United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
HARRINGTON ENTERPRISES, INC., on behalf of itself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
SAFETY-KLEEN SYSTEMS, INC., Defendant
For Harrington Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Wayne Croy Car Center, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff: Matthew Lee Dameron, LEAD ATTORNEY, Williams Dirks Dameron LLC, Kansas City, MO; Norman Eli Siegel, LEAD ATTORNEY, Stueve Siegel Hanson, LLP, Kansas City, MO; Rodney E. Miller, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Birmingham, AL; Patrick C. Marshall, PRO HAC VICE, Birmingham, AL; Robert G. Methvin, Jr., PRO HAC VICE, McCallum, Methvin & Terrell, Birmingham, AL.
For Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc., Defendant: G. Lane Knight, PRO HAC VICE, Montgomery, AL; Gregory C. Cook, PRO HAC VICE, Birmingham, AL; Judd M Treeman, Husch Blackwell LLP - KCMO, Kansas City, MO; Michael S. Hargens, Husch Blackwell LLP, Kansas City, MO.
BETH PHILLIPS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
This case comes before the Court on Plaintiff Harrington Enterprises, Inc.'s Motion to Remand. (Doc. 13.) Harrington argues the amount in controversy in this putative class does not exceed the Class Action Fairness Act's (CAFA) $5 million jurisdictional threshold. Defendant Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc. opposes. Remand will be denied.
Harrington purchases industrial cleaning and waste removal services from Safety-Kleen. Safety-Kleen provides these services to Harrington and others pursuant to standardized form contracts. These contracts do not mention a " fuel surcharge," and Harrington asserts they do not contemplate Safety-Kleen charging and collecting such a fee.
Harrington filed a class-action petition in Missouri state court. (Petition, Doc. 1-1.) Harrington alleges Safety-Kleen's fuel surcharge is an unlawful profit-generating fee. Harrington asserts legal claims on behalf of two putative classes. The first class is a " Contract Class," defined as all persons and entities who paid a fuel surcharge after executing a written contract with Safety-Kleen. ( Id. at ¶ 10.) This class alleges breach of contract, and it seeks compensatory damages in an amount equal to the fees paid. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 29-32.) The second class is a " Consumer Class," defined as all individuals and entities who paid a fuel surcharge. (Petition at ¶ 11.) As is relevant here, this class alleges violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA). ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 33-35.) For this claim, Harrington seeks compensatory damages, attorney's fees, punitive damages, and injunctive relief. ( Id. at ¶ 35.)
Safety-Kleen removed this case based on CAFA jurisdiction. (Notice of Removal, Doc. 1.) Harrington now moves for remand.
" CAFA confers federal jurisdiction over class actions where, among other things, 1)
there is minimal diversity; 2) the proposed class contains at least 100 members; and 3) the amount in controversy is at least $5 million in the aggregate." Raskas v. Johnson & Johnson, 719 F.3d 884, 2013 WL 3198177, at *2 (8th Cir. 2013) (quotation omitted).
" A party seeking to remove under CAFA must establish the amount in controversy by a preponderance of the evidence[.]" Id. (alterations omitted). " [W]hen determining the amount in controversy, the question is not whether the damages are greater than the requisite amount, but whether a fact finder might legally conclude that they are." Id. (emphasis in original) (quotation omitted). A court determines the amount in controversy by aggregating the claims of all proposed class members. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(6); Marple v. T-Mobile Cent. LLC, 639 F.3d 1109, 1110 (8th Cir. 2011). Compensatory damages, punitive damages, and statutory attorney's fees all count towards ...