Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rosenburg v. Cottrell

March 15, 2006

TIMOTHY E. ROSENBURG AND DEBBIE ROSENBURG, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
COTTRELL, INC., CASSENS & SONS, INC., CASSENS CORPORATION, ALLEN CASSENS, ALLEN CASSENS TRUST, A.C. LEASING COMPANY, DAIMLERCHRYSLER CORPORATION, TOYOTA INDUSTRIES NORTH AMERICA, INC. AND GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiffs filed their initial complaint against Defendants Cottrell, Inc., Cassens & Sons, Inc., Cassens Corp., Allen Cassens, Allen Cassens Trust, A.C. Leasing Co., DaimlerChrysler Corp., Toyota Industries North America, Inc., and General Motors Corp. in the Circuit Court for the Third Judicial Circuit of Illinois in Madison County on April 25, 2005. Timothy Rosenburg is an employee of the Cassens Transport Company (which is not a party to the current litigation). He operates trailers that haul cars, requiring the use of a chain and ratchet tie down system. He alleges in his initial complaint that on or about April 28, 2003, and again on March 25, 2005, he suffered injuries to his lower back and other permanent injuries while using the system in the normal course of his employment duties, that they have reduced his capacity to earn a living, and that as a result of his injuries, he will have to expend significant amounts of money on medical care and vocational retraining. Rosenburg states that his injuries were due to a defect in the chain and ratchet system. His wife, Plaintiff Debbie Rosenburg, alleges that due to Timothy's injuries, she has lost his support and services.

In their complaint, Plaintiffs name nine defendants. The first defendant is Cassens & Sons, Inc., the alleged seller and/or distributor of the trailer. Cassens & Sons is a corporation that is a citizen of Illinois.

The second defendant is Cassens Corporation, another alleged seller and/or distributor of the trailer. Cassens Corporation is also a corporation that is a citizen of Illinois. Plaintiff alleges that Cassens Corporation used the various Cassens-named Defendants, members of the boards of same, and members of Allen Cassens' family as alter egos of itself.

The third defendant is Allen Cassens, an individual and a citizen of Illinois, and the alleged owner and lessor of the trailer.

The fourth defendant is the Allen Cassens Trust, which Plaintiff alleges placed dangerous chain and ratchet components into the stream of commerce. The Allen Cassens Trust is a citizen of Illinois.

The fifth defendant is A.C. Leasing Company, which Plaintiff alleges placed dangerous chain and ratchet components into the stream of commerce. The A.C. Leasing Company is a corporation that is an Illinois citizen. These first five defendants are collectively referred to as the "Cassens Defendants."

The sixth defendant is Cottrell, Inc., the alleged manufacturer of the trailer. Cottrell, Inc. is a corporation that is a citizen of the state of Georgia. Cottrell does business in Illinois.

The seventh defendant is DaimlerChrysler Corporation ( "DaimlerChrysler"), formerly known as Chrysler Corporation and as American Motors Corporation. Plaintiff alleges that DaimlerChrysler assumed a duty of care to him when it specified standards for the trailers that would carry the vehicles it manufactures and that it negligently breached that duty in not ensuring that the trailers were safe. DaimlerChrysler is a corporation that is a citizen of both Delaware and Michigan. DaimlerChrysler does business in Illinois.

The eighth defendant is General Motors Corporation ( "GM"). Plaintiff alleges that GM assumed a duty of care to him when it specified standards for the trailers that would carry the vehicles it manufactures and that it negligently breached that duty in not ensuring that the trailers were safe. GM is a corporation that is a citizen of both Delaware and Michigan. GM does business in Illinois.

The ninth defendant is Toyota Industries North America ( "TINA"). Plaintiff alleges that TINA assumed a duty of care to him when it specified standards for the trailers that would carry the vehicles it manufactures and that it negligently breached that duty in not ensuring that the trailers were safe. TINA is a corporation that is a citizen of both Delaware and Illinois.

Plaintiffs filed their initial complaint (Doc. 2) in the Circuit Court of Madison County, Illinois, on April 25, 2005. On July 5, 2005, several of the Cassens Defendants filed motions for summary judgment, alleging that they were in no way involved in any transaction placing the trailer at issue into the stream of commerce or otherwise giving rise to the alleged injuries. These allegations have been reintroduced in Defendants' notice of removal. Additionally, TINA alleges in the notice of removal that it owed no duty to Plaintiff and thus that as a matter of law, Plaintiff cannot state a claim against it. If none of these Defendants (the Cassens Defendants and TINA) were parties in this matter, complete diversity would exist and the case would be removable to federal district court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§1332(a) and 1441, provided that it satisfies the jurisdictional amount requirement of §1332(a). Generally, 28 U.S.C. §1446(b) requires that a defendant file a notice of removal within thirty (30) days of the defendant's receipt of the initial pleading or a summons. However, when an action would not be removable upon the initial pleading but later becomes so, a defendant may file a notice of removal within thirty days of the date the defendant first ascertains that the action is removable. Id. In this case, Defendants Cottrell, DaimlerChrysler and General Motors allege that they first ascertained that the case was removable on July 5, 2005, when the Cassens Defendants and TINA filed their summary judgment motions. As a result, Defendant Cottrell filed a notice of removal (Doc. 1) on August 3, 2005. The other diverse Defendants consented to removal (Docs. 4-6). The removing Defendants claim that the reason they could not ascertain that the action was removable is that the nondiverse Defendants were fraudulently joined to prevent removal of the action, and that the removing Defendants first became aware of these facts upon the summary judgment motions of the nondiverse defendants.

The court ordered both sides to file jurisdictional briefs on the outstanding issues related to the motion to remand (Doc. 18). Defendants filed their jurisdictional brief with exhibits on September 16, 2005 (Doc. 22) and Plaintiffs filed theirs on October 7, 2005 (Doc. 26). Since then, Plaintiffs moved to file an amended complaint, which prompted no objection from Defendants. After the motion was granted, Plaintiffs filed their amended complaint (Doc. 43). The amended complaint more clearly specifies the allegations and reduces the confusion of the original complaint.

Defendants then moved to strike (Doc. 51) the amended complaint, asserting that it also makes substantial changes to the factual allegations upon which Plaintiffs' claims are predicated. Plaintiffs have responded (Doc. 66), contending that their amended complaint simply clarifies the issues and does not substantively change their claims.

II. ISSUES AND ANALYSIS OF THE MOTION TO REMAND

The Court must first determine whether it would have had jurisdiction over the case had Plaintiffs not amended their complaint. The Court will then take up the issue of the amended complaint, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.