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Bolier & Co., LLC v. Decca Furniture (USA), Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division

September 19, 2014

BOLIER & COMPANY, LLC AND CHRISTIAN G. PLASMAN, Plaintiffs,
v.
DECCA FURNITURE (USA), INC., DECCA CONTRACT FURNITURE, LLC, RICHARD HERBST, WAI THENG TIN, TSANG C. HUNG, DECCA FURNITURE LTD., DECCA HOSPITALITY FURNISHINGS, LLC, DECCA FURNITURE CO. LTD., DONGGUAN DECCA FURNITURE CO. LTD., DARREN HUDGINS, AND DECCA HOME, Defendants. DECCA FURNITURE (USA), INC., Third Party-Plaintiff,
v.
CHRISTIAN J. PLASMAN A/K/A BARRETT PLASMAN, Third-Party Defendant

For Bolier & Company, LLC, Christian G. Plasman, Plaintiffs, Counter Claimants: Matthew KyleRogers, LEAD ATTORNEY, Hickory, NC.

For Decca Furniture (USA), Inc., Defendant: Andrew D. Atkins, Robert Locke Beatty, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Robert Ashley Muckenfuss, McGuireWoods LLP, Charlotte, NC; Elizabeth M. Z. Timmermans, McGuireWoods, LLP, Raleigh, NC.

For Decca Contract Furniture, LLC, Richard Herbst, Defendants: Andrew D. Atkins, Jennie Cordis Boswell, Robert Locke Beatty, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Robert Ashley Muckenfuss, McGuireWoods LLP, Charlotte, NC; Elizabeth M. Z. Timmermans, McGuireWoods, LLP, Raleigh, NC.

For Decca Hospitality Furnishings, LLC, Defendant: Elizabeth M. Z. Timmermans, LEAD ATTORNEY, McGuireWoods, LLP, Raleigh, NC; Robert Ashley Muckenfuss, LEAD ATTORNEY, McGuireWoods LLP, Charlotte, NC.

For Wai Theng Tin, Defendant: Robert Ashley Muckenfuss, LEAD ATTORNEY, McGuireWoods LLP, Charlotte, NC.

For Darren Hudgins, Defendant: Elizabeth M. Z. Timmermans, LEAD ATTORNEY, McGuireWoods, LLP, Raleigh, NC; Robert Locke Beatty, Robert Ashley Muckenfuss, LEAD ATTORNEYS, McGuireWoods LLP, Charlotte, NC.

For Decca Furniture (USA), Inc., Richard Herbst, Decca Contract Furniture, LLC, ThirdParty Plaintiffs, Counter Claimants, Counter Defendants: Elizabeth M. Z. Timmermans, LEAD ATTORNEY, McGuireWoods, LLP, Raleigh, NC; Jennie Cordis Boswell, LEAD ATTORNEY, Robert Ashley Muckenfuss, McGuireWoods LLP, Charlotte, NC.

For Christian J. Plasman, ThirdParty Defendant, Counter Claimant: Matthew Kyle Rogers, LEAD ATTORNEY, Hickory, NC.

For Christian G. Plasman, Counter Defendant: Matthew Kyle Rogers, LEAD ATTORNEY, Hickory, NC.

For Decca Furniture (USA), Inc., ThirdParty Plaintiff: Jennie Cordis Boswell, LEAD ATTORNEY, Robert Ashley Muckenfuss, McGuireWoods LLP, Charlotte, NC; Elizabeth M. Z. Timmermans, McGuireWoods, LLP, Raleigh, NC.

Page 492

ORDER

Richard L. Voorhees, United States District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Bolier & Company (" Bolier" ) and Christian G. Plasman (" Plasman" ) (collectively " Plaintiffs" ) Motion and Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand to Catawba County Superior Court filed March 20, 2014. (Docs. 123, 124). Defendants Decca Furniture (USA), Decca Contract Furniture, LLC, Richard Herbst, Decca Hospitality Furnishings, LLC, Wai Theng Tin, and Darren Hudgins

Page 493

filed their Response in Opposition on April 7, 2014 (Doc. 128), to which Plaintiffs filed a reply on April 17, 2014 (Doc. 130).

Also before the Court is Defendants Decca Furniture (USA), Inc., Decca Contract Furniture, LLC, Richard Herbst, and Darren Hudgin's Motion and Memorandum of Law in Support of a Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint filed January 24, 2014. (Doc. 111). Defendant Decca Hospitality Furnishings, LLC filed a Motion to Dismiss on February 4, 2014 incorporating by reference the memorandum filed January 24, 2014. (Doc. 113). Plaintiffs filed their Response to the January 24, 2014 Motion to Dismiss on February 24, 2014. (Doc. 118). Plaintiffs filed their Response to the February 4, 2014 Motion to Dismiss on March 20, 2014. (Doc. 125). Defendant Decca Hospitality Furnishings, LLC filed a Reply on March 31, 2014. (Doc. 126). Defendant Wai Theng Tin filed its Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim on March 17, 2014. (Doc. 122). Plaintiffs filed a Reply on March 31, 2014. (Doc. 126). Defendant Wai Theng Tin filed its Response on April 14, 2014. (Doc. 129).

The matter is now ripe for disposition.

ANALYSIS

Plaintiffs contend that remand is required because this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the case. Defendants argue that subject matter jurisdiction is proper and that remand is not required in circumstances where Plaintiffs' claims related to common law copyrights are preempted by § 301(a) of the Copyright Act.

The case was removed under federal question jurisdiction and there are no allegations of diversity of citizenship. (Doc. 1, Ex. 2). Therefore, the Court will determine whether federal question jurisdiction exists. Mulcahey v. Columbia Organic Chems. Co., Inc., 29 F.3d 148, 151 (4th Cir. 1994). Defendant's Notice of Removal indicated that the basis for this Court's jurisdiction is grounded in the copyright allegations in the Complaint. (Doc. 1, ¶ ¶ 8-9).

Plaintiffs' Complaint (Doc. 1, Ex. A., ¶ ¶ 192-201) and Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint (" FAC" ) (Doc. 101, ¶ ¶ 281-291) contain allegations and claims for relief regarding copyright infringement.

The removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441, provides that " any civil action brought in a state court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the . . . defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending." " [W]here federal law creates the cause of action, the courts of the United States unquestionably have federal subject matter jurisdiction." Mulcahey, 29 F.3d at 151. Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over copyright claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1338(a).

Normally the well-pleaded complaint rule governs whether or not a federal question is present and a preemption defense will not allow removal. However, " [t]he jurisdictional doctrine of complete preemption . . . provide[s] a basis for federal jurisdiction: where 'Congress so completely preempt[s] a particular area that any civil complaint raising this select group of claims is necessarily federal in character.'" Sonoco Prods. Co. v. Physicians Health Plan, Inc., 338 F.3d 366, 371 (4th Cir. 2003) (quoting Darcangelo v. Verizon Commc'ns, Inc., 292 F.3d 181, 187 (4th Cir. 2002)). The doctrine of complete preemption recognizes that " ...


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