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Case Number: 3:22-CV-344
Judge: Brantley Starr
Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Dallas County)
Defendant's Attorney: Kenneth C. Riney, Clayton Scott Carter, Taylor Nichols Stone
Description: Dallas, Texas personal injury lawyer represented Plaintiff who sued Defendant on a premises liability negligence theory.
On May 26, 2020, Plaintiff Sandra Kay Taylor was visiting a Dollar Tree store in Irving, Texas, “when a defective and/or dangerous condition” there “caused her to fall” and “sustain severe and permanent injuries and damages.” Taylor sued Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. (“Dollar Tree”) and Sergio West, the store manager of the Dollar
Tree where she fell, asserting claims of premises liability and negligence against each defendant.
Dollar Tree removed the suit to federal court under 28 U.S.C. section 1441(b), invoking the Court's diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. section 1332(a). Taylor “seeks monetary relief over $250,000 but not more than $1,000,000,” which satisfies the statutory amount-in-controversy requirement. This leaves the diversity-of-citizenship requirement. Although Taylor (a resident of Dallas County, Texas) and Dollar Tree (a Virginia corporation with its principal place of business in Virginia) are diverse in citizenship, West, the pleadings allege, is a Texas citizen. West's joinder therefore destroyed the complete diversity required for removal based on diversity jurisdiction. In its Notice of Removal, Dollar Tree argued that removal was proper because West was improperly joined, and asserted that Taylor joined West “solely to prevent removal as [Taylor] has no reasonable basis for recovery against” him. Taylor now moves to remand the case to state court.
Taylor v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. (N.D. Tex. 2022)
"Premises liability law in Texas is a complex area of law that governs the liability of property owners for injuries that occur on their property. The law is based on the principle that property owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care to keep their property safe for visitors. The duty of care owed by a property owner depends on the status of the visitor.
Licensees: Licensees are people who are on the property for their own benefit, but not for the benefit of the property owner. Examples of licensees include social guests, delivery people, and salespeople. Property owners owe licensees a duty to exercise ordinary care to keep their property safe.
Invitees: Invitees are people who are on the property for the benefit of the property owner. Examples of invitees include customers, employees, and tenants. Property owners owe invitees a duty to exercise reasonable care to keep their property safe.
Trespassers: Trespassers are people who are on the property without the permission of the property owner. Property owners do not owe trespassers a duty to exercise any care to keep their property safe.
If a property owner fails to exercise the required duty of care and someone is injured as a result, the property owner may be liable for the injuries. The injured person may be able to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
There are a number of defenses that a property owner may raise in a premises liability case. Some of the most common defenses include:
The injured person was a trespasser and the property owner owed no duty of care.
The injured person was contributorily negligent, meaning that they were partly at fault for their own injuries.
The injury was caused by an act of God or by the negligence of a third party.
If you have been injured on someone else's property, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options."
Outcome: Because Taylor's premises liability claim against West failed as a matter of law, and because Taylor had not sufficiently alleged a factual basis to support her negligence claim against West, the Court DENIES WITHOUT PREJUDICE the motion to remand. Within twenty-eight (28) days of this Order, Taylor may file an amended complaint and a new remand motion addressing the Court's concerns.