CRF Building 600 Limited Partnership v. Chico's Fas, Inc.
ORDERED: Plaintiff's Motion to Remand to State Court (Doc. #16) is GRANTED only as to remand. The Clerk is DIRECTED to REMAND this case to the Circuit Court for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit in and for Lee County, Florida. The Clerk is DIRECTED to transmit a certified copy of this Order to the Clerk of that Court. The Clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment, terminate any deadlines, deny any pending motions as moot, and close the file. Signed by Judge Sheri Polster Chappell on 10/14/2020. (AEH)
Case 2:20-cv-00652-SPC-MRM Document 25 Filed 10/14/20 Page 1 of 4 PageID 348
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
FORT MYERS DIVISION
CRF BUILDING 600 LIMITED
PARTNERSHIP, a Maryland limited
Case No.: 2:20-cv-652-FtM-38MRM
CHICO’S FAS, INC.,
Before the Court is Plaintiff CRF Building 600 Limited Partnership’s Motion
to Remand. (Doc. 16). Before Defendant Chico’s Fas, Inc. responded, the Court
ordered the parties to show cause why this case should not be remanded because
of the forum-defendant rule. (Doc. 18). Both parties have done so, and do not
oppose remand. (Doc. 21; Doc. 24).
This is a lawsuit for eviction and money damages. Two months ago, CRF
Building sued Chico’s in the state court seeking eviction and money damages for
unpaid rent pursuant to commercial leases. Chico’s timely removed to this Court,
alleging diversity jurisdiction. (Doc. 1). But CRF Building moved to remand,
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arguing the Court lacked jurisdiction because some members of CRF Building are
domiciled in Florida. (Doc. 16).
Neither party, however, saw the fatal flaw in Chico’s removal: Defendant is
a Florida citizen.2 “A civil action otherwise removable solely on the basis of
jurisdiction under Section 1332(a) of this title may not be removed if any of
the…defendants is a citizen of the State in which such action is brought.” 28 U.S.C.
This is called the “forum-defendant rule”; it bars an at-home
defendant from removing the case if the defendant was served before removal. See,
e.g., Goodwin v. Reynolds, 757 F.3d 1216, 1220-21 (11th Cir. 2014); Jasper
Contractors, Inc. v. Progressive Prop. Ins., No. 2:19-cv-536-FtM-29NPM, 2019
WL 4126751, at * 1 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 30, 2019). Here, Chico’s is a Florida citizen who
was served before removal. Thus, the forum-defendant rule compels the Court to
remand the matter.
Because neither party addressed the matter, the Court issued an order to
show cause on why the rule does not apply, allowing the parties a chance to weigh
in. (Doc. 18). Both parties agree the forum-defendant rule applies, and the case
should be remanded. (Doc. 21; Doc. 24). With the parties in agreement, the Court
will remand the case.
Chico’s is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Florida, with its principal place
of business in Florida.
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Finally, to the extent CRF Building seeks fees, the Motion is denied.3 When
“the removing party lacked an objectively reasonable basis for seeking removal,”
28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) allows a fee award. Martin v. Franklin Capital Corp., 546 U.S.
132, 141 (2005). But the award must be “just” and the decision to award fees is
within the Court’s discretion. Id. at 138-39; Diebel v. S.B. Trucking Co., 262
F.Supp.2d 1319, 1333-34 (M.D. Fla. 2003).
A remand based on the forum-
defendant rule can support an award of fees. Jasper, 2019 WL 4126751, at *2. Yet
the Court concludes it would be unjust to award fees when CRF Building failed to
identify the correct defect in removal and makes no argument for entitlement to
fees. The Court thus denies its request for fees.
Accordingly, it is now
1. Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand to State Court (Doc. 16) is GRANTED only
as to remand.
2. The Clerk is DIRECTED to REMAND this case to the Circuit Court for
the Twentieth Judicial Circuit in and for Lee County, Florida. The Clerk
is DIRECTED to transmit a certified copy of this Order to the Clerk of
3. The Clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment, terminate any deadlines,
deny any pending motions as moot, and close the file.
The Local Rules require a request for fees to be made by separate motion after judgment. Fed.
R. Civ. P. 54(d)(2); Local Rule 4.18(a). Thus, fees could be denied on this basis alone.
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DONE and ORDERED in Fort Myers, Florida on October 14, 2020.
Copies: All Parties of Record
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