United States District Court, D. Maryland
MICHAEL A. SCOTT, Plaintiff,
CRICKET COMMUNICATIONS, LLC, Defendant. MICHAEL A. SCOTT, Plaintiff,
CRICKET COMMUNICATIONS, LLC, Defendant.
L. Russell, III United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on several motions related to
Plaintiff Michael A. Scott’s putative class action
alleging Defendant Cricket Communications, LLC
(“Cricket”) violated the Magnuson-Moss Warranty
Act (“MMWA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 2301 et seq.
(2012). Scott filed Motions to Remand (ECF No. 15,
GLR-15-3330; ECF No. 18, GLR-15-3759) and a Motion to Strike
New Materials and Arguments or for Leave to File a Surreply
Addressing Them (ECF No. 30, GLR-15-3330). Cricket filed a
Motion to Compel Arbitration (ECF No. 20, GLR-15-3330),
Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, to Stay (ECF No.
16, GLR-15-3759), and Motion to Relate Case (ECF No. 16,
GLR-15-3330). All Motions are ripe for disposition.
reviewed the Motions and supporting documents, the Court
finds no hearing necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md.
2016). For the reasons outlined below, the Court will grant
the Motions to Remand and deny all other Motions as moot.
between July 2013 and March 2014, Scott purchased two Samsung
Galaxy S4 cellphones from Cricket that cost “hundreds
of dollars each.” (Class Action Compl. ¶¶ 26,
27, ECF No. 2, GLR-15-3330). The paperwork accompanying the
cellphones expressly stated that Cricket’s Code
Division Multiple Access (“CDMA”) network
provided “unsurpassed nationwide coverage.”
(Id. ¶ 28). Unbeknownst to Scott, however, at
least as early as July 2013, AT&T had acquired Cricket
and intended to shut down Cricket’s CDMA network and
switch previous Cricket customers to AT&T’s Global
Systems for Mobile (“GSM”) network. (Id.
¶ 5). Though Cricket knew the CDMA network would be shut
down, Cricket “locked” Scott’s cellphones
for use exclusively on Cricket’s CDMA network.
(Id. ¶ 7). This rendered Scott’s
cellphones “useless and worthless” and
“obsolete.” (Id. ¶¶ 1, 7, 8).
filed a putative Class Action Complaint on September 24, 2015
in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland
(“Scott I”). (ECF No. 2, GLR-15-3330). Scott
defines the class as “[a]ll Maryland citizens who,
between July 12, 2013 and March 13, 2014, purchased a CDMA
mobile telephone from Cricket which was locked for use only
on Cricket’s CDMA network.” (Class Action Compl.
¶ 51). Scott raises a single claim for violation of the
MMWA stemming from alleged breaches of express warranties and
the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a
particular purpose. (Id. ¶¶ 60-66).
October 30, 2015, Cricket removed Scott I to this Court. (ECF
No. 1, GLR-15-3330). On November 10, 2015, Scott filed a
Complaint Petitioning to Stay Threatened Arbitration in the
Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Maryland (“Scott
II”). (ECF No. 2, GLR-15-3759). On December 9, 2015,
Cricket removed Scott II to this Court. (ECF No. 1,
GLR-15-3759). On November 23, 2015, Scott filed a Motion to
Remand Scott I. (ECF No. 15, GLR-15-3330). On December 2,
2015, Cricket filed a Motion to Relate Scott I to Bond v.
Cricket Communications, LLC, No. WDQ-15-923 (D.Md.
stayed Jan. 12, 2016). (ECF No. 16, GLR-15-3330). On December
16, 2015, Cricket filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration (ECF
No. 20, GLR-15-3330) and Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, to Stay (ECF No. 16, GLR-15-3759). On December
21, 2015, Scott filed a Motion to Remand Scott II. (ECF No.
18, GLR-15-3759). Finally, on February 26, 2016, Scott filed
a Motion to Strike New Materials and Arguments or for Leave
to File a Surreply Addressing Them (ECF No. 30, GLR-15-3330).
All Motions are opposed.
A. Motions to Remand
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and “may not
exercise jurisdiction absent a statutory basis.”
Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545
U.S. 546, 552 (2005). Under the Class Action Fairness Act
(“CAFA”), federal courts have jurisdiction over a
class action when there is: (1) minimal diversity, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(d)(2)(A); (2) an aggregate amount in controversy
exceeding $5 million, exclusive of interest and costs, §
1332(d)(2); and (3) a class size greater than 100 persons,
is minimal diversity under CAFA when “any member of the
class is a citizen of a state different from the
defendant.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2)(A). In this
context, “residency is not sufficient to establish
citizenship.” Johnson v. Advance Am., 549 F.3d
932, 937 n.2 (4th Cir. 2008). Rather, “[t]o be a
citizen of a State, a person must be both a citizen of the
United States and a domiciliary of that State.”
Id. (citing Newman-Green, Inc. v.
Alfonzo-Larrain, 490 U.S. 826, 828 (1989)).
“Domicile requires physical presence, coupled with an
intent to make the State a home.” Id. (citing
Miss. Band of Choctaw Indians v. Holyfield, 490 U.S.
30, 48 (1989)). Factors relevant to determining an
individual’s domicile include “current residence;
voting registration and voting practices; location of
personal and real property; location of brokerage and bank
accounts; membership in unions; fraternal organizations,
churches, clubs, and other associations; place of employment
or business; driver’s license and automobile
registration; payment of taxes; as well as several
others.” Blake v. Arana, No. WQQ-13-2551, 2014
WL 2002446, at *2 (D.Md. May 14, 2014) (quoting Dyer v.
Robinson, 853 F.Supp. 169, 172 (D.Md. 1994)).
the Court typically construes removal jurisdiction strictly,
see Md. Stadium Auth. v. Ellerbe Becket Inc., 407
F.3d 255, 260 (4th Cir. 2005), there is no presumption in
favor of remand when cases are removed under CAFA, Dart
Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S.Ct.
547, 554 (2014). The “primary objective” of CAFA
is to “ensur[e] ‘[f]ederal court consideration of
interstate cases of national importance.” Standard
Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles,133 S.Ct. 1345, 1350 (2013)
(citation omitted). “CAFA’s ‘provisions
should be read broadly, with a strong preference that