Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Walter P Rawl & Sons Inc. v. RSM U.S. LLP

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

August 27, 2019

Walter P. Rawl & Sons, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
RSM U.S. LLP, Defendant.

          ORDER AND OPINION

         This matter is before the court pursuant to Plaintiff Walter P. Rawl & Sons, Inc.'s (“Rawl” or “Plaintiff”) Motion to Remand pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). (ECF No. 11). Defendant RSM U.S. LLP (“RSM”) filed its response in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (ECF No. 14). Plaintiff then submitted its Reply in Support of its Motion to Remand (ECF No. 16). For the reasons set forth below, the court finds that Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (ECF No. 11) is DENIED because Defendant did not waive its right to remove this dispute to federal court.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On December 7, 2018, Plaintiff filed its Summons and Complaint (ECF No. 1-1 at 1-13) in the Court of Common Pleas for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in Lexington County, South Carolina. Plaintiff's Complaint alleges breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, fraud, and breach of warranty, and requests at least one million six hundred thousand dollars and zero cents ($1, 600, 000.00) in monetary relief. (See Id. at 9-12.) In response to Plaintiff's Complaint (ECF No. 1-1 at 2-13), Defendant timely filed its Notice of Removal (ECF No. 1) on January 8, 2019, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 and § 1446, thus invoking the court's diversity jurisdiction. (Id.)

         On February 6, 2019, Plaintiff timely filed its Motion to Remand pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). (ECF No. 11.) Plaintiff's Motion to Remand argues that removal is improper based on a provision from the Master Services Agreement (“Agreement”) (ECF No. 11-1) between Plaintiff and Defendant entitled “Applicable Law and Jurisdiction.” The Agreement states, in pertinent part:

Each Party agrees that any suit, action, or other legal proceeding brought by such Party against any other Party in connection with or arising from this Agreement shall be brought solely in a state or federal court located in the State of South Carolina and each Party irrevocably consents to the personal jurisdiction of, and waives objection to venue in, each such court.

(ECF No. 11-1 at 12-13.)

         Plaintiff argues that Defendant is barred from removal because Defendant “waived its right to remove the action from [P]laintiff's chosen venue under the terms of [the above provision].” (ECF No. 11 at 2.) In response to Plaintiff's Motion (ECF No. 11), Defendant timely filed its Opposition to Motion to Remand (ECF No. 14) on February 20, 2019. Defendant's Opposition argues that the provision at issue only “require[s] suit within the geographic confines of South Carolina” and that “[n]othing in the agreements waives the unrelated and independent right to remove.” (ECF No. 14 at 7.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Removal and Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

         Generally, “any civil action in a [s]tate court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) (emphasis added). As it relates to removal to federal court, an action may be removed when there is a claim “arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States” and one “not within the original or supplemental jurisdiction of the district court or a claim that has been made non-removable by statute…” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(c)(1)(A)-(B). “In any case removed from a [s]tate court, the district court may issue all necessary orders and process to bring before it all proper parties whether served by process issued by the State court or otherwise.” 42 U.S.C. § 1447(a). When a case is removed to a federal district court, “[a] motion to remand the case on the basis of any defect other than lack of subject matter jurisdiction must be made within 30 days after the filing of the notice of removal under section 1446(a).” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) (emphasis added). However, because federal courts have limited jurisdiction, “[i]f at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded.” Id. (emphasis added).

         Subject-matter jurisdiction “involves a court's power to hear a case” and may never be “forfeited or waived.” United States v. Cotton, 535 U.S. 625, 630 (2002). A federal court has an “independent obligation to determine whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, even in the absence of a challenge from any party.” Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006) (citing Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574, 583 (1999)). Therefore, as stated above, when a federal district court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over an action that has been removed from a state court, a federal district court is compelled to remand the action to state court for further legal proceedings. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

         There is no dispute that complete diversity exists between the Parties to this controversy. (ECF Nos. 1, 1-1.) At the time Plaintiff filed its Complaint, and on the date of removal, Plaintiff was a South Carolina corporation with its principal place of business in South Carolina, and Defendant was a limited liability partnership of the State of Iowa with its principal place of business in Illinois. (ECF No. 1-1 at 2.) Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that Plaintiff paid Defendant one million six hundred thousand dollars and zero cents ($1, 600, 000.00) for services not received by Plaintiff, and the Complaint requests “all economic damages due and owed.” (Id. at 13.) ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.