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Hyman v. TV Guide Magazine, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

October 4, 2017



          STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge

         Plaintiff filed a putative class action against Defendant TV Guide Magazine, LLC for alleged violations of Michigan's Preservation of Personal Privacy Act, Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 445.1711-15 (the "MPPPA") and unjust enrichment. ECF 1, PgID 2, 15, 19. The case was stayed in August 2016 pending the Sixth Circuit's decision in Coulter-Owens v. Time, Inc., Case Nos. 16-1321 & 16-1380. ECF 32. The Sixth Circuit issued an opinion, ECF 37-1, and the Court lifted the stay, ECF 38. Now before the Court is Defendant's Second Amended Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). ECF 15-2. The Court has reviewed the briefs and finds that a hearing is unnecessary. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny the motion.


         Plaintiff, a Michigan citizen, brought suit on behalf of herself and "[a]ll Michigan residents who purchased a subscription to TV Guide." ECF 1, PgID 12. She seeks "actual damages, including disgorgement, or $5, 000.00, whichever is greater" for each class member as provided by the MPPPA. Id. at 21. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant is a Delaware limited liability company with its principle place of business in New York. Id. at 3. Defendant has not filed an answer; but in its Second Amended Motion to Dismiss, Defendant argues that its principle place of business is in Michigan. ECF 15-2, PgID 219.


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) allows dismissal for "lack of subject-matter jurisdiction." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). When subject-matter jurisdiction is challenged pursuant to 12(b)(1), the plaintiff has the burden of proving jurisdiction. Mich. S. R.R. Co. v. Branch & St. Joseph Ctys. Rail Users Ass'n, Inc., 287 F.3d 568, 573 (6th Cir. 2002). When a party makes a factual attack on jurisdiction, as Defendant does here, the Court "is free to weigh the evidence and satisfy itself as to the existence of its power to hear the case." RMI Titanium Co. v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 78 F.3d 1125, 1134 (6th Cir. 1996). Plaintiff's allegations are not presumed to be true and "the existence of disputed material facts will not preclude the trial court from evaluating for itself the merits of jurisdictional claims." Id.


         Defendant argues that Plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed because: (1) Plaintiff does not have standing under Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540 (2016), ECF 24, PgID 358-60, ECF 28; (2) the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction because the parties are not diverse and there is an insufficient amount in controversy, ECF 15-2, PgID 219-20; (3) the Court must decline to exercise jurisdiction based on the "home state" and "local controversy" exceptions under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(4), id. at 210; and (4) the Court should exercise its discretion to dismiss the case in the interests of justice under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(3), id. The Court will address each argument in turn.

         I. Standing

         Plaintiff has standing. The thrust of Defendant's argument is that an MPPPA violation does not raise a concrete injury or any risk thereof. See ECF 24, PgID 360. But the Sixth Circuit held that the MPPPA "confers statutory standing on a person whose information was disclosed in violation of it . . . [and] the disclosure of that information is a cognizable injury in fact for purposes of Article III standing." Coulter-Owens v. Time Inc., __ Fed.Appx. __, Case Nos. 16-1321, 16-1380, 2017 WL 2731309, at *3 (6th Cir. June 26, 2017).

         II. Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

         The Court has subject-matter jurisdiction only if the jurisdiction is authorized by the Constitution and vested by Congress. Kline v. Burke Constr. Co., 260 U.S. 226, 233-34 (1922). The Constitution provides that the judicial power shall extend to controversies between citizens of different states. U.S. Const. Art. III, § 2. Congress vested diversity jurisdiction over class actions when any member of a class of plaintiffs is a citizen of a state different from any defendant and the matter in controversy exceeds $5 million. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2). After consideration of Defendant's statutory arguments, the Court finds that it has diversity jurisdiction.

         A. The parties are diverse.

         Plaintiff is a citizen of Michigan and the putative class is comprised entirely of Michigan residents. ECF 1, PgID 10, 12. Consequently, the Court would lack diversity jurisdiction under § 1332(d)(2) only if Defendant is a Michigan citizen. Congress provided that in a class action "an unincorporated association shall be deemed to be a citizen of the State where it has its principal place of business and the State under whose laws it is organized." 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(10). Defendant is ...

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