Doe v. OwenMcClelland LLC (Lawyers Weekly No. 002-039-12, 8 pp.) (J. Michelle Childs, J.) 8:11-cv-01008; D.S.C.
Holding: Plaintiff alleges that she was kidnapped, beaten, held against her will, and raped while a customer on the premises of the All-Safe Storage facility in Seneca. Although defendants contend that the facility manager was fraudulently joined as a defendant in order to defeat diversity jurisdiction, plaintiff has alleged that the manager had sufficient control over the facility to establish the possibility of maintaining a cause of action against her.
Plaintiff’s motion to remand to state court is granted.
Plaintiff is an S.C. resident. The only S.C. defendant is the facility manager, Kimberly Chewning. Defendants removed to this court based on their contention that Chewning was fraudulently joined to defeat federal diversity jurisdiction.
However, plaintiff has alleged that Chewning is the property manager for All-Safe Storage; Chewning completes the written applications for persons wishing to lease storage units at All-Safe Storage; Chewning signs the rental agreements on behalf of All-Safe Storage; Chewning receives rent from occupants at All-Safe Storage and issues receipts for said rent; Chewning programs and operates the access-control gate for All-Safe Storage; Chewning was aware that, despite notices and advertising to the contrary, All-Safe Storage did not have any form of video surveillance and/or surveillance cameras at the facility; Chewning and other agents of All-Safe Storage performed “security checks”; Chewning saw plaintiff’s attacker come and go from All-Safe Storage on foot and never saw him with an automobile or with anyone else; and Chewning saw plaintiff’s attacker, on several occasions, crawl under the front gate of All-Safe Storage in order to leave the premises.
Upon consideration of these allegations, the court is persuaded that plaintiff has alleged enough facts regarding Chewning’s control over the All-Safe Storage facility to establish the possibility of maintaining a cause of action against Chewning. Accordingly, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
Remanded to state court.