United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
TIFFANY BORQUE and FREDERICK KAROL, on behalf of themselves and a class of similarly situated Persons, Plaintiffs,
DAVID STANLEY DODGE, LLC, And ALLY FINANCIAL, INC., DAVID A. STANLEY, an individual BETH STANLEY, an individual, BRENT WILSON, an individual, SHANE DOWNS, an individual, TONY REASONER, an individual, JENNIFER RAY, an individual, Defendants.
L. RUSSELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand [Doc. 10].
Defendants responded [Doc. 13], and Plaintiffs replied [Doc.
15]. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiffs' Motion is
originally filed this suit against Defendants David Stanley
Dodge, LLC, and Ally Financial, Inc., in state court on July
6, 2016. [Doc. 1, Ex. 2]. After Plaintiffs filed their
Amended Petition and Motion to Certify a Class [Doc. 1, Ex.
3] on January 20, 2017 (thereby adding the remaining
Defendants), Defendants removed under 28 U.S.C. §
1441(a) [Doc. 1]. Maintaining federal question jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, Defendants pointed to
Plaintiffs' claims under the Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and the Truth in Lending Act
(TILA). Plaintiffs, however, have now notified Defendants
that they have dismissed these two federal claims.
Consequently, Plaintiffs have moved to remand. All of
Plaintiffs state law claims remain.
Plaintiffs seek to dismiss two claims rather than the entire
suit, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41 (governing dismissal
of actions) does not apply. See e.g., Pedroza v. Lomas
Auto Mall, Inc., 304 F.R.D. 307, 322 (“Rule 41(a)
refers to dismissing ‘an action, ' and not to
dismissing individual claims or causes of action.”) The
Court will therefore construe Plaintiffs' Notice of
Partial Dismissal [Doc. 10, Ex. 3] as a motion to amend
pursuant to Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Given that Plaintiffs' amended their Petition
in state court [See Doc. 1, Ex. 3], Rule 15(a)(2)
will allow them to amend their Complaint only with the
opposing parties' consent or the court's leave. Thus,
because Defendants have not consented, Plaintiffs may amend
only with the Court's permission.
15(a)(2) instructs courts that “leave [to amend] shall
be freely given when justice so requires.” The Supreme
Court has explained that determining whether granting leave
to amend would be just is best done by considering whether
there is (1) undue prejudice to the opposing party, (2) undue
delay, (3) bad faith or dilatory motive, and (4) futility of
amendment. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, 83
S.Ct. 227 (1962).
considering these factors, the Court finds that granting
Plaintiffs leave would be appropriate. First, Plaintiffs'
amendment will not unduly prejudice Defendants. This case is
in the early stages of litigation, and there is no reason to
think Defendants have spent considerable resources responding
to Plaintiffs' federal RICO or TILA claim. Second and on
the same note, this case's short existence suggests that
Plaintiffs have not unduly delayed in seeking to dismiss
their federal law claims. Third, there does not appear to be
any bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the
Plaintiffs. Granted, Plaintiffs might be seeking to avoid
federal court jurisdiction, but that alone will not suggest
bad faith. See, e.g, Shilling v. Nw. Mut. Life Ins.
Co., 423 F.Supp.2d 513, 518 (D. Md.2006) (finding no bad
faith in plaintiff's motion to remand despite it being
“an effort to destroy federal jurisdiction”). Nor
does the Court find amendment would be futile, since
“it paves the way for the Court to remand the
case.” Id. at 519.
after amendment, Plaintiffs' Complaint contains only
state-law claims. The Court thus has discretion to remand the
case. See, e.g., Farlow v. Wachovia Bank of North
Carolina, N.A., 259 F.3d 309, 316 (4th Cir. 2001)
(noting that in an earlier case “in which the federal
claims had been deleted from the complaint by the plaintiff,
before trial, following a removal from a state court, the
district court had the discretion to remand the pendent
state-law claims to the state court.”). It may do so by
declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the
remaining state-law claims, which it may do if the state-law
claims “substantially predominate over the claim or
claims over which the district court had original
jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c).
that is the case. As Plaintiffs themselves admit, their
claims against Defendants under both TILA and RICO are
meritless. Further, neither claim is necessary for
Plaintiffs' sought-after relief. Because the Court finds
that this case is wholly dominated by state law claims, it
declines to exercise jurisdiction and REMANDS this case to
the District Court of Oklahoma County.
Those claims include (1) fraud,
(2) fraud in the inducement, (3) misrepresentation, (4)
violations of the Oklahoma Uniform Commercial Code, (5)
breach of contract, (6) recission, (7) violations of the
Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act, (8) intentional infliction