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Quintairos, Prieto, Wood, & Boyer, PA v. PCPMG Consulting, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

January 28, 2019

QUINTAIROS, PRIETO, WOOD, & BOYER, PA Plaintiff,
v.
PCPMG CONSULTING, LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          KAREN K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the Plaintiff's Motion to Remand. (DE 8). For the reasons stated below, the Motion to Remand (DE 8) is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Quintairos, Prieto, Wood, & Boyer, PA (“Law Firm”) filed suit against PCPMG Consulting, LLC in Madison Circuit Court asserting various causes of action stemming from unpaid legal fees. (DE 1-1 at 2-11.) In their Complaint, Law Firm asserts that they provided legal services to Preferred Care group of companies. (DE 1-1 at 2.) Preferred Care group of companies consisted of various entities, including Preferred Care Partners Management Group, LP (“PCPMG”). (DE 1-1 at 2.) In 2017, President and CEO of PCPMG Consulting, LLC sent a letter to Law Firm stating that PCPMG had changed its name to PCPMG Consulting, LLC, (hereinafter “M-Con”). (DE 11-1 at 24.) Instead, M-Con was a newly created, wholly owned subsidiary of PCPMG (DE 34-2 at 4.)

         Following Law Firm's suit, PCPMG filed a three-count lawsuit (the “Bankruptcy Case”) against Law Firm in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division (the “Bankruptcy Court”). (DE 34-2 at 2.) PCPMG had filed for bankruptcy[1] and asserted that (1) Law Firm violated the automatic stay, (2) PCPMG suffered damages from the stay violations, and (3) in the alternative, the Bankruptcy Court should temporarily enjoin this case (the “Kentucky Lawsuit”) because it is interfering with PCPMG's Chapter 11 proceeding. (DE 34-2 at 2.) Law Firm filed a Motion to Dismiss the Bankruptcy Case for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (DE 34-2 at 7.) The Bankruptcy Court granted in part and denied in part the Motion to Dismiss. (DE 34-2 at 15.) According to the Bankruptcy Court's Order, Law Firm did not violate the automatic stay by filing the Kentucky Lawsuit, and consequently, PCPMG did not suffer damages from a violation of the automatic stay. (DE 34-2 at 2.) However, the Bankruptcy Court ruled that PCPMG could pursue an injunction against Law Firm's prosecution of the Kentucky Lawsuit because PCPMG had adequately pled that the Kentucky Lawsuit will have an adverse impact on PCPMG's ability to reorganize and

(1) there is a substantial likelihood that PCPMG will prevail in confirming a Chapter 11 plan;
(2) there is a substantial threat that PCPMG will suffer irreparable injury if the injunction is not granted, forcing M-Con's employees (who assist PCPMG) to devote their time and attention to the Kentucky Lawsuit as opposed to assisting PCPMG in its attempt to negotiate and confirm a Chapter 11 plan;
(3) the threatened injury to PCPMG outweighs the threatened harm to Law Firm; and
(4) granting the injunction will serve the public interest of allowing PCPMG to negotiate and confirm a Chapter 11 plan.

(DE 34-2 at 14-15.)

         Accordingly, the Bankruptcy Case is proceeding on that ground.

         Twenty-five days after Law Firm filed this suit in Madison Circuit Court, M-Con removed the case under 28 U.S.C. § 1446 to the Eastern District of Kentucky pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332 and 1452, and Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9027. (DE 1 at 1.) In light of the Bankruptcy Case, just two days later, the parties filed an Agreed Order, which stayed all relevant deadlines in the Kentucky Lawsuit for a period of forty-five days. (DE 6). Shortly thereafter, Law Firm filed this Motion to Remand under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). (DE 8). Law Firm asserts that (1) this Court should abstain, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1334(c)(1), in the interest of justice, or in the interest of comity with State courts or respect for state law; and (2) equitable grounds for remand exist under 28 U.S.C. § 1452(b). (DE 8.)

         II. ANALYSIS

         The Court must determine whether removal from Madison Circuit Court was proper. On a motion to remand, the burden rests with the defendant to prove that this Court has original jurisdiction. Eastman v. Marine Mech. Corp., 438 F.3d 544, 549 (6th Cir. 2006). Original jurisdiction exists either through diversity of citizenship, see 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332 and 1441(b), or federal question jurisdiction, see 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1334, and 1441(a). When doubts as to the propriety of removal exist, “the removal statute should be strictly construed and all doubts ...


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