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Morris v. All My Sons Properties of Raleigh, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

January 12, 2020

TYLER MORRIS and ALICIA MORRIS, Plaintiffs,
v.
ALL MY SONS PROPERTIES OF RALEIGH, LLC, d/b/a ALL MY SONS MOVING AND STORAGE, INC., SG OF RALEIGH, LLC, d/b/a ALL MY SONS MOVING & STORAGE OF RALEIGH, LLC, and KENON P. FURLONG, individually, Defendants.

          ORDER

          TERRENCE W. BOYLE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on plaintiffs' motion to remand. [DE 17]. For the foregoing reasons, plaintiffs' motion is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         The case arises from plaintiffs' experience with a residential moving and storage company, in which the company allegedly sold much of plaintiffs' personal property at a public sale without giving them proper notice of the sale-after having been unresponsive to plaintiffs' many attempts to pay the company.

         Plaintiffs, who are North Carolina citizens, filed suit in the Superior Court of Wake County, North Carolina, naming three defendants: (1) All My Sons Properties of Raleigh, LLC, d/b/a All My Sons Moving and Storage, Inc., (2) SG of Raleigh, LLC, d/b/a All My Sons Moving & Storage of Raleigh, LLC, and (3) Kenon P. Furlong, the operations manager of SG of Raleigh, LLC.

         Despite naming All My Sons Properties of Raleigh, LLC as a defendant in the complaint, plaintiffs' factual allegations are entirely directed against "All My Sons," which plaintiffs' define early in the complaint as a collective reference to SG of Raleigh, LLC and defendant Furlong. DE 1-3, ¶ 3. After defining All My Sons as such, the complaint alleges the following.

         In March 2017, plaintiffs contacted All My Sons to provide packing, moving, and storage services of plaintiffs' personal property. Id. ¶ 7. Plaintiffs were moving residences but were going to live in a rental home in the interim. As such, All My Sons was to move some of plaintiffs' property into the rental home and store the remaining property in an All My Sons' storage facility. Id. ¶ 8.

         In the Fall of 2017, plaintiff Alicia Morris called All My Sons several times to notify them that she had not yet received a bill. Id. ¶ 14. During the phone calls, she was placed on endless hold. Id. In early 2018, Ms. Morris again contacted All My Sons to let them know that she was not receiving bills and that she wished to pay the outstanding balance. Id. ¶ 15. In February 2018, she paid $2, 000 and was told that a direct draft had been set up for future payments. Id. At that time, in mid-February 2018, plaintiffs had an outstanding balance of about $1, 900. Id. ¶ 16. Ms. Morris asked if she could pay the remaining balance but was told that All My Sons needed her to have a running balance in order to set up a direct draft. Id.

         On May 4, 2018, All My Sons sent a certified letter to plaintiffs' old home (from which All My Sons had moved the plaintiffs) which stated that plaintiffs had an outstanding debt and pursuant to a possessory lien, All My Sons planned to sell plaintiffs' property at an auction on or about June 9, 2018. Id. ¶ 17. The certified letter was returned to All My Sons with a sticker indicating that plaintiffs lived at a new address, the rental home. Id. This certified letter was never resent to plaintiffs' rental home address. Id. ¶ 18. Plaintiffs received no other messages about the auction. Id. ¶ 20.

         On October 1, 2018, Ms. Morris called All My Sons to get a quote for moving plaintiffs from their rental home to their new home. Id. ¶ 21. On October 19, 2018, plaintiffs contracted to move their possessions from the rental home to the new home. Id. ¶ 22. On October 31, 2018, Ms. Morris called to see about moving the property that was in storage to the new home. Id. ¶ 23. During this call, All My Sons told her that they had sold all the property at a public sale in June. Id. Plaintiffs allege that the value of the property sold exceeded $ 1 million and was sold for just over $1, 000. Id. ¶ 24. Unable to arrange another mover, plaintiffs allowed All My Sons to complete the move. Id. ¶ 26.

         Plaintiffs sued in North Carolina state court, bringing claims for breach of contract, conversion, unfair and deceptive trade practices, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and punitive damages. Id. ¶¶ 27-54. As stated above, the named defendants are (1) All My Sons Properties of Raleigh, LLC, d/b/a All My Sons Moving and Storage, Inc., (2) SG of Raleigh, LLC. d/b/a All My Sons Moving & Storage of Raleigh, LLC, and (3) Kenon P. Furlong, the operations manager of SG of Raleigh, LLC.

         Defendants removed the case to this Court, invoking diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiffs responded with the instant motion to remand.

         Defendants argue that this Court has subject-matter jurisdiction because the two defendants that are North Carolina citizens-All My Sons Properties of Raleigh and Furlong- are fraudulently joined defendants against whom plaintiffs cannot make out a claim. Specifically, defendants acknowledge that All My Sons Properties of Raleigh, LLC is a North Carolina citizen, but point out that it is merely the owner of the real estate where SG of Raleigh, LLC's moving and storage operations are physically located. Similarly, while Furlong is also a North Carolina citizen, he is the operations manager of SG of Raleigh, LLC. Defendants argue that no possible claim can be established against these two defendants, and that the only legitimate defendant is SG of Raleigh, LLC, the moving and storage company with whom plaintiffs contracted. SG of Raleigh, LLC is ...


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