United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
RANDOLPH D. MOSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's motion to
remand, Dkt. 7, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
Plaintiff National Resident Matching Program
(“NRMP”) originally filed suit to vacate an
arbitration award in favor of Defendant Mahmoud Alashry
(“Dr. Alashry”) in the D.C. Superior Court. Dkt.
9-2 at 2. On November 28, 2017, Dr. Alashry removed the case
to this Court. Dkt. 1. NRMP argues that the Court lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction because the arbitration agreement
specifies that D.C. law governs this dispute, and, because
the amount in controversy is insufficient to establish
diversity jurisdiction. The Court disagrees and will,
accordingly, DENY Plaintiff's motion to
remand, Dkt. 7.
an Illinois-based, not-for-profit corporation with its
principal place of business in Washington, D.C. Dkt. 1 at 1.
NRMP “provide[s] a service by which it matches medical
school students and graduates to positions in United States
graduate medical education residency and fellowship training
programs.” Id. Dr. Alashry is a citizen of
Egypt-where he obtained his medical degree-and currently
resides in Florida. Dkt. 1-1 at 1 (Alashry Decl. ¶¶
1-2). In 2014, Dr. Alashry began a post-doctoral research
fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Id. (Alashry Decl. ¶ 3). During his fellowship,
Dr. Alashry “completed the United States Medical
Licensing Examination and obtained a certification from the
Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.”
Id. He then applied to participate in NRMP's
2016 medical residency matching program (“Main
Residency Match”), and, through that program, matched
to an internal medicine residency program at the North
Florida Regional Medical Center (“NFRMC”) on
March 18, 2016. Id. at 2 (Alashry Decl. ¶ 5);
Dkt. 10-2 at 11.
participate in the Main Residency Match, Dr. Alashry entered
into an agreement with NRMP (“the Match
Agreement”). Dkt. 5-2. Section 4.4 of the Match
Agreement requires that each applicant provide
“complete, timely, and accurate information”
throughout the match process, and states that “NRMP is
authorized to take appropriate action, ” specified in a
later provision, if “NRMP believes it has credible
evidence that an applicant . . . has violated the . . .
[a]greement.” Id. at 21. On February 22,
2016-before his match date-Dr. Alashry was arrested for
solicitation of prostitution in Minnesota and was
subsequently charged on April 1, 2016. Dkt. 10-2 at 11-12;
Dkt. 10-2 at 45 (Arb. Award ¶¶ 33-35). He proceeded
with the match, however, and did not disclose this
information to either NRMP or the program he matched
with-NFRMC-until May 23, 2016, when he emailed the program
director. Id. at 46 (Arb. Award ¶ 39),
id. at 97.
his arrest and pending charge, Dr. Alashry was not eligible
for a J-1 visa and could not start his residency with NFRMC
in June 2016; consequently, NFRMC applied to NRMP for a
waiver of its match commitment to Dr. Alashry, which NRMP
granted. Id. (Arb. Award ¶ 42). NRMP then
conducted an investigation into whether Dr. Alashry's
actions violated section 4.4 of the Match Agreement and
determined that they did. Id. (Arb. Award
¶¶ 45-46). In accordance with section 8.2.1 of the
Match Agreement, NRMP issued a Panel Report imposing the
[T]he NRMP is notifying [Dr. Alashry's medical] school of
this violation and asking that it become a part of his
permanent record. The NRMP also bars Dr. Alashry for one year
from accepting or starting a position in any program
sponsored by a Match-participating institution . . . ., bars
him from participation in future NRMP Matches for two years,
and will identify him as a Match violator in the NRMP's
Registration, Ranking, and Results (R3) system for two years,
Id. at 47 (Arb. Award ¶ 47). Dr. Alashry
contested NRMP's finding of culpability. Id. at
37 (Arb. Award ¶ 7).
September 9, 2016, Dr. Alashry filed a demand for
arbitration, pursuant to section 15 of the Match Agreement,
with the International Centre for Dispute Resolution
(“ICDR”), requesting a declaratory judgment that
(1) he did not violate the Match Agreement, (2) the NRMP
lacked jurisdiction to sanction him for conduct that occurred
after the conclusion of the Match process, and (3) all of the
sanctions in the Panel Report should be vacated. Id.
NRMP responded that the sanctions “imposed [were]
appropriate.” Id. at 38 (Arb. Award ¶
10). ICDR appointed Elliot E. Polebaum as the sole
arbitrator. Id. at 37-38 (Arb. Award ¶¶
10-11). The arbitrator conducted a hearing on May 16, 2017,
and permitted the parties to submit post-hearing briefs and
replies. Id. at 38-39 (Arb. Award ¶¶ 14,
16-18). On July 13, 2017, the arbitrator issued an award (1)
vacating the “findings of violation” in the Panel
Report “except insofar as the Report's violation
finding encompasses a violation for untimely disclosure of
the pending criminal charges against Dr. Alashry during the
period after April 1, 2016;” and (2) vacating the
“sanctions . . . for violations of section 4.4 of the
Agreement [as] arbitrary and capricious.” Id.
at 59 (Arb. Award ¶¶ 90-91).
October 13, 2017, NRMP filed suit in D.C. Superior Court
seeking to vacate the arbitration award. Dkt. 9-1; Dkt. 9-2.
In lieu of filing a response, Dr. Alashry removed the case to
this Court asserting both diversity and federal question
jurisdiction. Dkt. 1 at 4-7. NRMP now moves to remand,
arguing that Dr. Alashry cannot show that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000, as required to establish
diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), or that the
case arises under federal law, 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Dkt. 7.
NRMP does not contest that Dr. Alashry has otherwise complied
with the requirements for removal.
defendant may remove a case to federal court if the federal
court has original jurisdiction over the matter. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(a). The fact that the state court-or, here, the
D.C. Superior Court-might have concurrent jurisdiction over
NRMP's claim is of no moment; if the federal court has
subject-matter jurisdiction, and if Congress has not
expressly precluded removal, the defendant may elect to
litigate in the federal forum. See Breuer v. Jim's
Concrete of Brevard, Inc., 538 U.S. 691, 697-98 (2003);
14B Charles Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal
Practice and Procedure § 3721, at 2-3 (4th ed.
2009). For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes
that it has subject-matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331, and that, as a result, it need not address
whether it has ...