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Total Quality Logistics, LLC v. Reed Transport Services, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

December 11, 2019

TOTAL QUALITY LOGISTICS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
REED TRANSPORT SERVICES, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND (DOC. 6)

          Timothy S. Black United States District Judge.

         This civil case is before the Court on Plaintiff's motion to remand. (Doc. 6).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, Total Quality Logistics, LLC (“TQL”), filed a complaint in the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas against former employees, John C. Tillman and Jeffrey R. Motley, and their new employer, Reed Transport Services, Inc. (“Reed Transport”), alleging violations of the employees' non-compete, confidentiality, and non-solicitation agreements with TQL. (Doc. 3 at ¶¶ 11-25). The complaint also alleges that Reed Transport encouraged the employees to breach their agreements constituting tortious interference with a contract and tortious interference with a business relationship. (Id. at ¶¶ 63-75). Along with its complaint, Plaintiff simultaneously filed a motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in state court. (Doc. 4). Subsequently, the parties submitted an agreed interim injunction that was entered by the Clermont County Court on February 19, 2019. (Doc. 1-1 at 72-74). Under the terms of the agreed injunction, Defendant Motley agreed to no longer be employed by Reed Transport, and Reed Transport agreed to turn over any of TQL's confidential information. (Id. at ¶¶ 1-2). In addition, TQL agreed to withdraw its request for a temporary restraining order against Defendant Tillman. (Id. at ¶ 5). Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction remained pending as to all three Defendants.

         On March 7, 2019, prior to the state court ruling on Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction, Reed Transport removed the case to this Court with the consent of Defendants Tillman and Motley, asserting diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff responded with a motion to remand on April 8, 2019. (Doc. 6). Shortly thereafter, TQL and Reed Transport notified the Court of their intention to file a stipulation of dismissal, which they proceeded to file on July 8, 2019. (Doc. 8). The stipulation voluntarily dismissed Defendant Reed Transport only, and left Plaintiff's claims against the individual Defendants Tillman and Motley pending in federal court. (Id.).

         At this juncture, the Court will address Plaintiff's motion to remand as to the two remaining Defendants. Plaintiff seeks remand on three bases: (1) the notice of removal was untimely, (2) Defendants waived their right to remove, and (3) the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the case because the amount in controversy is less than $75, 000. (Doc. 6). Plaintiff submitted the following stipulation along with its motion to remand indicating that TQL is seeking total damages of an amount less than or equal to $75, 000:

Plaintiff Total Quality Logistics, LLC, hereby stipulates that the relief it seeks is limited to judgment of the following:
A. Issue preliminary and permanent injunctive relief prohibiting Defendant from further violation of his Agreement with TQL, plus attorney's fees as provided in the Agreement, from any further misappropriation of TQL's trade secret information, and from any further tortious interference with TQL's business relations;
B. Award compensatory damages in favor of TQL in an amount to be determined at trial in excess of $25, 000.00, but not more than $75, 000.00, inclusive of any award of punitive damages, attorney's fees, and injunctive relief;
C. Award punitive damages in favor of TQL in an amount of not more than $75, 000.00, inclusive of any award of compensatory damages, attorney's fees, and injunctive relief;
D. Award attorney's fees as provided in the Agreement or as otherwise provided by law, in an amount of not more than $75, 000.00, inclusive of any award of compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief;
E. Court costs, prejudgment interest, and post-judgment interest; and
F. Any other relief that this Court deems just and proper.
This stipulation is intended to be unequivocal and binding on Plaintiff, and it is Plaintiff's intention that this Stipulation be used by the Court to ...

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