United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Inc., Medtronic Sofamor Danek USA, Inc., and Medtronic, Inc., Plaintiffs,
Patrick B. Gannon, Defendant.
Jonathan S. Parritz, Melissa R. Muro LaMere, Wayne S.
Moskowitz, and William Z. Pentelovitch, Maslon LLP, for
Anthony Barrett Haller and Leigh Ann Buziak, Blank Rome LLP,
One Logan Square, Mary L. Knoblauch, Anthony Ostlund Baer
& Louwagie PA, for Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
RICHARD NELSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on two motions: Defendant’s
Renewed Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction
and Improper Venue or, in the Alternative, to Transfer [Doc.
No. 4] (“Motion to Dismiss”), and
Plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand [Doc. No. 13].
Patrick Gannon (“Gannon”) removed this case to
federal court from Anoka County District Court where it was
originally filed. Plaintiffs Medtronic, Inc., Medtronic
Sofamor Danek, Inc., and Medtronic Sofamor Danek USA, Inc.
(collectively “Medtronic”) maintain that Gannon
is bound to litigate this claim in Minnesota state court by a
valid forum selection clause in his employment contract. The
Court finds that the forum selection clause is binding and
grants Medtronic’s Motion to Remand. Consequently, the
Court does not reach Gannon’s Motion to Dismiss.
U.S.C. § 1441 generally provides a defendant in a state
civil case the right to remove that case to federal district
court, assuming the case could have been brought there
originally. See Martin v. Franklin Capital Corp.,
546 U.S. 132, 134 (2005). In turn, the plaintiff may move to
have the case remanded if subject matter jurisdiction is
lacking, or if some other defect makes removal improper.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). The party seeking
removal and opposing remand has the burden to demonstrate
federal jurisdiction, and all doubts should be resolved in
favor of remand. In re Bus. Men’s Assurance Co. of
Am., 992 F.2d 181, 183 (8th Cir. 1993). “In
addition to the notice of removal and its exhibits, to
determine whether there is jurisdiction, the court may
consider documents submitted after the notice of removal as
well as those attached to subsequent motions.” In
re Trusts, 241 F. Supp. 3d 905, 914 (D. Minn. 2017)
(quoting Guggenberger v. Starkey Labs., Inc., No.
16-cv-2021, 2016 WL 7479542, at *5 (D. Minn. Dec. 29, 2016));
see also Willingham v. Morgan, 395 U.S. 402, 407-08,
407 n.3 (1969) (considering affidavits submitted after
removal to determine that the district court had subject
matter jurisdiction); Pudlowski v. St. Louis Rams,
LLC, 829 F.3d 963, 964-65 (8th Cir. 2016) (per curiam)
to have considered the issue, including the Eighth Circuit,
have concluded that removal in the face of a valid forum
selection clause fixing venue in the state courts is the sort
of defect that qualifies a case for remand. See,
e.g., iNet Directories, LLC v. Developershed,
Inc., 394 F.3d 1081, 1082 (8th Cir. 2005); Waters v.
Browning-Ferris Indus., Inc., 252 F.3d 796, 797 (5th
Cir. 2001); Karl Koch Erecting Co. v. N.Y. Convention
Ctr. Dev. Corp., 838 F.2d 656, 659 (2d Cir. 1988).
Eighth Circuit precedent requires any waiver of the right to
remand to be “clear and unequivocal.” Weltman
v. Silna, 879 F.2d 425, 427 (8th Cir. 1989).
March 3, 2015, Gannon began an employment relationship with
Medtronic by signing three documents: the Offer Letter, the
Employee Agreement, and the Repayment Agreement.
(See Notice of Removal, Ex. 1, pt. 1 [Doc. No. 1-1],
at 49-63; pt. 2 [Doc. No. 1-2], at 278.) Each
document’s contents will be explored below, but at the
outset it should be noted that the Employee Agreement
contains a forum selection clause, mandating that litigation
of disputes “arising out of or related to this
Agreement” take place in Minnesota state court.
(Id., pt. 1, at 57.) Gannon is a Massachusetts
citizen, and has lived in Massachusetts during all times
relevant to this Order. (Gannon Decl. [Doc. No. 8], at 1-2.)
2016, Gannon left his employment with Medtronic and returned
to his prior employer, DePuy Spine. (Notice of Removal, Ex.
1, pt. 1, at 23.) Medtronic brought suit in Anoka County
District Court in the state of Minnesota, alleging that
Gannon breached the restrictive covenant in the Employee
Agreement and that DePuy Spine intentionally interfered with
the contract between Gannon and Medtronic. (Id. at
43-45.) Medtronic later filed an Amended Complaint, which
added an additional count against Gannon. (Id., pt.
2, at 156-84.) Count five of the Amended Complaint seeks
damages for Gannon’s failure “to perform his
repayment obligations under the Repayment Agreement”
between Gannon and Medtronic. (Id. at
moved to dismiss count five of the Amended Complaint for lack
of personal jurisdiction. (Id. at 258-74.) Before
the state court could rule on that motion, however, the
parties settled counts one through four of the Amended
Complaint. (Id., pt. 3 [Doc. No. 1-3], at 115-123.)
With DePuy Spine no longer part of the case, Gannon removed
to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. (Notice
of Removal [Doc. No. 1].) He then renewed his motion to dismiss
for lack of personal jurisdiction, and further moved for
dismissal based on improper venue or transfer to the federal
district court for the District of Massachusetts.
(See Def.’s Mem. in Supp. of Renewed Notice of
Mot. to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction and
Improper Venue, or, in the Alternative, to Transfer [Doc. No.
6] (“Def.’s Mem. in Supp.”), at 1.)
Medtronic moved to remand to Minnesota state court, ...