United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
L. ALONSO United States District Judge.
Shawntell Frye's motion  to remand is granted.
Plaintiff Barbara Busch's motion  to remand is
granted. Plaintiff Diane Thompson's motion  to remand
is granted. Plaintiff Sharon Wildman's motion  to
remand is granted. Plaintiff Kevin Carter's motion 
to remand is granted.
other pending motions in these cases are denied as moot. All
pending dates in these cases are stricken. These cases shall
be remanded to the Circuit Court of Cook County, Law
apparent attempt to avoid the federal jurisdiction conferred
by the Class Action Fairness Act (28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)),
which requires only minimal diversity (at least one plaintiff
diverse from at least one defendant), plaintiffs'
attorneys have filed dozens of single-plaintiff cases
alleging the same claims against defendant Johnson &
Johnson and (here in Illinois at least) have added as a
defendant Walgreen Co., which, like each plaintiff, is a
citizen of Illinois.
removed these three cases to this court, arguing that
plaintiffs fraudulently joined Walgreen Co. in order to
defeat diversity jurisdiction, which requires that every
plaintiff be diverse from every defendant.
so many of these single-plaintiff cases against Johnson &
Johnson have been filed, many have been transferred to the
District of New Jersey by the Panel on Multi-District
Litigation. The Panel has issued and stayed a Conditional
Transfer Order (“CTO”) with respect to Shawntell
Frye's case but has not issued a CTO as to the other
cases. In any event, a CTO does not affect the jurisdiction
of this Court to consider a motion for remand. See Multi
District Rules of Procedure 2.1(d) (“The pendency
of a conditional transfer order . . . does not affect or
suspend orders and pretrial proceedings in any pending
federal district court action and does not limit the pretrial
jurisdiction of that court.”); Illinois Mun.
Ret't Fund v. Citigroup, Inc., 391 F.3d 844, 852
(7th Cir. 2004) (“We are satisfied . . . that [a
district court] does not [exceed its authority] when it rules
on its own jurisdiction. . . . We will not require a district
court that believes it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over
a case to facilitate a transfer under §1407, a statute
that does not itself confer jurisdiction.”).
argue that these cases should be remanded, because defendant
Walgreen Co. and plaintiffs are citizens of the same state.
Defendant argues that plaintiffs fraudulently joined Walgreen
Co. (against whom defendants believe plaintiffs will not
succeed) solely to defeat jurisdiction.
Seventh Circuit has explained:
Like many legal doctrines, ‘fraudulent joinder' is
misnamed, since . . . proof of fraud, though sufficient, is
not necessary for retention of federal jurisdiction-all
that's required is proof that the claim against the
non-diverse defendant is utterly groundless, and as a
groundless claim does not invoke federal jurisdiction.
Walton v. Bayer Corp., 643 F.3d 994, 999 (7th Cir.
2011) (emphasis added) (citing Hagans v. Lavine, 415
U.S. 528, 536-37 (1974); McCurdy v. Sheriff of Madison
Cty, 128 F.3d 1144, 1145 (7th Cir. 1997) (“A
frivolous suit does not engage the jurisdiction of the
argue plaintiffs will not succeed against Walgreen Co., which
has already filed motions to dismiss outlining the reason why
plaintiffs' complaints fail to state a claim against
Walgreen Co. That is not enough. Defendants must show not
just that plaintiffs fail to state a claim but also that
plaintiffs' claims are utterly groundless such that they
do not engage the jurisdiction of federal courts. Defendants
have not attempted to do so. In a very similar case, Judge
St. Eve carefully considered each of the plaintiffs'
claims against Walgreen Co. and concluded defendants had
failed to show plaintiffs had no reasonable chance of
success. Harris v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 17 C
2889, docket , slip op. at 5 (N.D. Ill. May 30, 2017).
Defendants have not attempted to distinguish Harris,
and the Court agrees with the reasoning in that case.
the Court grants plaintiffs' motions for remand.