A federal judge from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has granted a college football player’s request to remand his lawsuit back to state court, saying the removal was defective “because several of the defendants are Pennsylvania citizens and because not all defendants consented to removal.”
The impetus for the litigation was an incident that occurred on November 5, 2005 when plaintiff Preston Plevretes suffered a severe brain injury, while playing on the La Salle University football team. The injury occurred at an away game against Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
Central to Plevretes’ claim was the allegation that the severity of this injury was caused, or at least aggravated, by a concussion he suffered during a prior game a month earlier.
Plevretes named as defendants La Salle University and several of its departments and employees, alleging, inter alia, that they failed to properly diagnose, evaluate, and treat his prior concussion and improperly allowed him to continue to play football, failing to warn him of the risks if he continued doing so. Plevretes has also named Duquesne University, its head football coach, and two of its players as defendants, alleging, inter alia, that the manner in which Plevretes was tackled on November 5, 2007, was negligent.
Plevretes initially filed the lawsuit in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County on November 2, 2007. One of the defendants, Duquesne football player Jermaine Venable, filed a notice of removal on December 7, 2007. The notice was filed only by Venable and contained no explanation as to why the other named defendants had not joined in the removal. The basis for removal was diversity. The notice of removal alleged that the plaintiff and his parents are residents of New Jersey, that Venable is a resident of Maryland, and that the remaining defendants are all residents of Pennsylvania.
On December 10, 2007, the Court, sua sponte, issued an order for Venable to show cause why the case should not be remanded, questioning whether removal was proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b). Section 1441(b) requires that any action, other than one brought under federal law, “shall be removable only if none of the parties in interest properly joined and served as defendants is a citizen of the State in which such action is brought.”
The plaintiff successfully argued that the case was non-removable and that a defendant needed unanimous support from other defendants to remove the case. The court agreed.
Preston Plevretes v. La Salle University, et al.; E.D. Pa.; CIVIL ACTION NO. 07-5186, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93029; 12/19/07
Attorneys of Record: (for plaintiff) Michael A. Trunk, LEAD ATTORNEY. (for defendant LaSalle) Shanin Specter, LEAD ATTORNEY, Kline & Specter, P.C., Philadelphia, PA. (for defendant Duquesne University) John R. Canavan, LEAD ATTORNEY, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC, Pittsburgh, PA.