PHILADELPHIA – On May 20, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania determined Target took too long to remove Francine Roth’s slip-and-fall case to a federal court and granted her motion to remand it back to state court.
Judge Gerald J. Pappert ruled on the case.
Roth sued Target in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas in November 2018, saying she suffered injuries after she fell in a Bensalem Target in 2017. She asked for more than $50,000 plus legal costs and delay damages. Target was served Dec. 24, 2018, and had until March 12 to respond.
Roth followed up with a Case Management Conference memorandum that consisted of a demand for $1.2 million on March 4. On March 12, Target removed the case to federal court but filed the notice of removal after the allotted 30 days, causing the court to grant Roth’s motion.
“A defendant who wishes to remove a case to a federal court must file a notice of removal ‘within 30 days after the receipt by the defendant, through service or otherwise, of a copy of the initial pleading setting forth the claim for relief upon which such action or proceeding is based,’” Pappert wrote.
In this case, Target argued the 30-day rule doesn’t apply to it because it didn’t know the amount in question was more than $75,000 until Roth demanded $1.2 million. Still, Target was aware of the damages Roth said she suffered, which could easily add up to more than $75,000. Because of that, the notice of removal was untimely.
Pappert said he “grants the motion because Target had sufficient notice that the case was removable when it received the complaint.”
Roth said she slipped on what she described as a “liquid” substance on the floor of a Target store and “suffered a cosmetic disfigurement and she may continue to suffer (the) same for an indefinite time in the future," according to the ruling.