United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
HUGO SOTO and SHARON SOTO, individually and on behalf of similarly situated persons, Plaintiffs,
GREAT AMERICA LLC, d/b/a SIX FLAGS GREAT AMERICA and SIX FLAGS HURRICANE HARBOR, and DOES 1 to 20, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Dow, Jr. United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' motion  to
remand this case to state court. For the reasons stated
below, Plaintiffs' motion  is granted. The Clerk is
directed to remand this case to the Circuit Court of the
Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Lake County for further
proceedings. Plaintiffs' request for attorneys' fees
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) is denied.
August 5, 2017, Plaintiffs Hugo and Sharon Soto each used
their debit cards to purchase food five separate times at
Defendant's Six Flags theme park. [4, Ex. B (Compl.),
¶ 4.] For each of these transactions, Plaintiffs were
provided an electronically printed receipt that included the
first eight digits of their debit card numbers in addition to
the last four digits. [Id.]
days later, Plaintiffs filed a putative class action in
Illinois state court alleging that Defendant's provision
of these receipts constitutes a willful violation of 15
U.S.C. § 1681c(g)(1), a provision of the Fair Credit
Reporting Act (“FCRA”), as amended by the Fair
and Accurate Transactions Act of 2003 (“FACTA”).
[Id., ¶¶ 39-59.] The FACTA prohibits
printing more than the last five digits of a credit or debit
card number on an electronically printed receipt. 15 U.S.C.
§ 1681c(g)(1). Plaintiffs define their proposed class
as: “All persons whom at a Six Flags location within
the United States were provided an electronically printed
receipt at the point of sale that contained more than the
last five digits of their payment card's account number,
from a time period beginning two years prior to the filing of
this lawsuit until Six Flags stopped printing such
receipts.” [4, Ex. B (Compl.), ¶ 60.]
the harm suffered from Defendant's alleged FACTA
violation, Plaintiffs claim that they retained their August
5, 2017 receipts but that they have made food purchases from
Six Flags in the past and thrown those receipts away,
increasing the risk that their payment card information could
be compromised. Plaintiffs also allege that they lost time
reviewing receipts to determine whether Defendant was in
compliance with FACTA's truncation requirements.
[Id., ¶¶ 5-8, 48-50.] Plaintiffs do not
allege that their debit card information, or the personal
information of any putative class member, has actually been
compromised by Defendant's actions.
Plaintiffs filed their class action complaint in state court,
Defendant timely removed the case to federal court on the
basis of federal question jurisdiction and Class Action
Fairness Act jurisdiction. [See 4.] Plaintiffs responded by filed
a motion to remand the case to state court on the ground that
they lack Article III standing to proceed in federal court.
[See 7.] Plaintiffs' motion also requests attorneys'
fees pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
federal removal statute permits a defendant to remove a civil
action from state court when a district court has original
jurisdiction over the action.” Micrometl Corp. v.
Tranzact Techs., Inc., 656 F.3d 467, 470 (7th Cir. 2011)
(citing 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a)). The party invoking federal
jurisdiction has the burden of establishing that it exists.
See Schimmer v. Jaguar Cars, Inc., 384 F.3d 402, 404
(7th Cir. 2004) (a removing defendant must demonstrate
“reasonable probability” that subject-matter
jurisdiction exists). In evaluating whether to remand a case,
a plaintiff's choice of forum is presumed valid, and the
Court must resolve any doubts about jurisdiction in favor of
remand. See, e.g., Schur v. L.A. Weight Loss
Ctrs., Inc., 577 F.3d 752, 758 (7th Cir. 2009); Doe
v. Allied-Signal, Inc., 985 F.2d 908, 911 (7th Cir.
1993) (“Courts should interpret the removal statute
narrowly and presume that the plaintiff may choose his or her
forum.”); Schmude v. Sheahan, 198 F.Supp.2d
964, 966 (N.D. Ill. 2002) (“Generally, the removal
statute is strictly construed, with an eye towards limiting
makes three arguments in opposition to Plaintiffs'
motion. Defendant first argues that the Court should defer
determination of the motion until the Judicial Panel on
Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”) decides its
motion to consolidate this action with two other similar
federal lawsuits for coordinated pretrial proceedings. [18,
at 4-6.] This argument has been rendered moot because the
JPML denied Defendant's motion in February 2018. [See
also argues that dismissal, not remand, is appropriate here
if the Court agrees that Plaintiffs lack standing, because
remand to state court would be futile. [See 18, at 6-11.]
Finally, Defendant argues that if the motion to remand is
granted, Plaintiffs are not entitled to an award of
attorneys' fees. [Id., at 11-12.]
party disputes that federal jurisdiction is lacking in this
case because Plaintiffs do not have Article III standing to
assert their claims. “Standing is a threshold question
in every federal case because if the litigants do not have
standing to raise their claims the court is without authority
to consider the merits of the action.” Meyers v.
Nicolet Rest. of De Pere, LLC, 843 F.3d 724, 726 (7th
Cir. 2016) (quoting Freedom From Religion Found., Inc. v.
Zielke, 845 F.2d 1463, 1467 (7th Cir. 1988)); see also
Groshek v. Time Warner Cable, Inc., 865 F.3d 884,
886 (7th Cir. 2017) ...