United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
SHERIPOLSTER CHAPPELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff Paula Damaso's Motion to Remand
(Doc. 19) and Defendant Costco Wholesale Corporation's
response in opposition (Doc. 25). The parties also replied
and surreplied. (Docs. 30; 31). For these reasons, the Court
grants the Motion (Doc. 19) and sends the case back to state
a case about buying underwear at Costco. (Doc. 4). More
specifically, the issue is whether Costco's labeling
practices violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade
Practices Act (“FDUTPA”). (Doc. 4 at 5-6).
bought two packs of boxer briefs at Costco. (Doc. 4 at 2).
According to the visible label, the boxers were “96%
Pima Cotton.” (Doc. 4 at 2). After leaving the store,
Damaso became suspicious of the boxers. (Doc. 4 at 3). So she
sent them to a lab for fiber testing. (Doc. 4 at 3). Then
came a shocking revelation-the boxers did not contain 96%
Pima Cotton. (Doc. 4 at 3). To be Pima, the cotton fibers
must be a certain length. (Doc. 4-4 at 4). And expert reports
confirmed many of the boxers' fibers were too short to
meet Pima Cotton standards. (Doc. 4-4 at 13-15, 28-30). In
brief, the boxers contained a smaller percentage of Pima
Cotton than advertised. (Doc. 4 at 3-4).
Complaint alleges one count of FDUTPA deceptive labeling.
(Doc. 4 at 5-6). While this is a state-law claim, Costco
removed from state court under federal-question jurisdiction.
(Doc. 1). Now, Damaso wants to go back. (Doc. 19).
defendant may remove a case from state court when the federal
court has original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
The burden rests on the removing defendant to show federal
jurisdiction. Leonard v. Enter. Rent a Car, 279 F.3d
967, 972 (11th Cir. 2002). If a federal court lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction, it must remand straightaway. 28
U.S.C. § 1447(c). Removal “raises significant
federalism concerns”; thus, courts interpret removal
statutes strictly and resolve all jurisdictional doubts in
favor of remand. Univ. of S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco
Co., 168 F.3d 405, 411 (11th Cir. 1999).
courts have limited jurisdiction, wielding “only that
power authorized by Constitution and statute.”
E.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Of course, Congress
authorized federal-question jurisdiction, which applies to
“all civil actions arising under the Constitution,
laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. Cases arise under federal law in one of two
ways. Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251, 257 (2013). A
“vast majority” of federal-question cases rest on
causes of action created by federal law. Merrell Dow
Pharm. Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 808 (1986). The
second manner is less known.
state-law claims may arise under federal law. Grable
& Sons Metal Prods., Inc. v. Darue Eng'g
& Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 312-13 (2005). The Supreme
Court called this “a ‘special and small
category' of cases in which arising under jurisdiction
still lies” despite the lack of a federal cause of
action. Gunn, 568 U.S. at 258 (quoting Empire
Healthchoice Assurance, Inc. v. McVeigh, 547
U.S. 677, 699 (2006)). This niche of jurisdiction can be
confusing. Id. (surveying a canvas of case law which
“looks like one that Jackson Pollock got to
first”). Still, the Supreme Court provides guidance.
That is, federal jurisdiction over a state law claim will lie
if a federal issue is: (1) necessarily raised, (2) actually
disputed, (3) substantial, and (4) capable of resolution in
federal court without disrupting the federal-state balance
approved by Congress.
Id. (citing Grable, 545 U.S. at 313-14). If
a case meets each factor, jurisdiction exists because of the
“serious federal interest in claiming the advantages
thought to be inherent in a federal forum.”
Grable, 545 U.S. at 313. But the general pleading
rules still apply, so the face of “a well-pleaded
complaint” must call for “resolution of a
substantial question of federal law.” City of Chi.
v. Int'l Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 163-64
(1997) (citation omitted).
Costco cannot thread the needle on the four-part test