Rios et al v. Bayer Corporation et al
ORDER OF REMAND: This case is remanded back to the Circuit Court of the Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Illinois, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to close this case and all pending motions are terminated as MOOT. Signed by Judge Staci M. Yandle on 10/12/2016. (mah).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
CHRISTY RIOS, et. al.
BAYER CORPORATION, BAYER
HEALTHCARE LLC, BAYER ESSURE,
INC., BAYER HEATHCARE
PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., and
Case No. 16-CV-1010-SMY-RJD
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court sua sponte on the issue of federal subject matter
jurisdiction. See Foster v. Hill, 497 F.3d 695, 696-97 (7th Cir. 2007) (“it is the responsibility of a
court to make an independent evaluation of whether subject matter jurisdiction exists in every
case”). For the following reasons, this case is REMANDED to the Circuit Court of the Third
Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Illinois.
Plaintiffs are 95 individuals who are citizens of 27 different states and the District of
Columbia (Doc. 1-1, ¶¶ 2-96). 1
Defendant Bayer Corporation is a citizen of Indiana and
Specifically, four Plaintiffs are citizens of Alabama; five Plaintiffs are citizens of Arizona; seven
Plaintiffs are citizens of California; five Plaintiffs are citizens of Colorado; one Plaintiff is a citizen of the
District of Columbia; one Plaintiff is a citizen of Florida; six Plaintiffs are citizens of Georgia; eight
Plaintiffs are citizens of Illinois; one Plaintiff is a citizen of Indiana; two Plaintiffs are citizens of Iowa;
one Plaintiff is a citizen of Kentucky; two Plaintiffs are citizens of Louisiana; one Plaintiff is a citizen of
Maine; eleven Plaintiffs are citizens of Michigan; one Plaintiff is a citizen of Minnesota; one Plaintiff is a
citizen of Mississippi; one Plaintiff is a citizen of Nebraska; one Plaintiff is a citizen of New Jersey; one
Plaintiff is a citizen of North Carolina; six Plaintiffs are citizens of Ohio; one Plaintiff is a citizen of
Oklahoma; three Plaintiffs are citizens of Pennsylvania; six Plaintiffs are citizens of Tennessee; eleven
Pennsylvania; Defendant Bayer Healthcare LLC is a citizen of Delaware, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Germany, and the Netherlands; Defendant Bayer Essure, Inc. is a citizen of
Delaware and New Jersey; and Defendant Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a citizen of
Delaware and New Jersey (see Doc. 1, pp. 8-10).
Plaintiffs filed this action in the Circuit Court of the Third Judicial Circuit, Madison
County, Illinois, seeking damages against Defendants arising out of alleged injuries sustained as
a result of the implantation and use of Essure – a medical device deigned to be a form of
permanent female birth control. Defendants removed the action to this Court asserting diversity
citizenship jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 and federal question jurisdiction pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1331.
A civil action may be removed to federal court if the district court has original
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Courts have original jurisdiction of civil actions if there is
complete diversity between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, exclusive
of interest and costs. Complete diversity means that “none of the parties on either side of the
litigation may be a citizen of the state of which a party on the other side is a citizen.” Howell v.
Tribune Entertainment Co., 106 F.3d 215, 217 (7th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted). The removal
statute is construed narrowly and any doubts regarding jurisdiction are resolved in favor of
remand. Doe v. Allied–Signal, Inc., 985 F.2d 908, 911 (7th Cir. 1993). If the district court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction, the action must be remanded to state court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1447(c). The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction falls on the party seeking removal. Id.
Plaintiffs are citizens of Texas; four Plaintiffs are citizens of Virginia; one Plaintiff is a citizen of
Washington; and three Plaintiffs are citizens of Wisconsin.
In this case, Defendants are citizens of Delaware, Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Germany and the Netherlands. Some of the Plaintiffs are also citizens of Indiana, New Jersey,
Thus, complete diversity does not exist on the face of the Complaint.
Defendants do not deny that complete diversity is lacking. Rather, Defendants argue that this
Court nonetheless has diversity jurisdiction because the out-of-state Plaintiffs’ claims should be
dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction or under the doctrine of forum non conveniens.
