Miller v. State of Michigan
ORDER denying plaintiff's motion 2 for counsel and motion 5 to correct mistake, granting motion to remand case to Wayne County Circuit Court and dismissing case no. 21-11496 and case no. 21-11891. Signed by District Judge Robert H. Cleland. (TTho)
Case 3:21-cv-11496-RHC-APP ECF No. 11, PageID.80 Filed 09/07/21 Page 1 of 4
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
DANA M. MILLER, #455056,
Case No. 21-11496
Case No. 21-11891
STATE OF MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR COUNSEL [CASE NO. 21-11496,
ECF NO 2] AND MOTION TO CORRECT MISTAKE [CASE NO. 21-11496, ECF NO
5], GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO REMAND [CASE NO. 21-11496, ECF
NO. 7], AND DISMISSING CASE NO. 21-11496 AND CASE NO. 21-11891
Plaintiff Dana M. Miller is a prisoner in the custody of the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC). Defendant Treasurer of the State of Michigan filed a complaint in
the Wayne County Circuit Court against Miller pursuant to the State Correctional Facility
Reimbursement Act (SCFRA), Mich. Comp. Laws § 800.401, et seq., seeking
reimbursement for his cost of care while in the state’s custody. (Case No. 21-11496,
Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.4-5.) On June 14, 2021, Miller filed a motion for removal of
the state’s case to federal court, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 and 28
U.S.C. § 1441, et seq. (ECF No. 1.)
Also before the court, on the same docket, are Plaintiff Miller’s motions for
appointment of counsel (ECF No. 2) and to correct a mistake (ECF No. 5); and
Defendant’s motion to remand the case to the Wayne County Circuit Court, based on
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lack of jurisdiction. (ECF No. 7.) Finally, a second action related to this matter was
docketed in error by the Clerk of the Court when Miller sent a letter to the court
reiterating his request for removal. (See Case No. 21-11891.)
In general, “any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of
the United States have original jurisdiction may be removed by the defendant or the
defendants, to the district court of the United States . . . where such action is pending.”
28 U.S.C. § 1441. 1 If it appears at any time after removal but before final judgment that
the federal district court “lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded.”
28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). A defendant in state court “may not remove a case to federal court
unless the plaintiff's complaint establishes that the case ‘arises under’ federal law.”
Goluban v. Riverview Cmty. Sch. Dist., 678 F. Supp. 688, 689 (E.D. Mich. 1988)
(quoting Franchise Tax Bd. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust for So. Cal., 463
U.S. 1, 103 S. Ct. 2841, 2846 (1983)).
Defendant Treasurer (the plaintiff in the state court action) argues that removal is
improper because the original complaint is based solely on state law, the SCFRA, and
thus this court is without jurisdiction as required by section 1441. Plaintiff Miller does not
argue that his claim “arises under federal law.” Miller’s sole reference to federal law is
his assertion that “the state is seeking . . . the stimulus money that was guaranteed to
me by the federal government.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.1.)
If, as Miller appears to argue, the State of Michigan is somehow precluded from
recovering the federal stimulus payment as reimbursement, he could raise this defense
Plaintiff Miller also cites for authority Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, but that
provision does not govern removal to federal court.
Case 3:21-cv-11496-RHC-APP ECF No. 11, PageID.82 Filed 09/07/21 Page 3 of 4
in the state court action. However, “[p]otential defenses, including a federal statute's
preemptive effect, do not provide a basis for removal.” Medlen v. Est. of Meyers, 273 F.
App'x 464, 466 (6th Cir. 2008) (citing Beneficial Nat. Bank v. Anderson, 539 U.S. 1, 6
(2003); Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 393 (1987); Franchise Tax Bd., 463
U.S. 1, 10, 12).
Accordingly, the court IT IS ORDERED that Defendant’s motion to remand (Case
No. 21-11496, ECF No. 7) is GRANTED and the case is REMANDED to the Wayne
County Circuit Court.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motions for appointment of counsel
(ECF No. 2) and to correct a mistake (ECF No. 5), filed in Case No. 21-11496, are
DENIED as moot.
IT IS ALSO ORDERED that Case No. 21-11891 is DISMISSED as improvidently
docketed. See United States v. Norton, No. 21-5210, 2021 WL 2285041, at *1 (6th Cir.
Mar. 9, 2021).
Finally, the Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to revoke any order which may have
been entered authorizing withdrawal of Plaintiff’s funds from his MDOC institutional
account, and to refund any monies Plaintiff may have paid associated with the case
numbers listed in the caption.
s/Robert H. Cleland
ROBERT H. CLELAND
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: September 7, 2021
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I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was mailed to counsel of record
on this date, September 7, 2021, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
s/Lisa G. Wagner
Case Manager and Deputy Clerk
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