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Citibank, N.A. v. Jackson

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina

March 21, 2017

CITITBANK, N.A., Plaintiff,
v.
GEORGE W. JACKSON, Defendant. GEORGE W. JACKSON, Counter-Plaintiff and Third-Party Plaintiff,
v.
HOME DEPOT U.S.A., INC., CAROLINA WATER SYSTEMS, INC., Third-Party Defendants.

          ORDER

          Graham C. Mullen United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Third-Party Defendant Home Depot's Motion to Realign the Parties (Doc. No. 14), Defendant, Counter-Plaintiff, and Third-Party Plaintiff George W. Jackson's Motion to Remand (Doc. No. 23), Jackson's Memorandum in Opposition to Motion to Realign the Parties (Doc. No. 27), Home Depot's Response to Motion to Remand (Doc. No. 35), Home Depot's Reply to Response to Motion to Realign the Parties (Doc. No. 37), and Jackson's Reply to Reponses to Motion to Remand (Doc. No. 38).

         1) Background

         Jackson was sued by Plaintiff and Counterclaim Defendant Citibank NA (“Citibank”) to collect an allegedly outstanding debt for a water filtration system purchased by Jackson from Home Depot and Counterclaim Defendant Carolina Water Systems (“CWS”). Jackson timely answered and asserted a Third Party class action complaint on August 26, 2016, alleging that Home Depot and CWS had a scheme of misleading customers about the alleged dangerousness of their water and subsequently selling them unnecessary water filtration systems. Jackson claims this scheme is an unfair and deceptive trade practice. Further, Jackson alleges Home Depot's and CWS's advertising and solicitation of water treatment system, offering free products and/or compensation to potential customers who agree to refer other purchasing customers, is a violation of North Carolina's Referral Sales Statute. G.S. § 25A-37. Citibank voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit without prejudice against Jackson on September, 232016.

         Counter-Plaintiff Jackson asserts claims on behalf of himself and “[a]ll persons in the state of North Carolina that entered into a Home Improvement Agreement with Home Depot for ‘water treatment' equipment.” Complaint, ¶ 46. Further, Counter-Plaintiff Jackson asserts claims on behalf of himself and “[a]ll persons in the state of North Carolina that purchased a Water Treatment System from Carolina Water Systems, Inc., during the Class Period.” Id.

         On October 28, 2016 Third-Party Defendant Home Depot filed a Motion to Realign the Parties. On November 8, 2016 Counter-Plaintiff Jackson filed a Motion to Remand. The analysis for these motions affect each other and so the Court's analysis handles both motions.

         2) Standard of Review

         28 U.S.C.A. § 1441, the general removal statute, 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 defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.” § 1441(a).

         CAFA expanded federal diversity jurisdiction by conferring original federal jurisdiction over class actions in which “any civil action in which the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $5, 000, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is a class action in which-(A) any member of a class of plaintiffs is a citizen of a State different from any defendant.” 28 U.S.C.A. § 1332(d)(2).

         Plus Congress added 28 U.S.C.A. § 1453(b), which says:

A class action may be removed to a district court of the United States in accordance with [28 U.S.C. § ] 1446 (except that the 1-year limitation under section 1446(b) shall not apply), without regard to whether any defendant is a citizen of the State in which the action is brought, except that such action may be removed by any defendant without the consent of all defendants.

         “We begin with the undergirding principle that federal courts, unlike most state courts, are courts of limited jurisdiction, created by Congress with specified jurisdictional requirements and limitations. Accordingly, a party seeking to adjudicate a matter in federal court must allege and, when challenged, must demonstrate the federal court's jurisdiction over the matter.” Strawn v. AT & T Mobility, 530 F.3d 293, 296 (4th Cir.2008) (citations omitted).

         3) ...


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