Abuchaibe v. Seaway Biltmore, Inc. et al
ORDER ON MOTION TO REMAND. The Court grants Abuchaibe's motion to remand (ECF No. 11 ). The Court remands Abuchaibe's remaining claim to state court, from where this case originated. The Clerk shall close this matter, and take all neces sary steps to ensure the prompt remand of this action and transfer this file back to the Circuit Court for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida in and for Miami-Dade County. All pending motions are denied as moot. Signed by Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr on 5/17/2017. (mc)
United States District Court
Southern District of Florida
Grace Abuchaibe, Plaintiff,
Seaway Biltmore, Inc., Defendant.
) Civil Action No. 17-21176-Civ-Scola
Order on Motion to Remand
This matter is before the Court on the Plaintiff Grace Abuchaibe’s motion
to remand (ECF NO. 11). Abuchaibe filed a complaint in state court, which was
served on the Defendants on March 3, 2017, alleging a common law breach of
contract claim and an unlawful retaliation claim pursuant to both 42 U.S.C.
§§ 2000e et seq. (“Title VII”) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29
U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. The Defendants properly removed the complaint on March
30, 2017, and immediately moved to dismiss the complaint. As was her right
under Rule 15(a)(1)(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Abuchaibe filed an
amended complaint, in which she eliminated her federal claims. Naturally, her
motion to remand followed shortly thereafter. The Defendants oppose remand
because, in summary, federal courts “carry [more] weight” and have more
resources than state courts. (Resp. at 2, ECF No. 12.) Further, in anticipation of
remand, the Defendants ask this Court to reserve jurisdiction to determine
attorney’s fees and costs related to the federal claim. (Id.)
Certainly, at the time of removal, this Court had original jurisdiction over
Abuchaibe’s federal claim and supplemental jurisdiction over her state claim. 28
U.S.C. §1331, United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 725 (1966). Further,
“later changes to the pleadings do not impact the court’s exercise of
supplemental jurisdiction.” Pintando v. Miami-Dade Hous. Agency, 501 F.3d
1241, 1244 (11th Cir. 2007). Even so, a district court “may decline to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over a claim” if “the district court has dismissed all
claims over which it has original jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). District
courts have full discretion “to handle cases involving state-law claims in the way
that will best accommodate the values of economy, convenience, fairness, and
comity . . . .” Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 351 (1988).
Under the circumstances here, where this case is still in its very early
stages and only one state common law claim remains, the Court will not
continue to exercise its discretionary jurisdiction over that state-law claim. See
also Baggett v. First Nat. Bank of Gainesville, 117 F.3d 1342, 1353 (11th Cir.
1997) (“State courts, not federal courts, should be the final arbiters of state
law.”). In reaching this decision, the Court is not unmindful that ostensible
forum manipulation undergirds Abuchaibe’s motion to remand. See Rockwell
Int’l Corp. v. United States, 549 U.S. 457, 474 n.6 (2007) (“[R]emoval cases raise
forum-manipulation concerns that simply do not exist when it is the plaintiff
who chooses a federal forum and then pleads away jurisdiction through
amendment.”). But in Florida, “court[s] always should remember that a strong
presumption favors the plaintiff’s choice of forum.” Kinney Sys., Inc. v. Cont’l Ins.
Co., 674 So. 2d 86, 91 (Fla. 1996); see also Cortez v. Palace Resorts, Inc., 123 So.
3d 1085, 1092–93 (Fla. 2013) (“[T]he assumption [underlying that presumption]
is that there is in fact a more convenient forum to litigate the dispute, but that
the plaintiff selected the chosen forum to gain a strategic advantage.”).
Undoubtedly, if Abuchaibe believed some strategic advantage existed in
state court then she should not have alleged a claim arising under federal law.
The Court will not retain jurisdiction, however, to determine fees and costs
related to removal. The Defendants are free to explore state remedies for
Abuchaibe’s litigation conduct, and the state court may determine the
appropriateness of any such remedies.
Accordingly, the Court grants Abuchaibe’s motion to remand (ECF No.
11). The Court remands Abuchaibe’s remaining claim to state court, from where
this case originated. The Clerk shall close this matter, and take all necessary
steps to ensure the prompt remand of this action and transfer this file back to
the Circuit Court for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida in and for MiamiDade County. All pending motions are denied as moot.
Done and ordered, at Miami, Florida, on May 17, 2017.
Robert N. Scola, Jr.
United States District Judge
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