Courtright v. O'Reilly Automotive Stores, Inc.
ORDER granting remand, finding as moot all other motions. Signed on September 29, 2017, by Chief District Judge Greg Kays. (Law clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
REBECCA COURTRIGHT and
Individually and on Behalf of All Others,
O’REILLY AUTOMOTIVE STORES,
INC., et al.,
Case No. 14-00334-CV-W-DGK
Consol. with: 4:15-00134-CV-DGK
ORDER DISMISSING CASE AND REMANDING TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF
JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI
This case is a putative class action brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
(“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1681(b). Plaintiffs allege Defendants failed to comply with various
federal and state mandates for obtaining and using consumer reports and investigative consumer
reports for employment purposes.
Now before the Court are Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment Based on Lack of
Standing 1 (Doc. 124); Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification (Doc. 129); 2 Plaintiffs’ Motion
for Remand (Doc. 131); 3 and Plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 153).
Although captioned as a motion for summary judgment, this motion is more accurately described as a motion to
dismiss based on lack of standing.
There are also two related motions: Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File Under Seal Their Suggestions in Support
of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification (Doc. 128), and Defendants’ Motion for Leave to File Under Seal the
Exhibits to Their Suggestion in Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification (Doc. 135).
Also pending is a related alternate motion to remand, Plaintiffs’ Motion to Transfer Plaintiff Estrada’s Action to
the Southern District of California (Doc. 134).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(h)(3) provides that “[i]f the Court determines at any
time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.” If a litigant lacks
Article III standing, then a federal court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over the lawsuit. Iowa
League of Cities v. EPA, 711 F.3d 844, 869 (8th Cir. 2013).
Article III standing requires the plaintiff to have “(1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is
fairly traceable to the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is likely to be redressed
by a favorable judicial decision.” Spokeo v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016) (citing Lujan
v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61 (1992)). To establish an injury in fact, a plaintiff
must have suffered “‘an invasion of a legally protected interest’ that is ‘concrete and
particularized’ and ‘actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.’” Id. at 1548 (citing
Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560). “[A] concrete injury is required even in the context of a statutory
violation.” Id. (citing Summers v. Earth Island Inst., 555 U.S. 488, 496 (2009)).
On March 4, 2014, Plaintiffs filed this case in the Circuit Court of Jackson County,
Missouri. On April 10, 2014, Defendants removed this case to federal court. On July 14, 2014,
Plaintiffs filed their First Amended Complaint (Doc. 23).
On March 25, 2015, this case was consolidated with a similar case, Estrada v. CSK Auto
Inc., No. 4:15-cv-0134, originally filed in the Southern District of California. The consolidated
case was reassigned to this Court on April 23, 2015.
The First Amended Complaint alleges Defendants violated Plaintiffs’ statutory rights
under the FCRA, the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act, and the
California Business & Professions Code. First. Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 80-85, 89-94, 102-06, 109-12,
115-18. It alleges that as a result of Defendants’ wrongful acts, Plaintiffs “have been injured,
including, without limitation, by having their privacy and statutory rights invaded in violation of
the FCRA and ICRAA.” Id. at ¶ 14. It seeks statutory damages, including punitive damages and
attorneys’ fees, but no actual damages. Id. at ¶¶ 84-86, 93-95, 107, 111-13, 119.
In their initial briefing on this subject, Plaintiffs argued that they had suffered two
concrete injuries in fact, namely an “invasion of privacy” and an “actionable informational
injury.” Suggestions in Opp’n to Defs.’ Mot. for Summ. J. at 11-15 (Doc. 133). In their
subsequent briefing, however, Plaintiffs did not assert that they had suffered an injury in fact.
See Reply for Pls.’ Mot. for Remand (Doc. 143).
Since the parties now agree that Plaintiff has not suffered any injury in fact, the Court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this dispute. The question then becomes, should the Court
dismiss the case or remand it back to the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri? There has
been some confusion among district courts whether dismissal or remand is appropriate where a
defendant removes a case to federal court and the plaintiff lacks standing. See, e.g., Woods v.
Caremark, No. 15-cv-0535-SRB, 2016 WL 6908108 (W.D. Mo. July 28, 2016) (noting the
Eighth Circuit dismissed a case for lack of standing in Hargis v. Access Capital Funding, LLC,
674 F.3d 783, 793 (8th Cir. 2012), but remanded a case back to state court in Wallace v.
ConAgra Foods, Inc., 747 F.3d 1025, 1033 (8th Cir. 2014), in accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
1447(c)). The Eighth Circuit has recently reaffirmed that such cases should be remanded.
Hughes v. City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 840 F.3d 987, 993 (8th Cir. 2016) (citing Wallace and
holding that, “[i]f a case is removed from state court, those claims lacking Article III standing
shall be remanded.”) Accordingly, this case should be remanded.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs’ Motion for Remand (Doc. 131) is GRANTED. All
other pending motions are DENIED AS MOOT.
The Court will order remand of this case to the Circuit Court of Jackson County,
Missouri. The Court instructs the Clerk of the Court to delay remand of the case for ten days to
allow Defendants the opportunity to exercise their right to appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1453(c)(1).
If the Court of Appeals accepts an appeal from the Court’s order, the Clerk shall delay remand
until the Court of Appeals has ruled on the appeal.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Date: September 29, 2017
/s/ Greg Kays
GREG KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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