United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
DAVID PROCTOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on Plaintiff's motion for
remand. (Doc. # 4). The Motion was fully briefed before this
case was transferred to this court (Docs. 4-2, 7, 26, 29),
but the Honorable Rebecca F. Doherty stayed consideration of
the Motion to Remand pending a decision by the Judicial Panel
on Multidistrict Litigation on whether to transfer this case
to this court in In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust
Litigation, MDL 2406. (Doc. # 36). Upon transfer, this
court invited supplemental briefing on the Motion to address
federal law as interpreted by the Eleventh Circuit Court of
Appeals. (Doc. # 42). That supplemental briefing is now
complete. (Docs. # 43, 44, 45, 46-2, 48-1).
August 2016, Opelousas General Hospital Authority
(“Opelousas”) filed a class-action lawsuit on
behalf of a putative class of all healthcare providers in
Louisiana against Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity
Company d/b/a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana (Louisiana
Blue Cross), a Louisiana corporation. (Doc. # 1-1). Plaintiff
had contracted with Louisiana Blue Cross to provide medical
services under Defendant's healthcare network. Plaintiff
alleged that Louisiana Blue Cross had violated Louisiana
antitrust law (La. R.S. 51:122 and La. R.S. 51:123) by
colluding with other Blue Cross entities to eliminate
competition in payment for medical services. (Id.).
Plaintiff brought suit individually and on behalf of all
other Louisiana healthcare providers who had entered into
network contracts with Louisiana Blue Cross. Plaintiff did
not name any defendants other than Louisiana Blue Cross, the
entity with which Plaintiff and the putative class members
had contracted. Plaintiff disavowed any and all claims under
federal law. (Doc. # 43 at 2).
Blue Cross made no effort to remove the state-filed case.
(Doc. # 43 at 2). On November 3, 2016, Plaintiff moved for
class certification under Louisiana law. (Doc. # 43 at 2).
After consideration of dispositive motion practice, on March
22, 2017, Louisiana Blue Cross filed its Answer. (Doc. #
43-2). On April 27, 2017, a Hearing on Plaintiff's Motion
for Class Certification was set on June 29, 2017. (Doc. #
27, 2017, two days before the class certification hearing,
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (“BCBSA”),
an Illinois corporation, filed a Motion for Leave to
Intervene in the action. That same day, although leave to
intervene had not been granted, Defendant Louisiana Blue
Cross and BCBSA removed this matter to the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(3), invoking federal jurisdiction
under the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C.A.
§1332(d). This case was thereafter transferred to this
court as a tag along by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict
Litigation. (Doc. # 38).
Standard of Review
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction that possess only
that power authorized by the Constitution and statute.
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994). It is axiomatic that this court is
“‘empowered to hear only those cases within the
judicial power of the United States as defined by Article III
of the Constitution, ' and which have been entrusted to
them by a jurisdictional grant authorized by Congress.”
University of South Alabama v. American Tobacco Co.,
168 F.3d 405, 408 (11th Cir. 1999) (quoting Taylor v.
Appleton, 30 F.3d 1365, 1367 (11th Cir. 1994)).
removing party has the burden of establishing subject matter
jurisdiction over a case removed to this court. Roe v.
Michelin North America, Inc., 613 F.3d 1058, 1061 (11th
Cir. 2010). “That burden goes not only to the issue of
federal jurisdiction, but also to questions of compliance
with statutes governing the exercise of the right of
removal.” Parker v. Brown, 570 F.Supp. 640,
642 (S.D. Ohio 1983) (citations omitted). Courts strictly
construe removal statutes. City of Vestavia Hills v. Gen.
Fidelity Ins. Co., 676 F.3d 1310, 1313 (11th Cir. 2012)
(citing Univ. of S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168
F.3d 405, 411 (11th Cir. 1999)). “[A]ll doubts about
jurisdiction should be resolved in favor of remand to state
court.” Vestavia Hills, 676 F.3d at 1313.
multidistrict litigation, “on matters of procedure, the
transferee court must apply federal law as interpreted by the
court of the district where the transferee court sits.”
Various Plaintiffs v. Various Defendants (“Oil
Field Cases”), 673 F.Supp.2d 358, 362-63 (E.D. Pa.
2009) (Robreno, J.); see also Murphy v. F.D.I.C.,
208 F.3d 959, 966 (11th Cir. 2000) (“uniformity does
not require that transferee courts defer to the law of the
transferor circuit.”); Costco Wholesale Corp. v.
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., 2015 WL
9987969, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Nov. 4, 2015) (in multidistrict
litigation, “the law of this Circuit applies to federal
claims and procedural matters.”).
are two ways for a defendant to remove a case under §
The first way (formerly referred to as “first paragraph
removals”) [and accomplished via § 1446(b)(1)]
involves civil cases where the jurisdictional grounds for
removal are apparent on the face of the initial pleadings.
The second way (formerly referred to as “second
paragraph removals”) [and accomplished via §
1446(b)(3)] contemplates removal where the jurisdictional
grounds later become apparent through the defendant's
receipt of “an amended pleading, motion, order or other
paper from which it may first be ascertained that the case is
one which is or has become removable.”
Jones v. Novartis Pharms. Co., 952 F.Supp.2d 1277,
1281-82 (N.D. Ala. 2013) (quoting 28 U.S.C. §