United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO
L. ROSENBERG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CAUSE is before the Court upon Plaintiffs'
Motion to Remand [DE 11]. The Court has carefully considered
Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand [DE 11] and Defendant's
Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand [DE 28] and is
otherwise fully advised in the premises. For the reasons set
forth below, the Court denies the Motion to Remand.
about June 10, 2016, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint for
negligence and medical negligence in the Circuit Court of the
Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County,
Florida. See DE 1-1 at 15. Plaintiffs' Complaint
was brought against Reprotech Ltd., South Florida Institute
for Reproductive Medicine, P.A., Jennifer Donnellan McCarthy,
MD., and UPS. UPS filed a timely Notice of Removal on October
10, 2016. Id. On January, 24, 2017, this Court
severed all Defendants other than UPS and remanded those
Defendants to the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit. Only UPS
remains as a defendant in this case.
Notice of Removal, UPS states that this Court has
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 28 U.S.C.
§ 1337 because Plaintiffs' Complaint alleges a
violation of state law which is preempted under the Federal
Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994
(“FAAAA”) and therefore federal law exclusively
governs. Having reviewed Plaintiffs' Complaint, the Court
removal jurisdiction raises significant federalism concerns,
federal courts are directed to construe removal statutes
strictly.” Univ. of S. Alabama v. Am. Tobacco
Co., 168 F.3d 405, 411 (11th Cir. 1999) (citing
Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S.
100, 108-09 (1941)). “Indeed, all doubts about
jurisdiction should be resolved in favor of remand to state
court.” Id. (citing Burns v Windsor Ins.
Co., 31 F.3d 1092, 1095 (11th Cir. 1994)).
federal question jurisdiction exists is determined by the
‘well-pleaded complaint rule, ' which provides
whether a case ‘arises under' federal law
‘must be determined from what necessarily appears in
the plaintiff's statement of his own claim.'”
Bankunited v. Blum, No. 14-81232-CIV, 2015 WL
328241, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 26, 2015) (quoting Homes
Group, Inc. v. Vorando Air Circulation Systems, Inc.,
535 U.S. 826, 830 (2002)).
Complaint contains one count against UPS, which facially does
not “arise under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of
the United States.” Plaintiffs' count against UPS
is a negligence claim related to its handing of
Plaintiffs' cryopreserved embryos.
support for its contention that Plaintiffs' Complaint is
preempted by federal law, UPS points to the FAAAA (49 U.S.C.
§§ 14501(c)(1) and 41713(b)(4)), which preempts
state laws that are related to the price, route or service of
an air carrier or carrier affected with a direct air carrier
when the carrier is transporting property by aircraft or by
motor vehicle. 49 U.S.C. § 41713(b)(4). While the FAAAA
does not preempt every state law relating to the
transportation of goods, negligence claims have been found to
be preempted if the claim is related to the carrier's
prices, routes or services. Deerskin Trading Post, Inc.
v. United Parcel Service of America, Inc., 972 F.Supp.
665, 671-673 (N.D.Ga. 1997) (citing American Airlines,
Inc. v. Wolens, 513 U.S. 219, 228-29 (1995)). Courts
have concluded that negligence claims are preempted by the
FAAAA because the term “transportation, ” under
the FAAAA, has been interpreted to include the storage and
handling of goods when those services are “related to
the movement” of property. Dan's City Used
Cars, Inc. v. Pelkey, 133 S.Ct 1769, 1778 (2013); 49
U.S.C. § 41713(b)(4). Here, Plaintiffs' Complaint asserts
a negligence claim for the mishandling and damage of the
cryopreserved embryos during their transportation to a
storage facility. UPS's handling and storage of the
embryos relates to their transportation from one location to
another which causes Plaintiffs' claim against UPS to
fall within the scope of the FAAAA.
argue that the FAAAA does not apply to its negligence claim
because the shipment of the embryos in this case was
intrastate and the FAAAA does not preempt intrastate
shipments. However, the only explicit exemption applicable to
this case under the FAAAA is “…the
transportation of household goods, as defined in section
13102 of this title.” 49 U.S.C. § 41713(b)(4)(2).
The term “household goods” means “personal
effects and property used or to be used in a dwelling, when a
part of the equipment or supply of such dwelling, and similar
property if the transportation of such effects or property is
. . . paid for by the householder, except property moving
from a factory . . . or arranged and paid for by another
party.” 49 U.S.C. § 13102(10). As there is no case
law further defining “household goods” or
defining cryopreserved embryos it can be assumed based on the
plain meaning of each term that embryos are not considered a
household item. Furthermore, the Defendant points to the fact
that 49 U.S.C. § 14501(c)(1) is titled “Federal
Authority over Intrastate Transportation” which implies
the statute is meant to apply to intrastate transportation.
state law negligence claim against UPS is preempted under the
FAAAA because the handling of the embryos during their
movement across Florida is related to the “price, route
or service” of UPS's transportation of those items.
Plaintiffs' argument that the FAAAA only applies to
interstate shipments is without merit because case law and
statutory interpretation support the conclusion that the
FAAAA was intended to apply to intrastate as well as
interstate shipping unless otherwise exempted. For the
reasons set forth above, the Court denies the Motion to
Remand [DE 11].