United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION
TO AMEND COMPLAINT (DKTS. 28, 33)
A. GOLDSMITH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Eugene Cook originally filed this action in the Wayne County
Circuit Court. Defendant Family Dollar Stores of Michigan,
LLC (“Family Dollar”) removed the action to this
Court on May 2, 2018. In his complaint, Cook alleges that he
was shopping at Family Dollar and was assaulted by several of
its employees. Compl. ¶¶ 7-12 (Dkt. 1). Although
his original complaint named only Family Dollar as a
Defendant, he now says that he has identified his assailants
and seeks permission to file an amended complaint naming
these individuals - Jamin Dubose, Martell Durham, Donzel
Ross, David Bryant, Deonte Saxton, and Takeila Mckinney - as
Defendants. The parties agree that adding these individuals
would destroy diversity jurisdiction.
removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e), provides that
“[i]f after removal plaintiff seeks to join additional
defendants whose joinder would destroy subject matter
jurisdiction, the court may deny joinder, or permit joinder
and remand the action to the State court.” The court
has discretion to allow the addition of these defendants,
based on the following factors: “(1) the extent to
which the proposed amendment's intent was to destroy
federal jurisdiction, (2) whether the plaintiff was dilatory
in filing the motion to amend, (3) whether the plaintiff
would be significantly injured if the motion to amend were
denied, and (4) any other equitable factors.”
Telecom Decision Makers, Inc. v. Access Integrated
Networks, Inc., 654 Fed.Appx. 218, 221 (6th Cir. 2016)
(citing Bailey v. Bayer CropScience, L.P., 563 F.3d
302, 209 (8th Cir. 2009); Mayes v. Rapoport, 198
F.3d 457, 462-463 (4th Cir. 1999)).
Dollar argues that Cook seeks to amend the complaint solely
to destroy federal jurisdiction. Def. Resp. at 3 (Dkt. 29).
It claims that Cook waited until February 2019 to file his
motion to amend, even though he learned the names of Family
Dollar employees in a September 7, 2018 deposition and was
able to depose three additional employees at the end of
November 2018. Family Dollar contends that Cook can simply
file a separate complaint against the additional proposed
Defendants in state court. Family Dollar also points out that
all of its employees “vehemently denied any knowledge
of or involvement in Plaintiff's alleged attack[.]”
Id. at 2.
reply, Cook says that he has moved expeditiously. He claims
that in the September 2018 deposition, he only learned the
names of the individuals working at the Family Dollar store
on the day of his alleged attack. It was not until December
that he received the transcripts of the November depositions
and the photos of the individuals and was then able to
determine which of the employees were the alleged assailants.
Pl. Reply at PageID.172 (Dkt. 30).
Court finds that the balance of factors weighs in favor of
granting Cook's motion. Family Dollar offers nothing to
support its contention that Cook is simply trying to destroy
diversity jurisdiction - the individuals that Cook seeks to
add as Defendants were allegedly the assailants the day he
was assaulted at the Family Dollar store. The fact that the
employees denied involvement in the attack during their
deposition does not prohibit Cook from naming them as
Defendants in this case. It is a much better use of the
parties' and the courts' time to adjudicate
Cook's claims against Family Dollar and the individuals
at once, rather than having two separate actions in two
separate courts based on the same event. Further, it was
reasonable for Cook to wait until December to confirm the
identities of his assailants, and he was not dilatory in
waiting until February to file the motion to amend.
these reasons, Cook's motion to amend (Dkts. 28, 33) is
granted. Cook shall file his amended complaint on or before
July 11, 2019. If the amended complaint makes clear that
diversity jurisdiction is lacking, see 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a), the Court will then enter an order remanding
this case to the Wayne County Circuit Court.
 Cook's proposed amended complaint
provides only that the proposed Defendants are
“residents” of Michigan. Prop. Am. Compl., Ex. A
to Pl. Mot., ¶ 3 (Dkt. 33-1). While Family Dollar's
notice of removal established that Cook is a citizen of
Michigan and Family Dollar is a citizen of Virginia,
see 3d Am. Notice of Removal, ¶ 4 (Dkt. 11),
the Court cannot determine the citizenship of the proposed
Defendants based on the proposed amended complaint. The
citizenship of an individual for diversity purposes is his or
her state of domicile, rather than residence. Deasy v.
Louisville & Jefferson County Metro. Sewer Dist., 47
Fed.Appx. 726, 728 (6th Cir. 2002) (“To establish the
‘citizenship' required for ...