Defendants Avoid Sanctions For Improper Removal Because Plaintiff’s Complaint Was Vague

Lundahl v. Home Depot, Inc., Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit 2014 – Google Scholar.

The plaintiff sued Home Depot, Citibank and three credit reporting agencies alleging that she “received an incorrect refund on her Home Depot credit card, which is issued by Citibank.” Plaintiff did not serve, and later voluntarily dismissed, the credit reporting agencies.

Home Depot and Citibank removed the case alleging that the complaint included two federal claims: (a) claims that plaintiff had been charged interest on her credit card in violation of ‘the federal and state usury laws,'” and (b) plaintiff had alleged willful violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681.

Plaintiff moved to remand arguing that the sole claims asserted against the defendants was a violation of Wyoming law and claimed that the FCRA claim was only asserted against the rating agencies who were no longer parties to the case.

The district court remanded the case to state court. Plaintiff then sought Rule 11 sanctions for the removal. The district court denied the sanctions motion and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

The Court of Appeals explained: “Here, the district court determined that its decision to remand was a “close call,” and that it could “certainly see the basis” for Defendants’ removal, particularly given the deficiencies and generalities in Ms. Lundahl’s complaint. Hr’g Tr. at 7-9. Based upon our review of the record, we see no abuse of the district court’s discretion to deny Ms. Lundahl’s request for sanctions.”

Edward X. Clinton, Jr.

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