United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage
B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court upon several motions: Defendant
Deanna Perry (“Perry”) has filed a Motion to
Transfer Case (Doc. 2) and a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 3), and
Plaintiffs Imagine Lifestyles, LLC and MEE Enterprises, LLC
have filed a Motion to Remand (Doc. 6). For the reasons
expressed herein, Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand is
GRANTED, and Defendant Perry's motions
are dismissed as moot.
a case about a damaged Lamborghini. Plaintiff Imagine
Lifestyles, LLC is a Florida company that works with
Plaintiff MEE Enterprises, a New Jersey LLC (collectively
“Plaintiffs”), to rent “rare high-end
exotic sports cars” and “specialty exotic luxury
vehicles” to the public. (Compl. ¶1.) These
vehicles are rented from Plaintiffs' business in the
county of Camden, New Jersey. (Id. ¶2.) On May
31, 2019, Plaintiffs rented a luxury car-a Lamborghini
Huracan, valued at approximately $221, 582.91-to Defendant
Deanna Perry. (Id. ¶¶8, 22.) The parties
signed a Rental Agreement setting out the terms of the lease.
1, 2019, Perry parked the rented Lamborghini along the side
of North 5th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(Compl. Ex. B.) At some later point that day, while under the
influence of alcohol, Leberia Parks drove her car down that
same street. (Compl. ¶12.) Ms. Parks crashed her car
into the parked Lamborghini, which sustained at least $121,
717.31 in damages as a result. (Id. ¶12-14.) At
the time of the incident, Ms. Parks was driving a car owned
by Angelique Williams, who Plaintiffs have also named as a
defendant in this action.
the incident, Plaintiffs submitted claims to both Defendant
Perry's and Defendant Williams' insurers, seeking the
costs of general and incidental damages such as towing and
storage costs, loss of use damages, and attorney's fees.
(Compl. ¶¶14-18.) Both of Defendants' insurers
denied the claim. (Id.)
this denial, on July 29, 2019, Plaintiffs sued Defendants in
the Superior Court of New Jersey, Camden County, alleging one
count of negligence against both Defendants and one count of
breach of contract against Defendant Perry. (Doc. 1 at 6.) On
August 30, 2019, Perry removed the action to this Court, and
requested that venue be transferred to the U.S. District
Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1 at
4.) She has also moved to dismiss the action. (Doc. 3.)
September 4, 2019 Plaintiffs moved to remand this action to
the Superior Court of New Jersey, Camden County, citing a
forum selection clause in the Rental Agreement that Perry
signed. (Doc. 6-2, “Pl. Mot.”) The forum
selection clause reads as follows:
This Agreement and all matters or disputes arising from this
Agreement shall be governed in accordance with the laws of
the State of New Jersey without reference to any conflict of
law provisions. The courts of the State of Jersey shall have
jurisdiction to hear and determine any claims or disputes
pertaining directly or indirectly to this agreement and to
any matter arising therefrom. The parties furthermore consent
to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of courts in Camden
County, New Jersey in all disputes arising out of or relating
to this Agreement.
(Pl. Mot. at 4.)
argue that this forum selection clause prohibits removal, as
it limits jurisdiction exclusively to the Superior Court of
New Jersey within Camden County. (Id.) Plaintiffs
also argue that removal was improper because Defendant Perry
failed to secure the consent of Defendant Williams before
removing this action. (Id.)
to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), a defendant may remove an action
filed in state court to a federal court with original
jurisdiction over the action. Once an action is removed, a
plaintiff may challenge removal by moving to remand the case
back to state court. To defeat a plaintiff's motion to
remand, the defendant bears the burden of showing that the
federal court has jurisdiction to hear the case. Abels v.
State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 770 F.2d 26, 29 (3d Cir.
1995) (citing Pullman Co. v. Jenkins, 305 U.S. 534,
537 (1939)). Where the decision to remand is a close one,
district courts are encouraged to err on the side of
remanding the case back to state court. See Abels,
770 F.2d at 29 (“Because the lack of jurisdiction would
make any ...