Williams et al v. Fred's Stores of Tennessee, Inc. et al
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING 7 MOTION To Remand. Signed by Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins on 1/11/2018. (JLC)
2018 Jan-11 PM 01:56
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
LILLIE WILLIAMS and CUSETTA
JOURNEY, individually and on
behalf of all others similarly situated,
FRED’S STORES OF TENNESSEE, )
Case No.: 2:17-CV-1101-VEH
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO REMAND
This action was originally brought on April 13, 2017, in the Fulton County
Superior Court, State of Georgia. (Doc. 1-1). The Plaintiffs seek relief and damages
from alleged violations by the Defendant of the Fair and Accurate Credit
Transactions Act ("FACTA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq. (Id.). On May 11, 2017,
the Defendant removed this action to the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Georgia. (Doc. 1). On May 24, 2017, the Plaintiffs moved to
have this action remanded to the court from which it was removed. (Doc. 7). The
Defendants have responded to that motion. (Doc. 11). The Plaintiffs have replied.
(Doc. 13). Accordingly, the motion is under submission.1
The Plaintiffs seek remand on the basis that the removal, which was based on
federal question jurisdiction as set out in 28 U.S.C. § 1331, was improper. (Docs. 7,
11). They vehemently argue that Defendants have not been forthcoming in their
court filings, and, indeed, have “grossly misrepresented” such matters as “the
history of this case.” (See Doc. 7 at 2). They also argue that the Defendant failed “to
disclose to the Court” that the “Defendant has taken the position [in a similar action]
that the federal court does not have Article III subject-matter jurisdiction.” (Doc. 7
at 2) (emphasis in original). However, this argument — that the Defendant’s
position that the plaintiffs in the other action lack standing is somehow inconsistent
with removal of this action to federal court --- conflates Article III jurisdiction with
federal question jurisdiction. Accordingly, it is fatally flawed.
28 U.S.C. § 1331 provides that “[t]he district courts shall have original
jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
The undersigned, to whom this case was reassigned on August 28, 2017, admittedly
overlooked this motion, which was transferred along with the case from the Northern District of
Georgia to this District on June 30, 2017. (See docket entry dated June 29, 2017; see also Doc.
As a general matter, defendants may remove to the appropriate federal
district court “any civil action brought in a State court of which the
district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction.” 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a). The propriety of removal thus depends on whether
the case originally could have been filed in federal court. Caterpillar
Inc. [v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386 (1987)], at 392, 107 S.Ct., at
2429–2430. The district courts have original jurisdiction under the
federal question statute over cases “arising under the Constitution,
laws, or treaties of the United States.” [28 U.S.C.] § 1331. “It is long
settled law that a cause of action arises under federal law only when
the plaintiff's well-pleaded complaint raises issues of federal law.”
Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. [v. Taylor, 481 U.S. 58 (1987)], at 63, 107
S.Ct., at 1546.
City of Chicago v. Int'l Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 163, 118 S. Ct. 523, 529,
139 L. Ed. 2d 525 (1997) (affirming removal).
Because federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, “a federal court has
an independent obligation to review its authority to hear a case before it proceeds to
the merits.” Mirage Resorts, Inc. v. Quiet Nacelle Corp., 206 F.3d 1398,
1400-1401 (11th Cir. 2000). The undersigned has reviewed the Complaint. It seeks
relief based upon FACTA, which is a federal law. Thus, a “federal question” was
presented on the face of the plaintiff's “well-pleaded” complaint, and removal of the
case to the federal system was proper. 14B Wright and Miller, Federal Practice and
Procedure: Jurisdiction 4th § 3722 (4th ed. 2009 & West Supp.2017). This Court
has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
The Motion To Remand is hereby DENIED.
DONE and ORDERED this the 11th day of January, 2018.
VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS
United States District Judge
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