United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ANTRELL TEEN, #Y35968, and KEUNDRAY KILPATRICK, #463106, Plaintiffs,
ARAMARK CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, LLC, ST. CLAIR COUNTY, and SHERIFF RICHARD WATSON, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court for review of the First Amended
Complaint filed by Plaintiff Antrell Teen, a former detainee
at St. Clair County Jail who complains that he was denied
nutritionally adequate, safe, and palatable food during his
detention at St. Clair County Jail from 2016-19. (Doc. 15).
Plaintiff filed the original Complaint with Keundray
Kilpatrick in St. Clair County Circuit Court. (Doc. 1-1). The
Complaint addressed a single claim for breach of contract
against Aramark Correctional Services, LLC
(“Aramark”), a Delaware company that contracts
with St. Clair County Jail to provide inmates with food.
(Id.). Plaintiffs requested $125, 000 in money
damages for Aramark's alleged failure to satisfy this
contractual obligation. (Id.).
removed the case from state court to federal court pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441, 1446, and 1332. (Doc. 1, p.
2). Plaintiffs did not object. The Court found that removal
was proper on the basis of diversity of citizenship. (Doc.
14, p. 1 n. 1) (concluding that “[t]he district court
has original jurisdiction of the civil action because the
amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000 (exclusive of interest
and costs) and involves citizens of different states”).
However, the Complaint was dismissed at screening under 28
U.S.C. § 1915A for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. (Doc. 14).
were granted leave to file a First Amended Complaint in this
District on or before May 27, 2019. (Doc. 14, pp. 4-5). Prior
to the deadline, Plaintiff Teen filed an amended complaint.
(Doc. 15). Plaintiff Kilpatrick did not sign the amended
complaint and is not listed as a party in the case caption.
(Id.). In fact, he has not communicated with this
Court since the case was removed. By all indications, this
case involves a single plaintiff, i.e., Antrell
Teen names two new defendants in addition to Aramark-St.
Clair County and Sheriff Richard Watson. The addition of
these two defendants destroys this Court's diversity
jurisdiction. See, e.g., Estate of Alvarez v. Donaldson
Co., Inc., 213 F.3d 993 (7th Cir. 2000) (diversity
jurisdiction present when action is commenced can be divested
by the subsequent addition of nondiverse parties in an
amended complaint); Wellness Cmty.-Nat'l v. Wellness
House, 70 F.3d 46, 49 (7th Cir. 1995) (first amended
complaint, not original complaint, controlled the court's
jurisdictional analysis). Jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1332 requires complete diversity of the parties.
Caterpillar Inc. v. Lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 68 (1996)
(citizenship of each plaintiff must be diverse from the
citizenship of each defendant). Plaintiff is an inmate who is
housed in Illinois, and he now names an Illinois county, its
sheriff, and food service provider as defendants. Complete
diversity is thus lacking between the single plaintiff and
the three defendants.
federal court faced with this scenario has two choices: (1)
deny leave to amend (and joinder) and retain jurisdiction; or
(2) allow the amendment (and joinder) and remand the case to
the state court from which it was removed. See 28
U.S.C. § 1447(e). The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
adds that “[w]hen a plaintiff amends his complaint
after removal in a way that destroys diversity, a district
[c]ourt must consider the reasons behind the amendment in
determining whether the remand is proper. If a plaintiff
amended simply to destroy diversity the district court should
not remand.” Schillinger v. Union Pacific Railroad
Co., 425 F.3d 330 (7th Cir. 2005).
Court cannot conclude that Plaintiff Teen amended the
Complaint with the intention of destroying diversity
jurisdiction. The Court required him to amend in order to
pursue his breach of contract claim after dismissing the
original Complaint for failure to state a claim. When he
amended, Plaintiff provided the Court with a copy of the
Operating Agreement that gives rise to his single claim for
breach of contract against Aramark. (Doc. 16, pp. 6-22). The
contract names Aramark and St. Clair County as parties to the
Agreement. (Id.). Plaintiff presumably added St.
Clair County and the sheriff as defendants because they are
necessary and indispensable. But the addition of these
defendants deprives this Court of subject matter jurisdiction
for lack of complete diversity. Under the circumstances,
remand of this matter to state court is required.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) (“If at any time
before final judgment it appears that the district court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be
IS ORDERED that this case is
REMANDED to the Circuit Court for the
Twentieth Judicial Circuit located in St. Clair County,
Illinois, for all further action. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c),
and all pending motions (Doc. 9) are
DISMISSED as MOOT in this
CLERK is DIRECTED to
transmit a copy of this Order for Remand to the Clerk of the
Circuit Court for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit located in
St. Clair County, Illinois, for all further action and
CLOSE this case.