Battles et al v. GlassBridge Enterprises, Inc.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' REQUEST FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS 21 (Written Opinion). Signed by Judge Patrick J. Schiltz on July 28, 2017. (CLG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
KEVIN BATTLES; RANDI BILDEAUX;
and BRIAN MELKERT,
Case No. 17‐CV‐1429 (PJS/HB)
GLASSBRIDGE ENTERPRISES, INC.,
f/k/a IMATION CORP.,
Kaarin Nelson Schaffer and Emma R. Denny, HALUNEN LAW; and Mic
Puklich, NEATON & PUKLICH, PLLP, for plaintiffs.
Archana Nath and Mark P. Schneebeck, FOX ROTHSCHILD LLP, for
This matter initially came before the Court after defendant GlassBridge
Enterprises, Inc. (“GlassBridge”) removed this case to federal court and then moved to
dismiss. After the Court denied the motion to dismiss and remanded the case to state
court, plaintiffs asked that GlassBridge be ordered to pay the attorney’s fees and costs
that plaintiffs incurred as a result of the removal. ECF No. 21.
Section 1447(c) of Title 28 of the United States Code provides that “[a]n order
remanding the case may require payment of just costs and any actual expenses,
including attorney fees, incurred as a result of the removal.” The Court “has
‘considerable discretion’ in determining whether to award attorney’s fees pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).” Convent Corp. v. City of N. Little Rock, Ark., 784 F.3d 479, 482 (8th
Cir. 2015) (quoting Wells Fargo Bank W., Nat’l Ass’n v. Burns, 100 F. App’x 599, 599 (8th
Cir. 2004) (per curiam)). This discretion, however, is not limitless. See Martin v. Franklin
Capital Corp., 546 U.S. 132, 139 (2005) (“The fact that an award of fees under § 1447(c) is
left to the district court’s discretion . . . does not mean that no legal standard governs
that discretion.”). District courts should require the payment of fees “only where the
removing party lacked an objectively reasonable basis for seeking removal.” Id. at 141;
see also Robinson v. Pfizer, Inc., 855 F.3d 893, 896 (8th Cir. 2017) (noting district courts
may award fees for “improper removal”). If there was “a colorable argument” that the
federal court had jurisdiction, an award of attorney’s fees is unwarranted. Moore v. Kan.
City Pub. Sch., 828 F.3d 687, 694 (8th Cir. 2016).
Although this Court ultimately remanded this case to state court, the question
was close. ECF No. 18. GlassBridge made a better‐than‐colorable argument that
plaintiffs’ claims were based entirely on an ERISA plan and communications regarding
that plan, and thus that plaintiffs’ claims were completely preempted by ERISA. See
ECF No. 8 at 11‐17. The Court eventually disagreed with GlassBridge’s argument, but
GlassBridge nevertheless had “a reasonable basis to remove the action. . . .” Moore, 828
F.3d at 694. Plaintiffs’ request for attorney’s fees under § 1447(c) is therefore denied.
Based on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and proceedings herein,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT plaintiffs’ request for attorney’s fees and costs [ECF
No. 21] is DENIED.
Dated: July 28, 2017
s/Patrick J. Schiltz
Patrick J. Schiltz
United States District Judge
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