United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
DISMISS AND/OR FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. 18) AND DENYING
PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. 19)
CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Gena Sturkey, Latoya Jones, Corlette Person, Yun Bonilla,
Suchet Guha, Nancy Tarevski, Ping Moceri, Aminat Ahmed, Jie
Wu, Junying Lu, Hexhire Agolli, Lester Berry, Faye Jones, and
Hazel Hager and prospective plaintiff Eva Vigh bring numerous
state-law claims against their former employer Duty Free
Americas, Inc. This matter is presently before the Court on
two motions. Pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(f)(2), the Court
shall rule without oral argument.
Court shall first address defendant's motion to dismiss
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and/or for
summary judgment, which was filed on January 5, 2018, (Doc.
18). Plaintiffs responded on February 5, 2018. (Doc. 22).
Defendant filed a reply on February 26, 2018. (Doc. 24).
the Court shall consider plaintiffs' motion for partial
summary judgment, which was filed on January 5, 2018. (Doc.
19). Defendant filed a response on February 5, 2018. (Doc.
21). Plaintiffs' filed a reply on February 26, 2018.
reasons stated below, defendant's motion to dismiss for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction is GRANTED. (Doc. 18). As
such, plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment is
DENIED AS MOOT. (Doc. 19).
a national travel retailer, employed plaintiffs pursuant to a
sales and/or service contract with Detroit Metro Airport.
(Doc. 1 at PageID 2-3). On or about December 2015, defendant
lost its contract with Detroit Metro Airport. (Doc. 1 at
PageID 3). Defendant's contract term was scheduled to end
on September 19, 2016. (Id.). In February 2016, Bud
Silloway met with plaintiffs to discuss severance pay.
(Id.). Silloway stated that plaintiffs would receive
a severance payment equal to one week of wages for every year
of employment if plaintiffs worked through the end of the
Detroit Metro Airport contract. (Id.).
continued working for defendant until the Detroit Metro
Airport contract ended. (Doc. 1 at PageID 3-4). Defendant
thereafter provided plaintiffs with their severance payments.
(Doc. 1 at PageID 4). These payments, however, were equal to
half of one week's wages for every year of employment.
(Id.). In a letter dated October 6, 2016, Silloway
corrected his previous statement and explained that
defendant's usual policy only compensated for half of one
week's employment for every year of employment.
(Id.). Plaintiffs filed this suit in the Eastern
District of Michigan on January 24, 2017 to recover
additional severance payment. (Doc. 1). Plaintiffs assert
seven claims; breach of contract, (Count I), intentional
misrepresentation, (Count II), negligent misrepresentation,
(Count III), innocent misrepresentation, (Count IV),
promissory estoppel, (Count V), unjust enrichment, (Count
VI), and declaratory relief, (Count VII).
to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction fall into
two general categories: facial attacks and factual
attacks.” United States v. Ritchie, 15 F.3d
592, 598 (6th Cir.1994). “A facial attack is a
challenge to the sufficiency of the pleading itself. On such
a motion, the court must take the material allegations of the
petition as true and construed in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party.” Id. (emphasis in
original). “A factual attack, on the other
hand, is not a challenge to the sufficiency of the
pleading's allegations, but a challenge to the factual
existence of subject matter jurisdiction. On such a motion,
no presumptive truthfulness applies to the factual
allegations” and “the court is free to weigh the
evidence and satisfy itself as to the existence of its power
to hear the case.” Id. (emphasis in original).
A challenge regarding the amount in controversy is a factual
attack. See Allstate Ins. Co. v. Renou, 32 F.Supp.3d
856, 860 (E.D. Mich. 2014).
subject matter jurisdiction is challenged pursuant to
12(b)(1), the plaintiff has the burden of proving
jurisdiction in order to survive the motion.”
Michigan S. R.R. Co. v. Branch & St. Joseph Counties
Rail Users Ass'n, 287 F.3d 568, 573 (6th Cir.2002);
see also Ohio Nat'l Life Ins. Co. v. United
States, 922 F.2d 320, 324 (6th Cir.1990). “The
plaintiff must establish subject matter jurisdiction by a
preponderance of the evidence.” Renou, 32
F.Supp.3d at 860 (citing McNutt v. Gen. Motors Acceptance
Corp. of Ind., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936)).
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a), “[t]he district courts shall
have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the
matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs, and is between (1) citizens
of different States.” Federal courts rigorously enforce
Congress' intent to “drastically [ ] restrict
federal jurisdiction in controversies between citizens of
different states.” St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v.
Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 288 (1938). “The rule
governing dismissal for want of jurisdiction in cases brought
in the federal court is that, unless the law gives a
different rule, the sum claimed by the plaintiff controls if
the claim is apparently made in good faith.”
Id. “[I]f, from the face of the pleadings, it
is apparent, to a legal certainty, that the plaintiff cannot
recover the amount claimed or if, from the proofs, the court
is satisfied to a like certainty that the plaintiff never was
entitled to recover that amount, and that his claim was
therefore colorable for the purpose of conferring
jurisdiction, the suit will be dismissed.” Id.
argues that the amount in controversy is less than $75, 000
because the unpaid severance figures range from $250.00 to
$5, 722.21, and total $35, 869.75. Plaintiffs' first
responsive argument urges the Court ...