Defendants further assert that the out-of-state Plaintiffs’ claims were either fraudulently joined or
procedurally misjoined, and thus the non-diverse Plaintiffs’ citizenship should be ignored for
purposes of determining jurisdiction. Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss (Doc. 7) and a
motion to sever the non-diverse parties (Doc. 10).
It is clear from the face of the Complaint that diversity jurisdiction is lacking. Thus, the
Court need not determine the existence of personal jurisdiction. See Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon
Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574, 587–88, 119 S.Ct. 1563, 143 L.Ed.2d 760 (1999) (stating that if subjectmatter jurisdiction involves “no arduous inquiry,” then “both expedition and sensitivity to state
courts' coequal stature should impel the federal court to dispose of that issue first”); Anglin v.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 2012 WL 1268143, at *4 (S.D. Ill. 2012); Lambert v. Wal-Mart
Stores, Inc., 2015 WL 264817, at *3 (S.D. Ill. 2015).
Defendants also seek to invoke federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1331, asserting that Plaintiffs’ claims depend on the resolution of a substantial, disputed federal
question and the exercise of jurisdiction will not disrupt the balance between federal and state
jurisdiction adopted by Congress. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, federal district courts may
assert jurisdiction over cases arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.
The well-pleaded complaint doctrine states that federal question jurisdiction is present where the
face of the complaint alleges a violation of federal law. Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U .S.
386, 392 (1987). To establish federal question jurisdiction in this case, Defendants must show
either: (1) that a federal statute grants the court jurisdiction; or (2) that there is common law
jurisdiction to a “uniquely federal interest,” which would be frustrated by the “application of
state law.” Northrop Corp. v. AIL Systems, Inc., 959 F.2d 1424, 1426–27 (7th Cir. 1992).
In Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 106 S.Ct. 3229, 92
L.Ed.2d 650 (1986), the plaintiff alleged that ingestion of a drug manufactured by the defendant
resulted in birth defects, claiming in part that the drug was “misbranded” in violation of the
Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). Id. at 805. The Supreme Court found that the labeling
claims belonged in state court, noting that “the mere presence of a federal issue in a state cause
of action does not automatically confer federal-question jurisdiction.” Id. at 813. In doing so,
the Court held that even though federal law would have to apply in resolving the case, the issues
did not sufficiently implicate important federal interests since the FDCA provides no federal
cause of action. Id. at 814.
Similarly, here, while Plaintiffs have alleged that Defendants’ conduct violates the FDCA
and consideration of federal regulations may indeed be involved in the disposition of this action,
those facts alone are insufficient to create federal question jurisdiction. See Lancaster v. Astellas
Pharma, Inc., No. 08–cv–0133–MJR, 2008 WL 4378441, at *4 (S.D. Ill. 2008) (noting “the
mere fact that a state court may have to reference federal regulations in determining the outcome
of a claim is not sufficient by itself to create a substantial federal question); Wagner v. Wisconsin
Auto Title Loans, Inc., 584 F.Supp.2d 1123, 1125 (E.D. Wis. 2008) (incorporation of federal
regulation though state statute insufficient to create disputed issue of federal law where alleged
conduct, if true, would indisputably violate federal statute); Fuller v. BNSF Ry. Co., 472
F.Supp.2d 1088, 1094 (S.D. Ill. 2007) (rejecting federal question jurisdiction where plaintiff's
complaint cited a “a lone federal regulation as an element of a state-law tort claim”); Orbitz, LLC
v. Worldspan, L.P., 425 F.Supp.2d 929 (N.D. Ill. 2006) (declining to exercise federal question
jurisdiction where plaintiffs' claim under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business
Practices Act alleged violation of federal regulations but resolution of claim turned on showing
of deceptive conduct).
Accordingly, this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this matter and is obligated,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), to remand the case back to the Circuit Court of the Third
Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Illinois. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to close this case
and all pending motions are terminated as MOOT.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: October 12, 2016
s/ Staci M. Yandle
STACI M. YANDLE
United States District Judge
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