United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
CAUSEY'S PHARMACY, INC. ET AL., Plaintiffs
PRAESES, LLC, Defendant
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
H.L. Perez-Montes United States Magistrate Judge
the Court is a Motion to Remand (Doc. 10) filed by Plaintiffs
Causey's Pharmacy, Inc. (“Causey's”),
Steven T. Boyd, and LeAnn Causey Boyd (“the
Boyds”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”).
Plaintiffs allege no federal question jurisdiction exists
and, alternatively, that removal is untimely. (Doc. 10).
Defendant Praeses, LLC (“Praeses”) opposes the
motion. (Doc. 16). Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand (Doc. 10)
should be granted for lack of jurisdiction. Because Praeses
demonstrated an objectively reasonable basis for removal,
Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs
(Doc. 10) should be denied.
filed suit in the Tenth Judicial District Court, Natchitoches
Parish, Louisiana, against Praeses. (Doc. 1-2). Plaintiffs
allege Causey's entered into a Technical Service
Agreement (“TSA”) with Praeses on September 13,
2010. (Doc. 1-2). Plaintiffs claim they entered into a First
Amendment to the TSA (“First Amendment”) on June
10, 2011. Plaintiffs aver that the purpose of the TSA and
First Amendment was to develop, promote, market, and
otherwise commercially operate a mobile application
(“PocketRx”) which allows users to submit
prescription refill requests. (Doc. 1-2). Plaintiffs claim
Causey's was paid monetary consideration arising from the
TSA and First Amendment. (Doc. 1-2). Causey's states they
assigned any right, title, and interest in PocketRx to the
Boyds in June 2015. (Doc. 1-2).
claim Praeses was granted a Registered Trademark for PocketRx
by the United States Patent and Trademark Office
(“USPTO”) on October 8, 2013. (Doc. 1-2).
Plaintiffs allege Praeses sold PocketRx to a third party,
Digital Pharmacy, Inc. (“Digital Pharmacy”),
without prior written amendment to the TSA or First
Amendment, or any written acknowledgment, waiver, or consent.
aver Praeses tendered an Acknowledgment and Satisfaction of
Obligation and Release from Preases (the “Release
Agreement”). Plaintiffs state the Release Agreement was
tendered for consideration of 9.5% of the purchase price paid
by Digital Pharmacy (Doc. 1-2). Plaintiffs allege the TSA and
First Agreement were breached. (Doc. 1-2). Plaintiffs seek
monetary damages, attorney fees, and judicial interest. (Doc.
removed, asserting federal question jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1331, and supplemental jurisdiction under 28
U.S.C. § 1367. (Doc. 1). Praises alleges it received
“other paper” from Plaintiffs clarifying the
nature of Plaintiffs' claims, which Praises asserts will
require application and interpretation of the Copyright Act
under 17 U.S.C. § 101, et seq. (Doc. 1).
Praises argues Plaintiffs claim an ownership interest in
PocketRx, a mobile application developed by Preases. (Doc.
1). Praeses asserts any state law claim related to ownership
of PocketRx is preempted by the Copyright Act under 17 U.S.C.
§ 301. (Doc. 1).
filed this Motion to Remand (Doc. 10), asserting this Court
has no federal question jurisdiction. Rather, Plaintiffs
allege they seek to enforce the provisions of the contract
between Causey's and Praeses. (Doc. 10-1). Plaintiffs
further allege even assuming federal question jurisdiction
exists, removal is untimely. (Doc. 10). Plaintiffs seek
attorney's fees and costs for improper removal. (Doc.
10). Defendants oppose remand. (Doc. 16).
Law and Analysis
Federal Question Jurisdiction
federal court's jurisdiction is limited to areas
authorized by the United States Constitution and acts of
Congress. See Scarlott v. Nissan N. Am., Inc., 771
F.3d 883, 887 (5th Cir. 2014). Subject matter jurisdiction
must exist at the time of removal to federal court, based on
the facts and allegations contained in the complaint. See
St. Paul Reinsurance Co. Ltd. v. Greenberg, 134 F.3d
1250, 1253 (5th Cir. 1998).
is required “[i]f at any time before final judgment it
appears that the district court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). The burden of
establishing federal jurisdiction is on the party seeking
removal. Willy v. Coastal Corp., 855 F.2d 1160, 1164
(5th Cir. 1988); Scarlott, 771 F.3d at 887 (citing
Mumfrey v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., 719 F.3d 392, 397
(5th Cir. 2013)). Any doubts as to removal must be construed
against removal and in favor of remand. See Acuna v.
Brown & Root, Inc., 200 F.3d 335, 339 (5th Cir.
2000), cert. den., 530 U.S. 1229 (2000) (citing
Willy, 855 F.2d at 1164).
presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is
governed by the well-pleaded complaint rule, which provides
that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question
is presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly
pleaded complaint. See Rivet v. Regions Bank of
Louisiana, 522 U.S. 470, 475 (1998) (citing
Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392
the plaintiff may choose to forego the federal claims in
order to prevent removal. “The [well-pleaded complaint]
rule makes the plaintiff the master of the claim; he or she
may avoid federal jurisdiction by exclusive reliance on state
law.” Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 392. This