Gilcreast et al v. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, P.C. et al
ORDER OF DISMISSAL for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Signed by District Judge John Corbett O'Meara. (WBar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
FRANCES GILCREAST, et al.,
Case No. 16-11173
Hon. John Corbett O’Meara
LOCKWOOD, ANDREWS &
NEWNAM, P.C., et al.,
ORDER OF DISMISSAL FOR
LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
This case arises from the contamination of drinking water in Flint, Michigan.
Plaintiffs filed their class action complaint against multiple defendants, including
the State of Michigan, state officials, city officials, and professional engineering
companies. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the State and numerous individual
defendants on February 2, 2017, leaving professional negligence and other state
law claims against Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, P.C., LAN, Inc., Leo A. Daly
Company, and Veolia North America, L.L.C.
Defendants have filed motions to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint. As a
threshold matter, the court must first consider whether it has subject matter
jurisdiction over this case. Thornton v. Southwest Detroit Hosp., 895 F.2d 1131,
1133 (6th Cir. 1990) (“Although the parties did not address this issue, subject
matter jurisdiction may be raised sua sponte at any juncture because a federal court
lacks authority to hear a case without subject matter jurisdiction.”); Answers in
Genesis of Kentucky, Inc. v. Creation Ministries Int’l, Ltd., 556 F.3d 459, 465 (6th
Cir. 2009) (same).
Plaintiffs’ alleged basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction is the Class
Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). See Compl. at ¶ 22.1 This court has
declined to exercise jurisdiction under CAFA over other Flint water cases, finding
that the local controversy exception (§ 1332(d)(4)) applies. See Mason v.
Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, P.C., Case No. 16-10663, aff’d, 842 F.3d 383 (6th
Cir. 2016); Davenport v. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, P.C., Case No. 1612875, Docket No. 28 (E.D. Mich., Nov. 1, 2016). The Sixth Circuit in Mason
affirmed, noting that “the case before us exemplifies the quintessential local
controversy.” Mason, 842 F.3d at 397.
This case is indistinguishable from Mason and Davenport, and it meets the
requirements of the local controversy exception to the CAFA: (1) more than twothirds of the proposed class are citizens of Michigan; (2) at least one Defendant
Plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed their federal question claims. The court has
dismissed similar federal claims for lack of jurisdiction. See, e.g., McMillian v. Snyder,
Case No. 16-10796, Docket No. 136 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 7, 2017).
(Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, P.C.) is a Michigan citizen whose conduct forms
a significant basis of Plaintiffs’ claims; (3) the principal injuries occurred in
Michigan; and (4) no “other class action” within the meaning of the statute has been
filed within the preceding three years. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(4). Consistent with
the analysis set forth in Mason and Davenport, the court must decline to exercise
jurisdiction over this matter.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ complaint is
DISMISSED for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
s/John Corbett O’Meara
United States District Judge
Date: February 7, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon
counsel of record on this date, February 7, 2017, using the ECF system.
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