Kasparian v. Trans Union LLC
Chief Judge Patti B. Saris: ORDER entered. Because complete preemption does not apply to the FCRA context, the Court REMANDS the case to Massachusetts District Court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. ORDER: The action is REMANDED(Geraldino-Karasek, Clarilde)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
TRANSUNION and CREDIT REPORTING
MANAGER c/o TRANSUNION,
ABRAHAM KASPARIAN, JR.,
September 16, 2016
Plaintiff Abraham Kasparian, Jr. filed suit against
Defendant Trans Union in Massachusetts District Court (Brockton
Division) alleging violations of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93, §§ 56,
58, and 59. Trans Union removed the case to this Court pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Magistrate Judge Bowler issued a report and
recommendation on Defendant’s motion for judgment on the
pleadings. Defendant filed an objection to the report and
recommendation. This Court requested supplemental briefing on
subject matter jurisdiction. After receiving and reviewing the
briefing, the Court REMANDS the case to Massachusetts District
Court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) federal district courts are
granted jurisdiction over state court actions that could have
been brought in federal court. A federal district court has
original jurisdiction over a matter if the action is determined
to have “arisen under the Constitution, laws or treaties of the
United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The well-pleaded complaint
rule determines that a suit arises under federal law “‘only when
the plaintiff’s statement of his own cause of action shows that
it is based upon’ federal law.” Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 U.S.
49, 60 (2009) (quoting Louisville & Nashville R.R. Co. v.
Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 152 (1908)). Here, the complaint was
based on state law and thus does not provide a basis for
An exception to the well-pleaded complaint rule permits
removal to federal court “when a federal statute wholly
displaces a state-law cause of action through complete preemption.” Beneficial Nat’l Bank v. Anderson, 539 U.S. 1, 8
(2003). Only complete preemption allows for the
recharacterization of the plaintiff’s state law claims into
federal law claims. Fayard v. Ne. Vehicle Servs., LLC, 533 F.3d
42, 45 (1st Cir. 2008). The doctrine of complete preemption is
one of limited applicability and only applies in a narrow range
of cases such as claims under the Employment Retirement and
Insurance Security Act (“ERISA”) and the Labor Management
Relations Act. Marcus v. AT&T Corp., 138 F.3d 46, 54 (2d Cir.
1998); see Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 481 U.S. 58, 66
(1987). “By contrast, ordinary preemption – i.e., that a state
law claim conflicts with a federal statute – is merely a defense
and is not a basis for removal.” Fayard, 533 F.3d at 45 (citing
Gully v. First Nat’l Bank, 299 U.S. 109, 115-16 (1936)).
Defendant argues Plaintiff’s claims implicate the Fair
Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1681, thereby
providing this court with subject matter jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1331. The text of the FCRA states that it is not
intended to “annul, alter, affect, or exempt any person subject
to the provisions of this subchapter from complying with the law
of any State.” 15 U.S.C. § 1681(t). Additionally, not only is
the statute self-limiting, but the Federal Trade Commission’s
commentary on the FCRA “reiterates that the FCRA was not
intended to usurp the field of consumer report law.” Davenport
v. Farmers Ins. Grp., 378 F.3d 839, 842-43 (8th Cir. 2004). In
two cases against Trans Union, the courts held the complete
preemption doctrine does not apply to the FCRA and therefore
removal is not permitted. Watkins v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 118 F.
Supp. 2d 1217, 1223 (N.D. Ala. 2000); Swecker v. Trans Union
Corp., 31 F. Supp. 2d 536, 540 (E.D. Va. 1998). These courts
found the statute’s preemption provisions “evidence no intent on
the part of Congress to grant defendants such as Trans Union
. . . the extraordinary ability to recharacterize state law
claims as a federal cause of action.” Watkins, 188 F. Supp. 2d
at 1222; see Swecker, 31 F. Supp. 2d at 539. There are no cases
to the contrary. Disturbingly, counsel removed this case despite
this phalanx of case law, and failed to cite these cases to the
Court in its brief. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b).
Because complete preemption does not apply to the FCRA
context, the Court REMANDS the case to Massachusetts District
Court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
The action is REMANDED.
/s/ PATTI B. SARIS
Patti B. Saris
Chief United States District Judge
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