United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Rebecca
Alexander's Motion to Remand. Dkt. #10. Ms. Alexander
points out that, although this case was removed under federal
question jurisdiction, see Dkt. #1, her Complaint
“does not allege any federal cause of action” and
“specifically asserts her causes of action, including
any related to disability, are not based on federal
law.” Dkt. #10 at 6 (citing Dkt. #1-1 at 22-31).
Response, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's Complaint: a)
references the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”) by noting that Washington State courts
are required to accommodate her disabilities; b) alleges that
Defendants actions caused her to become permanently disabled;
and c) cites “to a recent Bankruptcy Court decision
awarding punitive damages under federal law against Bank of
America.” Dkt. #14 at 2. Defendants state that
Plaintiff's state court Motion for Temporary Restraining
Order posited the issue “[s]hould this Court order that
Alexander be required to pay no bond, or a nominal bond, as
an accommodation under the ADA…?” Id.
at 3 (citing Dkt. #2-1 at 8). Defendants argue that, although
Plaintiff fails to bring any federal claims, “a federal
court has jurisdiction of a state-law claim if it
‘necessarily raise[s] a stated federal issue, actually
disputed and substantial, which a federal forum may entertain
without disturbing any congressionally approved balance'
of federal and state power.” Id. at 4 (citing
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v.
Manning, 136 S.Ct. 1562, 1570, 194 L.Ed.2d 671 (2016)).
Defendants also cite to the “artful pleading”
doctrine, which provides that a plaintiff “may not
avoid federal jurisdiction by omitting from the complaint
allegations of federal law that are essential to the
establishment of the claim.” Lippitt v. Raymond
James Fin. Servs., 340 F.3d 1033, 1041 (9th Cir. 2003)
(internal quotation marks omitted). Defendants argue that
Plaintiff's Complaint “necessarily raise[s] issues
under the ADA that are actually disputed, substantial, and
capable of resolution in federal court without disrupting the
federal-state balance approved by Congress.” Dkt. #14
at 5. Defendants dispute having violated the ADA.
Reply, Plaintiff again points out that she did not raise the
ADA as a claim against Defendants, but simply
“notifie[d] the Snohomish County Superior Court  that
it must follow those requirements imposed on it by…
the ADA.” Dkt. #17 at 2. Plaintiff argues that
“Defendants cite no authority supporting the
proposition that mere mention of the word
‘disability' in a state tort cause of action allows
this Court to jump in and take over.” Id. at
case is filed in state court, removal is typically proper if
the complaint raises a federal question or where there is
diversity of citizenship between the parties and the amount
in controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331,
1332(a). Typically, it is presumed “‘that a cause
lies outside [the] limited jurisdiction [of the federal
courts] and the burden of establishing the contrary rests
upon the party asserting jurisdiction.'” Hunter
v. Philip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir.
2009) (quoting Abrego v. Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d
676, 684 (9th Cir. 2006) (per curiam) (citing
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994)) (alterations in original). An order
remanding the case may require payment of just costs and any
actual expenses, including attorney fees, incurred as a
result of the removal. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). The removal
statutes are construed restrictively, and any doubts about
removability are resolved in favor of remanding the case to
state court. Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566
(9th Cir. 1992).
Court finds that Plaintiff does not plead a federal cause of
action and there is not otherwise a basis for federal
question jurisdiction. Plaintiff's references to the ADA
in pleading and briefing refer to the state court's
obligations, not a claim against Defendants. Plaintiff's
allegation that Defendants' actions caused her to become
disabled does not create an implicit ADA claim. Given the
above standards presuming limited jurisdiction, the Court
finds that Defendants have failed to meet their burden for
showing this Court's jurisdiction.
reviewed the relevant pleadings, the declarations and
exhibits attached thereto, and the remainder of the record,
the Court hereby finds and ORDERS that:
Plaintiff Rebecca Alexander's Motion to Remand (Dkt. #10)
Plaintiff is entitled to fees and costs under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(c). No later than ten (10) days from the date of
this Order, Plaintiff may file a Supplemental Motion for
Attorneys' Fees, noted pursuant to LCR 7(d), and limited
to six (6) pages and supported by documentary evidence
reflecting the amount of fees and costs sought. Plaintiffs
may file a Response addressing only the reasonableness of the
fees and costs requested, and limited to six (6) pages. No
Reply is permitted.
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. #12) is DENIED AS
case is hereby REMANDED to the Superior Court of Washington
State in ...