United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
JAMES T. MOODY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
Capital One Bank (USA), N.A., (“Capital One”)
originally filed this lawsuit in Porter County Superior Court
in the State of Indiana against defendant Tiera Butler
(“Butler”) on June 13, 2018. (DE # 3.) Capital
One alleges Butler owes $ 4, 046.59 on a defaulted credit
card account. (Id. at 1-4.)
acting pro se, removed the action to this court in a
notice of removal filed June 13, 2018. (DE # 1.) In addition
to stating her basis for removal, Butler's notice of
removal also attempts to assert “a common-law
compulsory counterclaim.” (Id. at 14.)
27, 2018, Capital One moved to remand the case back to state
court because this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
(DE # 6.) Butler did not respond to the motion. The time has
now passed for a response to be filed to the pending motion,
and the motion is ripe for ruling. See N.D. Ind.
removal statute allows for the removal of “any civil
action brought in a State court of which the district courts
of the United States have original jurisdiction.” 28
U.S.C. § 1441. The party invoking federal jurisdiction
bears the burden of demonstrating its existence. Appert
v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Inc., 673 F.3d 609, 617
(7th Cir. 2012). Thus, when a party opposing federal
jurisdiction challenges the allegations of jurisdictional
facts, the party seeking the federal forum must prove those
facts by a preponderance of the evidence. Meridian Sec.
Ins. Co. v. Sadowski, 441 F.3d 536, 543 (7th Cir. 2006).
courts are to “interpret the removal statute narrowly,
” and any doubts regarding jurisdiction should be
resolved in favor of remand to state court. Doe v.
Allied-Signal, Inc., 985 F.2d 908, 911 (7th Cir. 1993).
“If at any time before final judgment it appears that
the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the
case shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
notice of removal, Butler argues that this court has
subject-matter jurisdiction over the case based on a federal
question. (DE # 1 at 1, 5.) In its motion to remand, Capital
One argues that there is no subject-matter jurisdiction
because there is no federal question, and, alternatively,
that defendant could not have removed the case to this court
on the basis of diversity. (DE # 7 at 2-3.) The court will
address both of plaintiff's arguments, beginning with the
federal question argument.
presents a federal question when it arises under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. 28
U.S.C. § 1331. According to the “well-pleaded
complaint rule, ” the federal question must be
“presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly
pleaded complaint.” Caterpillar Inc. v.
Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). “The rule
makes the plaintiff the master of the claim; he or she may
avoid federal jurisdiction by exclusive reliance on state
face, plaintiff's complaint does not invoke the
Constitution or any other federal laws or statutes.
(See DE # 3.) Nonetheless, Butler argues that a
federal question exists because the action relates to the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692
et seq (“FDCPA”), and the Federal
Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq
(“FAA”). (DE # 1 at 5.)
neither of these statutes are mentioned in the complaint, it
is true that Butler has attempted to file a counterclaim
under the FDCPA, which is a federal statute. (DE # 1 at
14-17.) However, in accordance with the well-pleaded
complaint rule, “claims in a counterclaim cannot confer
federal question jurisdiction over a case.” Salton,
Inc. v. Philips Domestic Appliances & Pers. Care
B.V., 391 ...