United States District Court, D. Maryland
ANTHONY McFARLAND, On Behalf of Himself and All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff,
CAPITAL ONE, N.A., d/b/a Capital One Auto Finance, Defendant.
THEODORE D. CHUANG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Anthony McFarland has filed a putative class action against
Defendant Capital One, N.A. ("Capital One") in the
Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland,
alleging that in financing the purchase of vehicles, Capital
One has charged and collected convenience fees in violation
of state law. After Capital One removed the case to federal
court, this Court granted McFarland's Motion to Remand
and ordered the case remanded to state court. Capital One has
since appealed this ruling to the United States Court of
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Pending before this Court is
Capital One's Motion to Stay Pending Appeal. ECF No. 37.
For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Stay will be
Court set forth the factual background of this case in its
Memorandum Opinion of May 31, 2019, see McFarland v.
Capital One, N.A., No. TDC-18-2148, 2019 WL 2330872, at
*1 (D. Md. May 31, 2019), and so recounts here only those
facts relevant to the pending Motion. In that opinion, the
Court held that although Capital One had removed this case to
federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act
("CAFA"), 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d) (2018), the case
did not meet CAFA's minimum amount-in-controversy
requirement, such that the Court lacked subject matter
jurisdiction over it. McFarland, 2019 WL 2330872, at
*3. After the Court remanded the case to state court, Capital
One filed a petition in the United States Court of Appeals
for the Fourth Circuit, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1453(c),
seeking leave to appeal this Court's remand order. The
Fourth Circuit has since "opened a new civil appeal and
consolidated Capital One's Petition with briefing on the
merits of the appeal." Mot. Stay at 4, ECF No. 37-1.
Capital One now seeks a stay of this Court's remand order
until the Fourth Circuit decides its appeal.
preliminary matter, the Court notes that on September 4,
2019, Capital One filed a reply brief on the Motion. On July
17, 2019, however, after a case management conference during
which Capital One agreed that no reply brief was necessary,
the Court issued an Order setting the briefing schedule and
stating, "There shall be no reply." Order at 1, ECF
No. 38. Where Capital One filed its reply brief in violation
of this Order and made no effort to seek either an amendment
of that Order or leave to file a reply brief notwithstanding
the Order, the Court will strike Capital One's reply
outset, Capital One asserts that this Court has jurisdiction
to issue a stay of its remand order. Although McFarland does
not contest this claim, federal courts have an independent
responsibility to ensure that they have jurisdiction before
proceeding to the merits. See Steel Co. v. Citizens for a
Better Environment, 523 U.S. 83, 94 (1998). The Court
thus begins by addressing whether it has jurisdiction to stay
a remand order in the first place.
federal jurisdiction ends once a case is remanded to state
court. Three J Farms, Inc. v. Alton Box Bd. Co., 609
F.2d 112, 115 (4th Cir. 1979). Because remand orders are
generally not appealable, see 28 U.S.C. §
1447(d), issuing such an order ends the involvement of the
federal courts and allows the state court to assume control
over the case, id. § 1447(c). Consequently,
federal district courts divest themselves of jurisdiction
over a case by issuing a remand order and mailing it to the
relevant state court. Shapiro v. Logistec USA Inc.,
412 F.3d 307, 312 (2d Cir. 2005).
CAFA makes this general rule inapplicable to orders remanding
class actions to state courts. It carves these orders out of
§ 1447(d)'s appellate prohibition and expressly
grants jurisdiction to federal courts of appeals to hear
appeals of class action remand orders. 28 U.S.C. §
1453(c). Because such a remand order does not necessarily end
the involvement of the federal courts, courts have generally
found that federal district courts retain jurisdiction to
stay their remand orders pending appeals of those orders.
See, e.g., Morgan v. Gay, 471 F.3d 469, 471 (3d Cir.
2006) (noting that the district court granted a motion to
stay an order to remand a class action); Manier v.
Medtech Prods., Inc., 29 F.Supp.3d 1284, 1287 (S.D. Cal.
2014) ("The Court finds that it is appropriate for the
Court to address a motion to stay pending appeal of a remand
order as Congress has specifically allowed these remand
orders to be appealable."); Coffey v.
Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold, Inc., No.
08-0640-HE, 2009 WL 10672022, *l-2 (W.D. Okla. May 8, 2009)
(finding that because CAFA authorizes appellate review of a
remand order, the district court had authority to stay the
remand order). The Court therefore holds that it has
jurisdiction to stay its remand order pending appeal.
Motion to Stay
fact that this Court has the power to stay its remand order
does not mean that Capital One is entitled to such a stay.
"A stay is not a matter of right," but rather is
"an exercise of judicial discretion," the propriety
of which "is dependent upon the circumstances of the
particular case." Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418,
433 (2009) (citation omitted). As both parties agree, the
issuance of a stay is subject to four separate requirements:
(1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing of a
likelihood of success on the merits; (2) whether the
applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3)
whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the
other parties; and (4) whether a stay is in the public
interest. Id. at 434. The party seeking the stay has
the burden to establish that each factor has been met.
Id. at 433-34 (citation omitted).