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Goodwin v. Adventist Health System/Sunbelt

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

November 14, 2019

THOMAS GOODWIN and LIDIA GOODWIN, Plaintiffs,
v.
ADVENTIST HEALTH SYSTEM/SUNBELT, JENNIFER MAHONEY, LAURA CARR, AMY HEFNER, JOHN DAVID HEFNER, LAURA SCULLY, DAVID SCULLY, MELISSA MEGARGEE, JASON MEGARGEE, MARGARET WHITE and SARAH SIAS, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          LESLIE R. HOFFMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         TO THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT:

         This cause came on for consideration without oral argument on the following motion filed herein:

MOTION: PLAINTIFFS' AMENDED MOTION FOR REMAND TO STATE COURT (Doc. No. 33)
FILED: September 13, 2019
THEREON it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED.
I. BACKGROUND.

         On July 9, 2019, Plaintiffs Thomas Goodwin and Lydia Goodwin, appearing pro se, filed a complaint against the above-named Defendants in the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit, in and for Orange County, Florida. Doc. No. 1-3. Plaintiffs' claims appear to stem from the alleged wrongful termination of Mr. Goodwin from his employment with AdventHealth. Id. In the complaint, Plaintiffs allege claims for wrongful discharge, intentional infliction of emotional distress, harassment, defamation, discrimination, and breach of fiduciary duty. Id. Embedded within the claim for harassment, Plaintiffs state in one sentence that Defendants “knew or should have known that harassment is a form of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA).” Id. at 12. Nowhere else in the complaint do Plaintiffs reference federal law.

         On August 30, 2019, Defendant Adventist Health Systems/Sunbelt, with the consent of the remaining Defendants, removed the matter to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1441, 1446, asserting that the Court has federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367 over the state law claims. Doc. No. 1; see Doc. No. 1-2.

         On September 13, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a motion to remand the matter to state court. Doc. No. 33.[1] In the motion, Plaintiffs argue that they do not assert any federal claims in the complaint. Id. at 4, 9. Several of the Defendants oppose the motion. Doc. Nos. 45, 47.

         On September 18, 2019, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. Doc. No. 38. In the amended complaint, Plaintiffs allege claims for wrongful discharge; intentional infliction of emotional distress; harassment; defamation; discrimination; and breach of fiduciary duty. Id. No federal statutes are cited in the amended complaint. Id.[2] Defendant John David Hefner has filed an answer to the amended complaint, and the remaining Defendants have filed motions to dismiss, which remain pending before the Court. Doc. Nos. 48, 50.[3]

         Plaintiffs' motion to remand was referred to the undersigned for issuance of a Report and Recommendation, and the matter is ripe for review.

         II. APPLICABLE LAW.

         Removal jurisdiction exists only where the district court would have original jurisdiction over the action. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a); Darden v. Ford Consumer Fin. Co., Inc., 200 F.3d 753, 755 (11th Cir. 2000). A party seeking to invoke a federal court's jurisdiction over a case must first show that the underlying claim is based upon either diversity jurisdiction or the existence of a federal question. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332. In considering whether it possesses federal question jurisdiction over a removed case, a district court is guided by the “well-pleaded complaint” rule, which provides ...


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