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Chamblin v. VIAS One Exchange Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

May 23, 2018

WILLIE CHAMBLIN, Plaintiff,
v.
VIAS One Exchange Company, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Introduction and Procedural History

         On May 11, 2018, Defendant removed Plaintiff Willie Chamblin's (“Mr. Chamblin”) state court case to this Court on the basis of diversity and federal question jurisdiction (arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”)). (Doc. 1 at 2 ¶ 6; id. at 3 ¶ 8). Pending before the Court are a Motion To Remand Case Back to State Court (doc. 13) (the “Remand Motion”) and a Motion for Preliminary Injunction (doc. 14) (the “PI Motion”) filed by Mr. Chamblin on May 21, 2018. Mr. Chamblin is representing himself.

         Mr. Chamblin claims in his Remand Motion that remand is appropriate because Defendant did not remove his case within thirty days of when it was originally filed. (Doc. 13 at 1). Pursuant to his PI Motion, Mr. Chamblin “seeks relief through this injunction to move forward with the case from encountering any further financial hardship and continued decline in health.” (Doc. 14 at 2). Mr. Chamblin also indicates that “opposing counsel needs to be restrain[ed] from any further advancement in the case until it is heard by the court.” (Id. at 1). Finally, Mr. Chamblin complains about Defendant's unwillingness to settle as causing him “continued pain and suffering.” Id. On May 22, 2018, Defendant opposed both motions. (Docs. 15, 16).

         II. Standards

         A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         Unlike state courts, federal tribunals are bodies of limited jurisdiction, meaning that the grounds for the Court's jurisdiction over the claims asserted by the plaintiff must be present at the time the complaint is filed and must be obvious on the face of the complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). The law is clear that Defendant, the party seeking to invoke federal jurisdiction in this case, has the burden to demonstrate that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction. See McNutt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936) (“They are conditions which must be met by the party who seeks the exercise of jurisdiction in his favor. . . . [and a]s he is seeking relief subject to this supervision, it follows that he must carry throughout the litigation the burden of showing that he is properly in court.”). When a case is removed, “[t]he existence of federal jurisdiction is tested as of the time of removal.” Ehlen Floor Covering, Inc. v. Lamb, 660 F.3d 1283, 1287 (11th Cir. 2011) (citing Adventure Outdoors, Inc. v. Bloomberg, 552 F.3d 1290, 1294-95 (11th Cir. 2008)).

         Further, “a federal court has an independent obligation to review its authority to hear a case before it proceeds to the merits.” Mirage Resorts, Inc. v. Quiet Nacelle Corp., 206 F.3d 1398, 1400-01 (11th Cir. 2000). Consequently, the Court cannot ignore jurisdictional concerns even if the parties have none.

         B. Preliminary Injunctive Relief

         A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy which should only be granted if the moving party clearly establishes: (1) a substantial likelihood that he will prevail on the merits; (2) a showing that he will suffer irreparable injury unless the injunction issues; (3) proof that the threatened injury to him outweighs whatever damage the proposed injunction may cause the opposing party; and (4) a showing that the injunction, if issued, would not be adverse to the public interest.

         Cunningham v. Adams, 808 F.2d 815, 818-19 (11th Cir. 1987) (citing Johnson v. U.S. Dep't of Agriculture, 734 F.2d 774, 781 (11th Cir. 1984)); see also United States v. Lambert, 695 F.2d 536, 539 (11th Cir. 1983) (similar); McDonald's Corp. v. Robertson, 147 F.3d 1301, 1306 (11th Cir. 1998) (similar); Kaisha v. Swiss Watch International, Inc., 188 F.Supp.2d 1350, 1353 (S.D. Fla. 2002) (similar).

         The moving party carries the burden of persuasion to clearly establish each of these four elements. United States v. Jefferson County, 720 F.2d 1511, 1519 (11th Cir. 1983); see also Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, B.V. v. Consorcio Barr, S.A., 320 F.3d 1205, 1210 (11th Cir. 2003) (similar); McDonald's Corp., 147 F.3d at 1306 (similar). When analyzing the first two elements, “[t]he review ‘require[s] a delicate balancing of the probabilities of ultimate success at final hearing with the consequences of immediate irreparable injury which could possibly flow from the denial of preliminary relief.'” Schiavo ex rel. Schindler v. Schiavo, 403 F.3d 1223, 1241 (11th Cir. 2005) (initial alteration added) (quoting Siegel v. LePore, 234 F.3d 1163, 1178 (11th Cir. 2000) (en banc)).

         Granting a motion for a preliminary injunction is “the exception rather than the rule[.]” Lambert, 695 F.2d at 539 (citing Texas v. Seatrain International, S.A., 518 F.2d 175, 179 (5th Cir. 1975)).[1] A district court's order granting or denying a motion for preliminary injunction is reviewed on appeal for abuse of discretion. McDonald's Corp., 147 F.3d at 1306; see also Buckeye v. Baker Cellulose Corp., 856 F.2d 167, 169 (11th Cir. 1988) (similar) (citing Jefferson County, 720 F.2d at 1519).

         “In order for a preliminary injunction to issue, the nonmoving party must have notice and an opportunity to present its opposition to the injunction.” Four Seasons, 320 F.3d at 1210 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(a)(1)). Sufficiency of notice “is a matter left within the discretion of the trial court.” United States v. Alabama, 791 F.2d 1450, 1458 (11th Cir. 1986). The notice requirement “implies a hearing in which the defendant is given a fair opportunity to oppose the application and to prepare for such opposition.” Granny Goose Foods, Inc. v. Teamsters, 415 U.S. 423, 434 (1974). “[T]he underlying principle of giving the party opposing the application notice and an adequate opportunity to respond is carefully honored by the courts.” Four Seasons, 320 F.3d at 1210 (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting 11A Charles A. Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2949 at 215). The decision to determine the appropriate amount of notice is left to the district court's discretion. Four Seasons, ...


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