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Rollason v. ITX LLC

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

May 14, 2019

SAMUEL L. ROLLASON, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
ITX, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          TERRY F. MOORER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand Unitrin Auto and Home Insurance Company Case to Baldwin County Circuit Court. Doc. 9, filed January 18, 2019. Plaintiffs request the Court remand this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447 to the Baldwin County Circuit Court. Id. at 1. Also pending before the Court is Defendant ITX, LLC's (“ITX”) Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 2, filed November 15, 2018), in which Defendant ITX requests the Court to dismiss, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b), Plaintiffs' state law claims because they are preempted by the Carmack Amendment to the I.C.C. Termination Act, 49 U.S.C. § 14706. Having considered the motions and relevant law, the Court finds the motion to remand is due to be denied and the motion to dismiss is due to be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Defendant ITX removed this matter to this Court from the Baldwin County Circuit Court on November 15, 2018, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1446, based on diversity and federal question jurisdiction. See Doc. 1 at 1. In Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint, they bring claims of breach of contract (Counts 1 and 6), negligence and wantonness (Count 2), misrepresentation (Count 3), suppression (Count 4), and bad faith (Counts 5 and 7) against Defendants All State Van Lines Relocation, Inc. (“All State Van Lines”); ITX; Relo Van Lines, LLC (“Relo”); and Unitrin Auto and Home Insurance Company (“Unitrin”). Doc. 1-1.

         On November 15, 2018, Defendant ITX filed its Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 2) to which Plaintiffs filed their response (Doc. 10) and Defendant ITX filed its reply (Doc. 13). On January 18, 2019, Plaintiffs filed their motion to remand and supporting brief (Doc. 9) to which Defendant Unitrin Auto and Home Insurance Company filed its opposition (Doc. 12). The motions are fully briefed and ripe for review and the Court finds oral argument unnecessary.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A. Motion to Remand

          Federal courts have a strict duty to exercise jurisdiction conferred on them by Congress. Quackenbush v. Allstate Ins. Co., 517 U.S. 706, 716, 116 S.Ct. 1712, 1720, 135 L.Ed.2d 1 (1996). However, federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and possess only that power authorized by the Constitution and statute. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 1675, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994); Burns v. Windsor Ins. Co., 31 F.3d 1092, 1095 (1994). Defendant, as the party removing this action, has the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction. See Leonard v. Enterprise Rent a Car, 279 F.3d 967, 972 (11th Cir. 2002) (citing Williams v. Best Buy Co., 269 F.3d 1316, 1318 (11th Cir. 2001)). Further, the federal removal statutes must be construed narrowly and doubts about removal must be resolved in favor of remand. Allen v. Christenberry, 327 F.3d 1290, 1293 (11th Cir. 2003) (citing Diaz v. Sheppard, 85 F.3d 1502, 1505 (11th Cir. 1996)); Burns, 31 F.3d at 1095 (citations omitted).

         B. Motion to Dismiss - Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)[1]

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) a defendant may move to dismiss a complaint on the basis that the plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). To survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must plead “only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (“To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.' [Twombly, 550 U.S.] at 570, 127 S.Ct. [at] 1955. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. at 556, 127 S.Ct. [at] 1955.”). Since a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion questions the legal sufficiency of a complaint, in assessing the merits of a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) motion, the court must assume all the factual allegations set forth in the complaint are true. See, e.g., United States v. Gaubert, 499 U.S. 315, 327, 111 S.Ct. 1267, 1276, 113 L.Ed.2d 335 (1991); Powell v. Lennon, 914 F.2d 1459, 1463 (11th Cir. 1990); but see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (“[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice. [Twombly, 550 U.S.] at 555, 127 S.Ct. [at] 1955.”). Moreover, all factual allegations are to be construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See, e.g., Brower v. County of Inyo, 489 U.S. 593, 598, 109 S.Ct. 1378, 1382, 103 L.Ed.2d 628 (1989). Obviously, therefore, a district court may not resolve factual disputes when adjudicating a motion to dismiss. Page v. Postmaster Gen. and Chief Exec. Officer of the U.S. Postal Serv., 493 Fed.Appx. 994, 995 (11th Cir. 2012) (citing, among other cases, Lawrence v. Dunbar, 919 F.2d 1525, 1529 (11th Cir. 1990) (indicating that, under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the existence of disputed material facts precludes a district court from granting a motion to dismiss)). “‘When considering a motion to dismiss . . . the court limits its consideration to the pleadings and all exhibits attached thereto.'” Thaeter v. Palm Beach Cty. Sheriff's Office, 449 F.3d 1342, 1352 (11th Cir. 2006) (quoting Grossman v. Nationsbank, N.A., 225 F.3d 1228, 1231 (11th Cir. 2000) (per curiam)); see also Reese v. Ellis, Painter, Ratterree & Adams, LLP, 678 F.3d 1211, 1215-16 (11th Cir. 2012) (“Because the Ellis law firm's dunning letter and enclosed documents were attached to the Reeses' complaint as an exhibit, we treat them as part of the complaint for Rule 12(b)(6) purposes.”).

         III. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

         Since the motion to dismiss and motion to remand both address the preemption of Plaintiffs' claims by the Carmack Amendment, the Court will first address Plaintiffs' motion to remand to analyze whether the Court has jurisdiction over this matter.

         A. Motion to Remand

          In Plaintiffs' motion to remand, they present in five (5) paragraphs different arguments in support of their motion, which the Court will address in turn. The Court notes Plaintiffs neither cite to any legal authority to support their arguments nor explain how their arguments address this Court's jurisdiction, [2] so the Court will construe their arguments to the best of its abilities. Additionally, insofar as Plaintiffs do not challenge this Court's subject matter jurisdiction, their motion to remand is untimely pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1447(c) because their motion was filed sixty- four (64) days after the notice ...


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