121 F.3d 160 (4th Cir. 1997), 96-1762, Lovern v. General Motors Corp.

Docket Nº:96-1762.
Citation:121 F.3d 160
Party Name:Grover Lee LOVERN, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:August 14, 1997
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Page 160

121 F.3d 160 (4th Cir. 1997)

Grover Lee LOVERN, Plaintiff-Appellant,



No. 96-1762.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

August 14, 1997

Argued May 7, 1997.

ARGUED: Christopher Karl Kowalczuk, Richard Lee Lawrence & Associates, Roanoke, VA, for Appellant. Michael D. Jones, Paul Brian Taylor, Kirkland & Ellis, Washington, DC, for Appellee. ON BRIEF: Paul F. Brinkman, Kirkland & Ellis, Washington, DC, for Appellee.

Before NIEMEYER and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges, and LEGG, United States District Judge for the District of Maryland, sitting by designation.

Affirmed by published opinion. Judge NIEMEYER wrote the opinion, in which Judge HAMILTON and Judge LEGG joined.

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NIEMEYER, Circuit Judge:

The removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b), provides that notice of removal of a case from state court to federal court shall be filed within 30 days after receipt of the initial pleading or, in certain circumstances, within 30 days after receipt of a paper from which "it may first be ascertained that the case is one which is ... removable." In this case we hold that General Motors Corporation timely removed the case on diversity-jurisdiction grounds when it filed its notice of removal 28 days after receipt of a police report that first demonstrated the plaintiff's diverse residency and 8 days after receipt of answers to interrogatories demonstrating his diverse citizenship, even though the notice of removal was filed 88 days after service of the complaint which did not reveal plaintiff's address or citizenship.


In 1992, while driving on Interstate Highway 581 in Roanoke, Virginia, Grover Lee Lovern was involved in an automobile accident. Arguing that the severity of his injuries was attributable to the defective design and manufacture of the seat belt in his Pontiac automobile manufactured by General Motors Corporation, Lovern filed an action against General Motors in the Circuit Court of the City of Roanoke, Virginia, seeking $500,000 in damages.

The initial pleading, which was served on General Motors on October 21, 1994, offered no indication of Lovern's citizenship. After General Motors filed its grounds for defense, it served interrogatories inquiring specifically into Lovern's citizenship. On January 23, 1995, Lovern provided his answers, stating that he was a Virginia citizen. Earlier that month, on January 3, 1995, General Motors also received a copy of the police report on the accident, which disclosed Lovern's Virginia residence.

Eight days after receipt of the interrogatory answers and 28 days after receipt of the police report, General Motors filed a notice of removal of the case to the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, asserting diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Lovern...

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