United States District Court, D. Minnesota
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. Magnuson United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Remand. For the following reasons, the Motion is denied.
Bruni Media, LLC, and its two members, Samuel and Jenny
Bruni, brought this lawsuit in state court in Orange County,
California, alleging fraud, unfair trade practices, and other
claims arising out of Bruni Media's purchase of a company
called Click Media. Defendant AAPM Media Group, LLC, does
business as Click Media. The individual Defendants-Laureen
Carlsen, Stacia Goodman, Len Goodman, and Dede Antonelli-were
involved in the purchase negotiations. All individual
Defendants are citizens of Minnesota, and Laureen Carlsen and
Dede Antonelli are the only members of AAPM, making AAPM also
a citizen of Minnesota. Samuel and Jenny Bruni are residents
of California, and thus Bruni Media is also a citizen of
removed the action to the United States District Court for
the Central District of California, and then moved to
transfer or dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
(Docket No. 13.) The California court found that California
lacked personal jurisdiction over Defendants and transferred
the case to Minnesota. (Docket No. 23.) Plaintiffs now move
to remand to Minnesota state court, contending that the Court
lacks subject-matter jurisdiction. At the hearing, Plaintiffs
conceded that remand is unavailable because the case did not
originate in Minnesota state court, and instead asked that
the Court dismiss the matter without prejudice to allow
Plaintiffs to file it in Minnesota state court.
argue that the forum-defendant rule, which provides that a
case may not be removed to the federal court where even one
defendant resides, deprives this Court of subject-matter
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2); see also Ally
Bank v. Finstad, No. 18cv1920, 2018 WL 6267656, at *2
(D. Minn. Nov. 30, 2018) (Tostrud, J.). Because this case is
now in federal court in Minnesota, and all Defendants are
citizens of Minnesota, Plaintiffs contend that the Court is
counter that the forum-defendant rule applies only as of the
time of removal. Plaintiffs filed this case in California
state court, and Defendants removed the case to the federal
court for the Central District of California, which
transferred the case to Minnesota on Defendants' motion.
At the time of removal, the forum-defendant rule would not
have deprived the California federal court of jurisdiction.
forum-defendant rule provides that a defendant who “is
a citizen of the State in which such action is brought”
may not remove the case to the federal court in that state
based on diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2).
As another Judge in this District recently explained, this
rule means that “a defendant cannot remove to federal
court if he is a citizen of the state where the action was
originally filed.” Finstad, 2018 WL 6267656,
at *2. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has similarly made
this clear: “A defendant may not remove to federal
court on the basis of diversity if any of the defendants is a
citizen of the state where the action was filed.”
Hurt v. Dow Chem. Co., 963 F.2d 1142, 1145 (8th Cir.
rely on Finstad to support their argument that the
forum-defendant rule requires remand, but that case instead
supports Defendants' position. In Finstad, a
bank brought a collection action against Finstad, a resident
of North Dakota, in North Dakota state court.
Finstad, 2018 WL 6267656, at *1. Finstad removed the
action to federal court and filed a third-party complaint
against a Minnesota car dealer. Id. The car dealer
moved to dismiss, claiming that North Dakota lacked personal
jurisdiction over it. Id. Finstad did not respond to
the motion to dismiss but moved to transfer venue of the case
to the District of Minnesota. Id. The North Dakota
court granted the motion to transfer venue and found that the
motion to dismiss was moot. Id.
Court found that the initial removal of the case to the
District of North Dakota violated the forum-defendant rule.
Id. at *3. Because a violation of the
forum-defendant rule is a jurisdictional defect that may not
be waived, see Hurt, 963 F.2d at 1146, the Court
remanded the matter back to North Dakota state court.
Finstad, 2018 WL 6267656, at *3.
case, unlike in Finstad, there was no violation of
the forum-defendant rule at the time Defendants removed the
case to the Central District of California. Thus, the
forum-defendant rule does not apply, this Court has
jurisdiction over the matter, and the Motion is denied.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs'
Motion to ...