Keller Logistics Group, Inc. v. Navistar, Inc.

391 F. Supp. 3d 774 (2019)

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Keller Logistics Group, Inc. v. Navistar, Inc.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
391 F. Supp. 3d 774 (2019)

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Facts

Keller Logistics Group, Inc., Thomas Keller Leasing Company, Inc., and Thomas Keller Trucking, Inc. (collectively, Keller) (plaintiffs) were Ohio companies that owned, leased, and operated a fleet of commercial trucks. Navistar, Inc. (defendant) manufactured commercial trucks. Defiance Truck Sales & Service, Inc. (Defiance) (defendant) was a Navistar authorized dealer based in Ohio. After Keller purchased or leased Navistar trucks from Defiance, Keller became concerned that the trucks did not operate as promised. Keller called a meeting with Navistar and Defiance to advise them that Keller intended to file suit. At that meeting, Keller stated that it did not have a problem with Defiance but that it was going to follow its attorney’s advice and sue Defiance anyway to prevent Navistar from removing the matter to federal court. In 2016, Keller sued Navistar and Defiance in Ohio state court. Although Keller vigorously pursued the litigation against Navistar, Keller did little to advance the litigation against Defiance. For example, Keller did not depose Defiance’s representative or any Defiance employees. Although Keller served Navistar with nearly 280 requests for production, Keller served Defiance with fewer than 35. Many of Keller’s requests to Defiance sought information regarding Navistar. Keller’s opposition to Navistar and Defiance’s motion for summary judgment likewise focused almost exclusively on Navistar. After Navistar and Defiance’s reply highlighted Keller’s failure to attribute any misconduct to Defiance, Keller voluntarily dismissed Defiance from the case. The dismissal occurred in 2019, after the litigation had been pending for several years. During that entire time, Keller did not attempt to resolve its claims against Defiance. Within 30 days of the dismissal, Navistar removed the matter to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction. Keller moved to remand, relying on 28 U.S.C. § 1446, which generally provided that a matter could not be removed on the grounds of diversity jurisdiction if the removal occurred more than a year after a suit was filed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Zouhary, J.)

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