United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
OPINION & ORDER
ALGENON L. MARBLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the Magistrate Judge's
November 9, 2018, Report and Recommendation
(ECF No. 12), which recommended that Plaintiffs' Motion
for Remand (ECF No. 4) be GRANTED. The Court
hereby ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation
in its entirety based on the independent consideration of the
is a former member of Plaintiff RRL Holding Company of Ohio,
LLC (“RRL”) and a former officer of Plaintiff
Firefly Agency LLC (f/k/a IHT Insurance Agency Group)
“Plaintiffs”). (ECF No. 2 at 2-3). In 2014,
Defendant was removed as president of Plaintiff Firefly and
as a member of Plaintiff RRL. (Id. at 2).
the removal of Defendant as President of Plaintiff Firefly
and as a member of Plaintiff RRL, the relationship between
Plaintiffs and Defendant has been what the Report and
Recommendation classified as “contentious and
litigious” (ECF No. 12 at 1). One facet of this
litigious relationship is the numerous amount of claims and
legal actions brought against Plaintiffs by Defendant.
Plaintiffs allege these claims and actions are a
“bad-faith litigation vendetta.” (ECF No. 2 at
3). As such, Plaintiffs requested this Court declare
Defendant to be a “vexatious litigator” under
Ohio Revised Code §2323.52. (ECF No. 2). The vexatious
litigator request is the only claim brought by Plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs' complaint, Defendant filed a Counterclaim and
Third-Party Complaint and Joinder of additional parties. (ECF
No. 3). Additionally, Defendant brought several state and
federal counterclaims against both Plaintiffs and other third
parties. (Id. at 31-52). Defendant then used these
counterclaims as the basis for filing a Notice of Removal,
explaining that the case involves federal questions: the
Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, and “Federal
Antitrust Laws.” (Id. at 3-4.)
then filed the instant Motion to Remand, to which Defendants
filed a memorandum contra and Plaintiffs filed a reply.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
objections to a Magistrate Judge's report and
recommendation and received on a dispositive matter, the
assigned district judge “must determine de
novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition
that has been properly objected to.” Fed. R. Civ. P
72(b)(3); see also 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).
After review, the district judge “may accept, reject,
or modify the recommended disposition; receive further
evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with
instructions.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); see also
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Here, Defendant has filed
specific objections to the Report and Recommendation, and
thus the Court reviews the properly objected portion of the
recommended disposition de novo. Additionally,
solely because Defendant is pro se, the Court will review
items that Defendant has improperly objected to via her
response to the Report and Recommendation. See Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
requesting removal to federal court, “the party seeking
removal bears the burden of demonstrating that the district
court has original jurisdiction.” Eastman v. Marine
Mech. Corp., 438 F.3d 544, 549 (6th Cir. 2006) (citation
omitted). When reviewing the appropriateness of removal, all
doubts as to whether removal is proper should be resolved in
favor of remand to state court. Coyne ex rel. Ohio v. Am.
Tobacco Co., 183 F.3d 488, 493 (6th Cir. 1999). Removal
based on a “federal question” jurisdiction
requires that the cause of action “aris[e] under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 1331. A cause of action “arises under
federal law only when the plaintiff's well-pleaded
complaint raises issues of federal law.” Metro.
Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 481 U.S. 58, 63 (1987). It is
“now settled law” that a case may not be removed
“on the basis of a federal defense, including the
defense of pre-emption, even if the defense is anticipated in
the plaintiff's complaint, and even if both parties
concede that the federal defense is the only question truly
at issue.” Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482
U.S. 386, 393 (1987).
LAW AND ANALYSIS
ask this Court to remand this case to state court based on
the well-pleaded complaint rule. Plaintiffs do not object to
any of the findings of the Magistrate Judge. Defendant
objects to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that there
is no federal question present. Defendant asserts that
application of the “artful pleading” doctrine
will show that despite Plaintiffs' alleged attempts at
concealing federal claims, such questions are present in
Plaintiffs' case. Defendant further asserts that
Plaintiffs' business actions constitute a violation of
anti-trust law, which is a federal matter, thus moving the
case into federal question jurisdiction. Defendant argues
that federal question jurisdiction is present because
Plaintiffs' claim is federal in nature. It appears that
these objections to the Report and Recommendation are
restatements of the arguments presented to the Magistrate
Judge in the first place. Such arguments are unclear and lack
Lack of ...