CASE NO. 6:18-CV-00467
MAG. JUDGE CAROL WHITEHURST
Pending before the Court is the Motion to Remand [Doc. No. 13] filed by Plaintiff Nepveux, Inc. The Magistrate Judge has issued a Report and Recommendation [Doc. No. 22] recommending that the Motion to Remand be GRANTED. Defendants Mobile Exploration & Producing North America, Inc., Mobile Oil Exploration and Producing Southeast, Inc., and SWN Production Company, LLC (collectively, "Defendants") have filed an Objection [Doc. No. 23], and Plaintiff has filed a Response [Doc. No. 24].
The Court agrees with and ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation, but issues this Ruling to address the objections set forth by the Defendants. Defendants make compelling arguments that Aaron Nepveux, Louis Nepveux, and Connie Arceneaux, all residents of the State of Louisiana, assigned their 100% interest in the property at issue to Plaintiff Nepveux, Inc., a Texas corporation, for the sole purpose of destroying diversity jurisdiction. Defendants also make compelling arguments that limited discovery should be granted to allow them to explore this issue.
However, the Court is bound by precedent set by the United States Supreme Court and by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In Provident Savings Life Assurance Society of N.Y. v. Ford, 114 U.S. 635 (1885), the Supreme Court clearly held that "a colorable assignment" made "to deprive the United States court of jurisdiction" does not provide "a ground of removing that cause into federal court." Id. at 641.
In Grassi v. Ciba-Geigy Ltd., 894 F.2d 171 (5 Cir. 1990), the Fifth Circuit, in examining this issue, recognized that Provident Savings, supra, remains as precedent with regard to complete (rather than partial) assignments. Accordingly, the Court must adopt the Magistrate Judge's Recommendation. Plaintiff's Motion to Remand [Doc. No. 13] is GRANTED. This matter is remanded to the 15 Judicial District Court, Parish of Acadia, State of Louisiana.
Monroe, Louisiana, this 20th day of September, 2018.
TERRY A. DOUGHTY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE