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Mays v. Garden

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

October 16, 2019

YOLANDA MAYS, Plaintiff,
v.
OLIVE GARDEN, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND DISMISS THE COMPLAINT

          Bernard A. Friedman Senior United States District Judge.

         This matter is presently before the Court on plaintiff's motion to remand the case to state court [docket entry 3] and defendant's motion to compel arbitration and dismiss the complaint [docket entry 2]. Defendant has responded to plaintiff's motion to remand. Plaintiff has not responded to defendant's motion to compel arbitration and dismiss the complaint, and the time for her to do so has expired. Pursuant to E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2), the Court shall decide the motions without a hearing. For the reasons stated below, the Court shall deny plaintiff's motion to remand and shall grant defendant's motion to compel arbitration and dismiss the complaint.

         Background

         On July 5, 2019, plaintiff filed a one-page complaint in Oakland County Circuit Court, the entirety of which states:

1. In December 2016, Defendant Olive Garden[1] wrongfully terminated Plaintiff Mays[.]
2. Defendant Olive Garden slanders Plaintiff Mays.
3. Plaintiff Mays loss [sic] wages due to being wrongfully terminated by Defendant Olive Garden.
4. Plaintiff Mays was discriminated by Defendant Olive Garden.
5. Defendant Olive Garden used Plaintiff Mays [sic] likeness for training meetings.
6. Defendant Olive Garden used Plaintiff Mays [sic] likeness to destroy her character.
7. Defendant Olive Garden defames Plaintiff Mays.

         For relief, plaintiff seeks $20, 000, 000, plus interests and costs. She also “seeks to negotiate an amount for the use of likeness for the past and future training meetings.” Compl. at 1.

         On July 29, 2019, defendant removed the case based on diversity jurisdiction. Defendant indicates in the notice of removal that “there is complete diversity of citizenship” between the parties because plaintiff is a citizen of Michigan and defendant “is a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Florida and having its principle [sic] place of business in Orlando, Florida.” Notice of Removal ¶ 3(a). Defendant also indicates that the amount in controversy, exclusive of interest and costs, exceeds $75, 000. Id. ¶ 3(b). Attached to the notice of removal is the Declaration of Melissa Ingalsbe, the Director of Dispute Resolution and Human Resource Compliance for defendant's parent company. Id. Ex. B. Ingalsbe avers that defendant was incorporated under the laws of Florida and has its principal place of business in Florida. Id. Ex. B ¶¶ 5-6. She states that company records show that plaintiff was employed by defendant “at its Novi, Michigan Olive Garden Italian Restaurant.” Id. Ex. B ¶ 8.

         Plaintiff's Motion to Remand

         Plaintiff argues that the case should be remanded to Oakland County Circuit Court because “[t]here is no question here that the Court lacks diversity jurisdiction over this case.” Pl.'s Mot. at 3. Plaintiff argues that complete diversity between the parties does not exist because plaintiff is a citizen of Michigan; defendant is a citizen of Michigan given that it “operates as a business in Oakland County, Michigan”; defendant's attorneys are citizens of Michigan because that is where they are licensed to practice; and Melissa Ingalsbe “is not relevant to this case in any matter” despite defendant's “attempt[] to distract the Court by wrongfully misrepresenting [her] as an important defendant to this case.” Id. at 3-4. Defendant opposes plaintiff's motion and argues that removal was proper because the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) are met.

         The diversity statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332, provides:

(a) The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of ...

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