United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
For Brandi Frederick, Plaintiff: Jeffrey E Holmes, Joseph W Carlisle, Spencer A Kinderman, GILPIN GIVHAN PC, Birmingham, AL; Simeon F Penton, GILPIN GIVHAN, PC, Montgomery, AL.
For Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning LLC, f/k/a Steel City Service Experts, f/k/a Steel City Heating & Air, Scott Freeman, Defendants: Grace L Kipp, Michael Sansbury, Robert K Spotswood, SPOTSWOOD SANSOM & SANSBURY LLC, Birmingham, AL.
For GE Capital, d/b/a GE Money Bank, Defendant: Jeffrey P Doss, Lee M Hollis, Sara Anne Ford, LIGHTFOOT FRANKLIN & WHITE LLC, Birmingham, AL.
R. DAVID PROCTOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
This matter is before the court on Plaintiff's Motion to Remand. (Doc. # 4). The Motion has been fully briefed, and on June 11, 2015, the court heard argument on the Motion. (Docs. # 8, 9, 12-17). After careful consideration, and with the benefit of oral argument, the court concludes that the Motion (Doc. # 4) is due to be denied.
This case has taken a circuitous path to reach its current posture and multiple parties have engaged in a number of procedural missteps, dodges, and feints along the way. The court reviews these maneuvers below.
A. The Original Filing in State Court
Plaintiff Brandi Frederick initiated this action in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama on June 24, 2013. Plaintiff's initial Complaint asserted claims against Defendants Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC, Scott Freeman, and Becky Collins. (Case No. 2:14-cv-00700-RDP, Doc. # at 13-24). The original Complaint asserted state law breach of contract, fraud, suppression, promissory fraud, deceit, and willful deceit claims. (Doc. # 1-1).
B. The First Amended Complaint Filed in State Court
On March 20, 2014, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint in state court. (Case No. 2:14-cv-00700-RDP, Doc. # 1-1 at 35-68). In her amended pleadings, Plaintiff added certain claims which were not asserted in the original complaint, including a claim under 18 U.S.C. § 1962, the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (" RICO" ). ( Id. ). Plaintiff also added two new defendants -- General Electric Capital Corporation d/b/a GE Capital f/k/a GE Money Bank (" GE" ) and Equiguard, Inc. ( Id. ). GE was served with the Amended Complaint on March 31, 2014, before this action was removed. (Case No. 2:14-cv-00700-RDP, Doc. # 1 at 104). Equiguard was also served.
C. The Initial Removal of this Action and the Prior Remand
On April 16, 2014, Service Experts and Freeman filed a Notice of Removal. (Case No. 2:14-cv-00700-RDP, Doc. # 1). The only basis asserted in that petition was federal question jurisdiction based on Plaintiff's RICO claims. The Notice was filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1441(a), and was signed only by counsel for Service Experts and Freeman. (Case No. 2:14-cv-00700-RDP, Doc. # 1). However, Service Experts and Freeman asserted in the Notice that " GE Capital d/b/a GE Money Bank also consents ...