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.

Davis v. BOKF NA

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

January 16, 2018

BRUCE DAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
BOKF NA, AMERICAN FIDELITY ASSURANCE COMPANY, DEARBORN NATIONAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, and FMLA SOURCE, INC., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CLAIRE V. EAGAN, UNITHD STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Now before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Remand and Brief in Support (Dkt. # 7). Plaintiff Bruce Davis argues that the notice of removal was filed more than 30 days after defendant BOKF NA (BOKF) received a copy of the second amended petition, and he argues that the notice of removal fails to state that all defendants consented to the removal. Dkt. # 7, at 2-3. Plaintiff also argues that his second amended petition does not state a claim under federal law and removal on the basis of federal question jurisdiction was improper. Id. at 4. BOKF responds that plaintiff failed to properly serve the second amended petition on BOKF, and the 30 day time period to remove the case did not begin to run when plaintiff's counsel e-mailed a courtesy copy of the second amended petition to BOKF's counsel. Dkt. # 17, at 10-12. BOKF also argues that plaintiff's second amended petition plainly states a claim arising under federal law, and all defendants that have appeared have consented to the removal of this case to federal court.

         I.

         On March 6, 2017, plaintiff filed a petition in Tulsa County District Court alleging a breach of contract claim and a Burk tort[1] against BOK Financial Corporation, American Fidelity Assurance Company (American Fidelity), and Dearborn National Absence Management Services.[2] Dkt. # 1-2. Plaintiff alleges that he was employed as an information security risk consultant and vice president of BOKF, and he claims that his employment was wrongfully terminated after he took leave for a serious medical condition. Id. at 2-3. Plaintiff served BOK Financial Corporation, American Fidelity, and Dearborn National Absence Management Services with a copy of the petition and a summons, and BOK Financial Corporation and American Fidelity filed answers. Dkt. # 1-11, at 5-6. Plaintiff dismissed BOK Financial Corporation as a party and filed an amended petition (Dkt. # 1-6) substituting BOKF as a defendant. Plaintiff also added FMLA Source, Inc. as a party, but the amended petition did not add any new claims. The parties appeared for a scheduling conference and the state court granted plaintiff leave to file a second amended petition. Dkt. # 1-11, at 9. Plaintiff filed a second amended petition (Dkt. # 1-1) adding a claim under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. (FMLA).

         On October 20, 2017, plaintiff's counsel sent an e-mail to counsel for BOKF, and a copy of the second amended petition was attached to the e-mail. Dkt. # 17-3, at 1. BOKF asserts that it had not consented to receive service of documents by electronic means, and there is no evidence that the second amended petition was mailed or delivered by other means to BOKF's counsel. On November 21, 2017, BOKF filed a notice of removal (Dkt. # 1) removing the case to this Court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction, because plaintiff alleged a claim arising under federal law in his second amended petitition. Counsel for FMLA Source, Inc. and American Fidelity have consented to the removal. Dearborn National Absence Management Services did not file an answer to the original petition or otherwise appear in this case, and there is no evidence that Dearborn National Life Insurance Company had been served with a summons and copy of the second amended petition at the time of removal. Dkt. # 17-6, at 3-4.

         II.

         Removal to federal court is authorized for “any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441. To exercise this right, a defendant must file a notice for removal “within thirty days after the receipt by the defendant, through service or otherwise, of a copy of the initial pleading setting forth the claim for relief upon which such action or proceeding is based . . . [or] after receipt by the defendant . . . of a copy of an amended pleading, motion, order or other paper from which it may first be ascertained that the case is one which is or has become removable.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b). It has long been acknowledged that all defendants must join in removal. See Chicago, R.I. & P. Ry. Co. v. Martin, 178 U.S. 245, 248 (1900). “[G]iven the limited scope of federal jurisdiction, there is a presumption against removal, and courts must deny such jurisdiction if not affirmatively apparent on the record.” Okla. Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. JSSJ Corp., 149 Fed.Appx. 775, 778 (10th Cir. 2005).[3]

         III.

         Plaintiff argues that the case should be remanded to state court, because BOKF did not file a notice of removal within 30 days of the date that it received his second amended petition. Dkt. # 7, at 2. Plaintiff also argues that all defendants did not consent to the removal, and he claims that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the case. Id. at 3-5. BOKF responds that plaintiff failed to properly serve the second amended petition on BOKF and the 30 day time period for removal did not begin to run when BOKF's counsel received an e-mail from plaintiff's counsel on October 20, 2017. BOKF also argues that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the case, and all defendants that have been served have consented to the removal.

         A.

         Plaintiff argues that the case was improperly removed to this Court, because the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this case. In his motion to remand, plaintiff argues that the second amended petition does not contain a claim under the FMLA, and his state law employment discrimination claims do not raise a substantial issue of federal law. Dkt. # 7, at 4. In his reply, plaintiff plainly states that he has alleged an FMLA claim in his second amended petition, but he argues that the state court has concurrent jurisdiction over FMLA claims and removal of the case was improper. Dkt. # 29, at 3. Defendant responds that plaintiff has alleged a claim arising under federal law and removal of the case was proper. Dkt. # 17, at 3.

         Plaintiff has advanced contradictory and equally meritless arguments in attempt to show that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the case. The Court has reviewed the second amended petition and it clearly alleges a claim under the FMLA. Therefore, plaintiff's argument that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction under Grable & Sons Metal Products, Inc. v. Darue Eng'g & Mfg., 545 U.S. 308 (2005), is irrelevant, [4] because he has clearly alleged a claim arising under federal law. Plaintiff also argues that state and federal courts have concurrent jurisdiction over FMLA claims, and his FMLA claim was properly filed in state court. Dkt. # 29, at 3. A defendant may remove a case from state court if the case falls within the original jurisdiction of the federal courts, and an FMLA claim arises under federal law and may be heard in federal court under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Craycroft v. Dakkota Integrated Systems, LLC, 2016 WL 6780351 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 8, 2016). Even though FMLA claims can be filed in state court, this does not prevent a defendant from removing a case asserting an FMLA claim to federal court. Plaintiff has not shown that the case should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         B.

         Plaintiff asserts that his attorney e-mailed a copy of the second amended petition to BOKF's counsel on October 20, 2017 and this e-mail triggered BOKF's 30 day period to file a notice of removal. Dkt. # 7, at 2. He claims that BOKF was required to file a notice of removal no later than November 20, 2017, and he argues that the notice of removal filed on November 21, 2017 was untimely. BOKF responds that the 30 day period to file a notice of removal was not triggered when plaintiff's counsel sent an e-mail to BOKF's ...


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.