United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
George K. Mack, Plaintiff
Cary Williams, et al., Defendants
ORDER OF REMAND
Jeffrey J. Helmick United States District Judge.
se plaintiff George K. Mack filed his Complaint in this
action on February 5, 2019, in the Wood County Court of
Common Pleas. (Doc. No. 1-1.) He labeled his Complaint as one
for “Negligence.” (Id.) On March 4,
2019, the plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint in the
state-court case labeled as one for “Negligence &
Breach of Contract.” (Doc. No. 1-8.)
defendants removed the plaintiff's action to federal
court on March 7, 2019, asserting that the plaintiff's
“action is predicated on alleged violations of
Plaintiff's rights guaranteed by the United States
Constitution and is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983.” (Doc. No. 1 at 1.) Defendants thereafter filed
various answers in this court to the plaintiff's original
Complaint (Doc. No. 3), and to his Amended Complaint (Doc.
Nos. 6, 9). Neither the plaintiff's Complaint nor his
Amended Complaint references § 1983, although they both
allege that the “defendant is negligent for not
providing [an] adequate Law Library” and “for not
providing adequate Administrative Rules” in violation
of “plaintiff's constitutional rights under [the]
Ohio and United States Constitution.” (Doc. Nos. 1-1
and 1-8 at ¶¶ 1, 2.)
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), “any civil action brought in
a State court of which the district courts of the United
States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the
defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the
United States for the district and division embracing the
place where such action is pending.” District courts
have original jurisdiction over civil actions that arise
under federal law, or that involve parties of diverse
citizenship where the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.
See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331; 1332(a). A
defendant seeking to remove an action to federal court bears
the burden of demonstrating that the district court has
original jurisdiction, and the “‘removal statute
should be strictly construed and all doubts resolved in favor
of remand.'” Eastman v. Marine Mech.
Corp., 438 F.3d 544, 549-50 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting
Brown v. Francis, 75 F.3d 860, 864-65 (3d Cir.
action will be remanded to state court for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction as I do not find that the
defendants have satisfied their burden of demonstrating
presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is
governed by the “well-pleaded complaint rule, ”
which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a
federal question is presented on the face of the
plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint. The rule
“makes the plaintiff the master of the claim; he or she
may avoid federal jurisdiction by exclusive reliance on state
law.” Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S.
386, 392 (1987). “Since Plaintiffs are ‘the
master of [the] complaint,' the fact that claim could be
stated under federal law does not prevent them from stating
it under state law only.” Buchholz v. Baldwin
Wallace University, No. 1: 12 CV 3119, 2013 WL 1088570,
at * 4 (N.D. Ohio Mar. 14, 2013) (quoting Eastman,
438 F.3d at 550)).
federal-question jurisdiction may be proper if a well-pleaded
complaint establishes that a right to relief under state law
requires resolution of a substantial federal question, this
is not the case where a plaintiff merely references a federal
law in his complaint as a basis for establishing a negligence
theory of liability. See, e.g., Praschak v. Kmart
Corporation, 922 F.Supp.2d 710 (N.D. Ill. 2013)
(remanding removed case and holding that federal question
jurisdiction did not exist where the plaintiff's
complaint alleged a theory of negligence based on the
defendant's failure to comply with provisions of the
Americans with Disabilities Act).
although the plaintiff references the United States
Constitution in his state-court pleadings, his pleadings on
their face do not purport to allege federal claims for relief
under § 1983. Rather, the plaintiff alleges only
state-law claims referencing the Ohio and United States
Constitutions apparently as a basis for establishing his
theory of negligence.
I find the defendants have not demonstrated that I have
federal-question jurisdiction in this case, and I am hereby
remanding the case to the Wood County Court of Common Pleas.
See 28 U.S.C. §1447(c) (“If at any time
it appears that the district court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, the court is required to remand the case ...