In the case of Badman v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 19-4246(E.D. Pa. Nov. 6, 2019 McHugh, J.), the federal court granted a Motion to Remand the case back to state court.
The federal court rejected the claim by the Defendant that the Plaintiff fraudulently joined a non-diverse party in an effort to defeat diversity jurisdiction. Here, the Plaintiff sued the store manager in addition to Wal-Mart. The store manager was a resident of Pennsylvania like the Plaintiff.
The court held that store manager may be liable for injuries suffered by an invitee to the store that the manager helped to manage. The court noted that, while such a claim against the store manager may be found to be weak or invalid, given the potential liability of the store manager under Pennsylvania law, it could not be said that the joinder of the store manager as a party Defendant was frivolous. As such, a fraudulent joinder in the context of a removal of the case to federal court was not found.
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I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.