United States District Court, D. Maryland
Lipton Hollander United States District Judge
Memorandum, I address defendants' motion to stay the
Court's Order (ECF 173) remanding this case to the
Circuit Court for Baltimore City. See ECF 173
("Remand Order"). Defendants seek the stay pending
resolution by the United States Court of Appeals for the
Fourth Circuit of their appeal of the Remand Order.
Defendants' motion (ECF 183) is supported by a memorandum
of law (ECF 183-1) (collectively, "Motion to
Stay"). Plaintiff the Mayor and City Council of
Baltimore (the "City"), opposes the Motion to Stay.
ECF 186. Defendants have replied. ECF 187.
hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion to Stay.
See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I
shall deny the Motion to Stay.
Factual and Procedural Background
20, 2018, the City filed suit in the Circuit Court for
Baltimore City against twenty-six multinational oil and gas
companies. ECF 42 (Complaint). The City alleges that
defendants have substantially contributed to greenhouse gas
pollution, global warming, and climate change by extracting,
producing, promoting, refining, distributing, and selling
fossil fuel products (i.e., coal, oil, and natural
gas), while simultaneously deceiving consumers and the public
about the dangers associated with those products.
Id. ¶¶ 1-8. As a result of such conduct,
the City claims that it has sustained and will sustain
several injuries, including a rise in sea level along
Maryland's coast, as well as an increase in storms,
floods, heatwaves, drought, extreme precipitation, and other
conditions. Id. ¶ 8.
Complaint contains eight causes of action, all founded on
Maryland law: public nuisance (Count I); private nuisance
(Count II); strict liability for failure to warn (Count III);
strict liability for design defect (Count IV); negligent
design defect (Count V); negligent failure to warn (Count
VI); trespass (Count VII); and violations of the Maryland
Consumer Protection Act, Md. Code (2013 Repl. Vol., 2019
Supp.), Com. Law §§ 13-101 to 13-501 (Count VIII).
ECF 42 ¶¶ 218-98. The City seeks monetary damages,
civil penalties, and equitable relief. Id.
the defendants, Chevron Corp. and Chevron U.S.A., Inc.
(collectively, "Chevron"), timely removed the case
to this Court. ECF 1 (Notice of Removal). They asserted the
following eight grounds for removal: (1) the case is
removable under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) and § 1331,
because the City's claims are governed by federal common
law, not state common law; (2) the action raises disputed and
substantial issues of federal law that must be adjudicated in
a federal forum; (3) the City's claims are completely
preempted by the Clean Air Act ("CAA"), 42 U.S.C.
§ 7401 et seq., and/or other federal statutes
and the Constitution; (4) this Court has original
jurisdiction under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
("OCSLA"), 43 U.S.C. § 1349(b); (5) removal is
authorized under the federal officer removal statute, 28
U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1); (6) this Court has federal question
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because the
City's claims are based on alleged injuries to and/or
conduct on federal enclaves; (7) removal is authorized under
28 U.S.C. § 1452(a) and 28 U.S.C. § 1334(b),
because the City's claims are related to federal
bankruptcy cases; and (8) the City's claims fall within
the Court's original admiralty jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1333. ECF 1 at 6-12, ¶¶ 5-12.
the City filed a motion to remand the case to state court,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). ECF 111. The motion was
supported by a memorandum of law (ECF 111-1) (collectively,
"Remand Motion"). Defendants filed a joint
opposition to the Remand Motion (ECF 124,
"Opposition"), along with three supplements
containing numerous exhibits. ECF 125; ECF 126; ECF 127. The
City replied. ECF 133.
the City's Remand Motion was pending, defendants filed a
conditional motion to stay the execution of any order to
remand. ECF 161. They asked that, in the event this Court
grants the City's Remand Motion, the Court issue an order
staying execution of the remand for thirty days to allow time
to appeal the ruling. Id. at 1-2. The City initially
opposed that motion (ECF 162), but subsequently stipulated to
the requested stay. ECF 170. This Court accepted the
parties' stipulation by Consent Order of April 22, 2019.
Memorandum Opinion (ECF 172) and Order (ECF 173) of June 10,
2019, 1 granted the City's Remand Motion. After
consideration of all eight bases for removal relied on by
defendants, I concluded that removal was improper.
See ECF 172. However, in accordance with the
parties' joint stipulation (ECF 170) and the Court's
prior Order (ECF 171), I stayed execution of the Remand Order
for thirty days. ECF 173.
13, 2019, defendants filed a Notice of Appeal of the Remand
Order to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth
Circuit. ECF 178. Then, on June 23, 2019, defendants filed
the Motion to Stay currently pending before this Court. ECF
183. Defendants ask this Court to stay execution of the
remand until their appeal is resolved by the Fourth Circuit,
arguing that their appeal "presents substantial legal
questions on which Defendants are likely to succeed."
ECF 183 ¶ 3. In the alternative, they ask the Court to
extend the current stay until this Court resolves their
Motion to Stay and, should the Court deny the Motion, until
the Fourth Circuit resolves the Motion to Stay. Id.
same day, the City stipulated to a partial extension of the
current stay. ECF 184. That is, the City agreed to stay the
execution of the remand "through and including this
Court's resolution of Defendants' Motion to Extend
the Stay Pending Appeal, and if that motion is denied,
through the resolution of Defendants' anticipated Motion
to Stay in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth
Circuit." ECF 184 at 2. This Court accepted the
parties' joint stipulation by Consent Order of June 24,
2019. ECF 185.
the City opposes the defendants' Motion to Stay pending
resolution of the merits of the appeal of the remand. ECF
186. It argues that defendants are unlikely to succeed on the
merits of the appeal, that defendants would not suffer
irreparable harm absent a stay, and that a stay would delay
resolution of its claims. Id. at 4-17.