| MorgueFile - thelesleyshow
PHILADELPHIA – The case of a man who slipped and fell in a Delaware County Walmart in 2017 is on its way back to the Philadelpha County Court of Common Pleas after the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania declined to dismiss charges against the store's manager.
So long as a state court could possibly find a cause of action stated in the complaint, the case against Walmart and store manager Peter Jaroski must be remanded, U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter said in her 14-page memorandum opinion issued June 11.
"Consequently, the court cannot determine that Mr. Jaroski was fraudulently joined and the motion to remand is granted," Pratter said in her memorandum opinion.
Pratter remanded the case back to Philadelpha County Court of Common Pleas after finding that Jaroski had been properly joined to the case.
Plaintiff John Gardler sued the Walmart in Springfield and Walmart Inc., headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, after he was injured in a slip-and-fall in May 2017 on a folded rug near the store's exit, court filings said. Gadler also named Jaroski as a defendant in his negligence suit, claiming Jaroski had made the decision to place the rug near the front of the store, precipitating his fall.
Defense counsel subsequently filed notice to remove the case to federal court and then filed a motion asking that claims against Jaroski be dismissed.
Gardler countered with a motion to remand the case back to state court.
Both motions in the case "turn at least in part on the adequacy of Mr. Gardler's negligence claim against Mr. Jaroski" who, like Gardler, is a Pennsylvania resident, Pratter said in her memorandum opinion. Although the motion to remand is based on the alleged lack of diversity jurisdiction, "defendants counter that the lone non-diverse defendant, Mr. Jaroski, was fraudulently joined because Mr. Gardler has no legally cognizable claim against Mr. Jaroski."
Gardler argued that his claim against Jaroski was plausible, that Jaroski was properly joined and that the defendants' notice to remove the case from state to federal court had been untimely.
Pratter disagreed with Gardler's timeliness argument but indicated the point was moot.
"The court concludes that although removal was timely, Mr. Jaroski was properly joined and, hence, the case must be remanded to state court," Pratter said in her memorandum opinion.