United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
HAKEEM BAKER; ANDREA BARNWELL; LEROY BARTELL; CHARITY L. VON BARTHELD; MUHAMMADLEAN BROWN; RONALD BROWN, II; MALCOLM BROXTON; OLIVIA CONEY; DEVANTA CUMINGHAM; EVELYN DANIELS; DWIGHT DEDAVIESS; JAMES EARLY; JASMINE EVANS; JOSETTE FLOYD; STEVEN GALLEGO; FEON-DENAYE GREEN; IRVIN GREEN; ALEA GREY; AJA HENDRY; ELISEA HILL; MARQUELL JEFFERSON; STACEY JORDAN; AQUILLAH KELLY; PANEI MCKINNON; JADERRA MIKELL; BARBARAR MITCHELL; STACEY MORGAN; RENATA ORTEGA; CHRISTOPHER RICE; DANAISA RICE; CHATAQUE RIVERS; KELVIN ROSIER; BILLY SESSIONS; RASHEIN SMALLS; MOZELL SNOWDEN; SHALINEA SOLIS; JASMINE STONE; JAKO WILLIAMS; LEQUINN WILLIAMS, Plaintiffs,
G4S SECURE SOLUTIONS (USA) INC., Defendant.
STAN BAKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
lawsuit was initiated on October 15, 2018, when Plaintiffs
filed their Complaint against Defendant G4S Secure Solutions
(USA) Inc. in the State Court of Chatham County, Georgia.
(Doc. 1-1, p. 5.) Defendant removed it to this Court on the
basis of diversity jurisdiction on November 13, 2018, (doc.
1-2), and filed a Motion to Dismiss one week later, (doc. 5).
The Motion to Dismiss has been fully briefed by the parties,
(see docs. 6, 7). For the reasons explained below,
however, the Court DENIES the Motion
WITHOUT PREJUDICE and
ORDERS Plaintiffs, within TEN (10)
DAYS of this Order, to electronically file a copy of
the Amended Complaint that they originally filed with the
State Court on November 8, 2018.
Motion to Dismiss is aimed at defeating the Complaint that
Plaintiffs filed to initiate this suit in the State Court.
(See Doc. 5.) It refers exclusively and explicitly
to allegations contained in that pleading and cites only to
that pleading (which is located at docket entry number 1-1 on
this Court’s docket). (Id.) Plaintiffs’
Response, however, frequently refers to their “Amended
Complaint, ” though it completely neglects to cite to a
docket entry number where a copy of that “Amended
Complaint” is available for the Court’s review.
(Doc. 6, pp. 1–4.) After searching through the docket
on its own, the Court has been unable to locate a copy of an
review of the State Court’s electronic docket, however,
reveals that, five days prior to Defendant’s November
13, 2018 filing of the Notice of Removal, an “Amended
– Complaint” was filed with the State
Court. See Baker et al. v. G4S Secure
Solutions (USA), Inc., STCV18-01715 (Chatham Cty. State
Ct. Oct. 15, 2018).
defendant removes a civil action from a state court, the
defendant is required to include with the notice of removal
filed with the district court “a copy of all process,
pleadings, and orders served upon such defendant or
defendants in such action.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a)
(emphasis added). Here, Defendant’s Notice of Removal,
(doc. 1), included an “Exhibit A, ” described on
the docket as “State Court Documents, ” (doc.
1-1). This Exhibit contains a copy of: the summons issued to
Defendant; an “Official Receipt” from the State
Court of Chatham County for a November 13, 2018 transaction
costing $12.00 for “State Court Civil Copies” for
the case; the civil case filing information form for the
case; and a copy of the Complaint (stamped October 15, 2018).
(Id. at pp. 1–10.) There is, however, no copy
of any document filed November 8, 2018 or otherwise appearing
to be an amended complaint.
Court emphasizes at the outset that “the failure to
include all state court pleadings and process with the notice
of removal is procedurally incorrect but is not a
jurisdictional defect.” Cook v. Randolph Cty.,
Ga., 573 F.3d 1143, 1150 (11th Cir. 2009) (citing
Covington v. Indemnity Ins. Co. of N. Am., 251 F.2d
930, 933 (5th Cir. 1958)). Moreover, it could be that
Defendant was not obligated to include a copy of the Amended
Complaint, since it is plausible (given the short window of
time between the filing of that document and the date of
removal) that Defendant had not yet been served with a copy
of the Amended Complaint by the time of
removal. See 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a). In
that case, Plaintiffs should have ensured that a copy was
filed with this Court, particularly after they received
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and drafted a Response
relying on the Amended Complaint.
of which party had the burden of filing a copy of the Amended
Complaint with this Court, the fact of the matter is that the
Court does not have access to a copy of it. Additionally, and
more importantly, Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and
Reply in support are directed only at the original
Complaint and do not take into account any modifications that
were made through the Amended Complaint (much less seek the
dismissal of that pleading). (See, e.g., Doc. 7, p.
7 (“Accordingly, G4S respectfully requests that
Plaintiffs’ Complaint be dismissed in its entirety with
prejudice.”).) “[A]n amended complaint supersedes
the initial complaint and becomes the operative pleading in
the case.” Lowery v. Ala. Power Co., 483 F.3d
1184, 1219 (11th Cir. 2007). In this case, given that the
Court does not have a copy of the operative complaint and the
Motion to Dismiss does not address that complaint, the Court
cannot prudently address Defendant’s Motion.
light of the foregoing, the Court DENIES WITHOUT
PREJUDICE Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, (doc.
5). The Court ORDERS Plaintiffs to file with
the Court, within TEN (10) DAYS of this
Order, a copy of the Amended Complaint that was filed in the
State Court of Chatham County on November 8, 2018. Defendant
shall have FOURTEEN (14) DAYS after service
of the Amended Complaint to file an answer and/or a
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) motion in response thereto.
 Pursuant to O.C.G.A. §
9-11-15(a), “[a] party may amend his pleading as a
matter of course and without leave of court at any time
before the entry of a pretrial order.”
 See Chatham County Court Case
Search System, available at
https://cmsportal.chathamcounty.org/portal (click on
“Smart Search” icon, then search for
STCV18-01715; last visited September 26, 2019).
 It is likewise plausible that
Defendant still has not been served with a copy of the
Amended Complaint, considering that it proceeded to file a
Motion to Dismiss and a Reply that both focused exclusively
on the original Complaint. (Docs. 5, 7.) It is curious,
however, that Defendant would not have sought out a copy of
the Amended Complaint upon reading Plaintiff’s Response
that repeatedly cites to and discusses that document. It is
equally curious, however, that Plaintiffs did not file the
Amended Complaint and raise ...