The district court correctly remanded this case to state court after Grancare had removed it on diversity grounds. One of the defendants was a California resident like the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs’ complaint showed that the California defendant was not fraudulently joined. Fraudulent joinder is a test similar to, but more relaxed than, that governing a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. If there is any possibility of the plaintiff’s stating a claim against the defendant, he or she is not fraudulently joined. Here, the complaint alleged sufficient facts about the California-resident defendant to show that she might be liable for negligence or elder abuse in failing to train or supervise the elder-care facility’s personnel, resulting in the plaintiff’s decedent falling, breaking bones and then being left for 18 hours without medical attention after which she died. The district court also did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorney fees against Grancare in connection with the remand. Though another district court had denied remand of another case involving the same California-resident defendant, where the plaintiff had alleged nothing other than that defendant’s supervisory status, whereas here the complaint alleged many other facts establishing possible grounds for holding the California-resident defendant liable.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Fletcher, W., J.); April 26, 2018; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 10552