to state court. The district court determined that federal diversity jurisdiction had not been established because the removing defendant--a corporation--failed to allege its principal place of business. Defendants argue that the district court did not have authority to remand the case. Plaintiffs contend that we do not have jurisdiction to review the remand order. Because the district court based its remand order on a procedural defect in the removal notice, we conclude both that we have jurisdiction to review the remand order and that the district court did not have authority to issue the remand order sua sponte. Accordingly, we reverse the district court's remand order and remand this case to the district court for further proceedings.

         I.

         On March 27, 2014, Jane Doe #1, through her next friends and guardians Ben and Kelly Houdersheldt, filed a complaint in West Virginia state court against Matt Blair (Blair) and Res-Care, Inc. (Res-Care). On July 14, 2014, Res-Care removed the case to federal court, asserting subject matter jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship. In the removal notice, Res-Care alleged that Jane Doe #1 was a West Virginia resident, Blair was a Virginia resident, and it was incorporated in Kentucky. However, Res-Care did not allege the state in which it had ...


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