United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
SHELOR MOTOR MILE, INC. Plaintiff,
CHRISTY MEADE, et al., Defendants.
ORDER OF REMAND
Elizabeth K. Dillon United States District Judge
April 18, 2017, defendants Christy and Amanda Meade
(collectively the Meades) filed a notice of removal, removing
this action from Montgomery County General District Court.
(Dkt. No. 1.) The Meades maintained, despite a lack of proper
diversity or federal question jurisdiction, that removal was
proper under this court's supplemental jurisdiction.
Specifically, the Meades filed a counterclaim in this court
(Dkt. No. 2), and argued that the court could exercise
jurisdiction over plaintiff Shelor Motor Mile, Inc.'s
(Shelor) state court warrant in debt based on its connection
to the Meades' counterclaim.
April 20, United States District Judge Michael F. Urbanski,
to whom this case was then assigned,  issued an order to show
cause why this matter should not be remanded to Montgomery
County General District Court, noting that “the
supplemental jurisdiction statute [28 U.S.C. § 1367] is
not an independent source of removal jurisdiction.”
(Order Show Cause 3, Dkt. No. 3) (brackets in original)
(internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Vick v. Nash
Hosps., Inc., 756 F.Supp.2d 690, 693 (E.D. N.C. 2010)).
In response, the Meades raise two general reasons the court
should hear this action. (Dkt. No. 4.) First, they “ask
the [c]ourt not to remand due to the lack of objection by the
[p]laintiff.” (Id. at 2.) Second, “[t]he
general district court case is now nonsuited and dismissed
without prejudice in the Montgomery County General District
of these considerations compel or allow this court to
maintain jurisdiction over this action. Federal courts are
courts of limited jurisdiction. “The threshold question
in any matter brought before a federal court is whether the
court has jurisdiction to resolve the controversy
involved.” 17th Street Assocs., LLP v. Markel
Int'l Ins. Co., 373 F.Supp.2d 584, 591 (E.D. Va.
2005). A defendant may remove an action to a federal district
court if the plaintiff could have brought the action in
federal court originally. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). The
party seeking removal bears the burden of establishing
federal jurisdiction, and because removal jurisdiction raises
significant federalism concerns, the removal statute must be
strictly construed. Mulcahey v. Columbia Organic Chems.
Co., 29 F.3d 148, 151 (4th Cir. 1994). “If federal
jurisdiction is doubtful, a remand is necessary.”
importantly, “parties by consent cannot confer on
federal courts subject-matter jurisdiction beyond the
limitations imposed by Article III, § 2.”
Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n v.
Schor, 478 U.S. 833, 851 (1986). It is of no moment that
Shelor declined to object to the Meades' removal, nor
that the Montgomery County General District Court dismissed
Shelor's state court action without prejudice.
Subject matter jurisdiction is not a question that invites
the exercise of a court's discretion. Equity is not an
informing consideration . . . . Jurisdiction is an absolute;
it either exists, or it does not. If it does not, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(c) mandates remand to state court. See
Winnier v. Shoney's Inc., [No. 93-cv-39, ] 1993 WL
322977 (E.D. La. Aug. 16, 1993) (argument based on judicial
economy is “simply not responsive” to the issue
of remand, which is mandated when jurisdiction does not
Printworks, Inc. v. Dorn Co., 869 F.Supp. 436, 438
(E.D. La. 1994) (footnote omitted). This is why “[t]he
objection that a federal court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction … may be raised by a party, or by a court
on its own initiative, at any stage in the litigation, even
after trial and the entry of judgment.” Arbaugh v.
Y & H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 506 (2006) (citing
Meades offer sensible reasons why the court should exercise
its discretion to hear this case. However, the court is
powerless to expand its jurisdiction by discretion and is
required to remand this case to state court.
remand to state court, of course, is without prejudice to the
counterclaim filed by the Meades. They may proceed on their
counterclaim in state court or file a separate action in
the court hereby ORDERS that this action, Case No. 7:17cv144,
be REMANDED to the Montgomery County General District Court.
The clerk is directed to mail a certified copy of this order
of remand to the Clerk for the Montgomery County General
District Court. The clerk is further directed to strike this
case from the active docket of the court.
 The case was transferred to the
undersigned on May 12, 2017. (Dkt. No. 5.)
 The Meades also argue that, though
Shelor's original warrant in debt does not establish the
necessary $75, 000 dollar amount in controversy, “[t]he
counterclaim, however, demands more than $75, 000.”
(Dkt. No. 4 at 2.) This argument is unavailing because the
amount sought in the counterclaim is immaterial to whether
“the removed action contains a claim over which the
federal court has original jurisdiction.”
Vick, 756 F.Supp.2d at 690. The counterclaim was not
part of the original removed claim and cannot even be filed
in this court without a ...