United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge.
action, Plaintiff seeks to recover unpaid wages and
liquidated damages for work she performed in support of
Defendant's coastal fishing business, compensatory
damages for assault and battery and the intentional
infliction of emotional distress. (Complaint, ECF No. 1-1.)
She also requests title to a pickup truck. (Id.)
Plaintiff filed in state court on June 16, 2017; Defendant
removed the matter to this Court. (Notice of Removal, ECF No.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Second Motion
to Amend Scheduling Order and Motion to Remand to State
Court. (ECF No. 13). Following a review of the pleadings, and
after consideration of the parties' arguments, I
recommend the Court grant in part the motion, remand the
matter to state court, and deny Plaintiffs' request for
fees and costs.
complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant, a self-employed
lobsterman and landlord, breached his agreement to pay
Plaintiff a percentage of his fishing revenue in exchange for
services she provided to his business operations. Plaintiff
asserts that she managed Defendant's rental property,
organized and maintained Plaintiff's business records,
built lobster traps, worked as a crew member on
Defendant's fishing boat, and transported material for
Defendant. (Complaint ¶¶ 14, 15, 20, 46.) Plaintiff
alleges that after the party's relationship ended,
Defendant did not compensate Plaintiff for her services as he
agreed. (Id. ¶ 55.)
this action Plaintiff seeks equitable title to a pickup
truck, unpaid wages and liquidated damages pursuant to 26
M.R.S. § 626, unjust enrichment and/or quantum meruit
damages in the alternative, and compensatory damages for
assault and battery and the intentional infliction of
filed a notice of removal on July 31, 2017, following service
of the complaint on July 12, 2017. (Notice of Removal
¶¶ 1 - 2.) Citing 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and
1333, Defendant asserts the action is properly removed
because Plaintiff seeks compensation for services provided as
a crew member on Plaintiff's lobster boat. (Id.
¶¶ 3, 9.) Plaintiff moved for remand on August 22,
2017. (ECF No. 13.)
Standard of Review
removing party bears the burden of establishing that removal
was proper. Danca v. Private Health Care Sys., Inc.,
185 F.3d 1, 4 (1st Cir. 1999). “Jurisdiction is
normally ascertained from the face of the state court
complaint that triggered the removal.” Id. The
language of the removal statute is strictly construed,
Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S.
100, 108-109 (1941), and ambiguity concerning the basis of
removal jurisdiction favors remand, Rossello-Gonzalez v.
Calderon-Serra, 398 F.3d 1, 11 (1st Cir. 2004).
Removal and Remand
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) provides:
Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress,
any civil action brought in a State court of which the
district courts of the United States have original
jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the
defendants, to the district court of the United States for
the district and division embracing the place where such
action is pending.
argues this Court has original jurisdiction over this action
because Plaintiff seeks to recover unpaid wages earned, in
part, for services provided to a commercial fisherman.
According to Defendant, such a claim is in the nature of a
maritime claim, and thus at least one of Plaintiff's
claims is within the original jurisdiction of this Court,
either because the claim presents a federal question for
purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1331, or ...