SANGIMINO v. BAYER CORP.

No. C 17-01488 WHA.

ELIZABETH SANGIMINO, et al., Plaintiffs, v. BAYER CORP., et al., Defendants.

United States District Court, N.D. California.

Editors Note
Applicable Law: 28 U.S.C. § 1331
Cause: 28 U.S.C. § 1331 Fed. Question: Personal Injury
Nature of Suit: 367 Personal Injury: Health Care / Pharmaceutical Personal Injury Product Liability
Source: PACER


Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Elizabeth Ann Sangimino, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice.

Elizabeth Ann Sangimino, Plaintiff, represented by Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Ananhi Gonzalez, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Michelle Scheifen, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Paige Tucker, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Melissa Byreley, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Jessica Gutherie, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Tarquenia Brown, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Tekesha Sant-Val, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Kisha Vinson, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Katrina Daniels, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Solmarie Montes-Arroyo, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Jeanette Stiffler, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Barbara Turner, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Kiri Horne, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Amanda Sue Lory, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Chenoa Fore, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Cassie Lynn Downes, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Maria Mendoza, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Christine Minor, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Dana Davidson, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Tasha Oglesby, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Jeanette Powles-Dies, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Melissa Ragan, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Jodi Kirksley, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Akasha Terrier, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Krisila Baker, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Minerva Blackmon, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

A'randa Gary, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Tamara Johnson, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Telleia Little, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Lauren Max, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Chuteah McJunkins, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Elizabeth Sipe, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Kimberly Waters, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Hetty Mae Kodges, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Amanda Miller-McKnight, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Kristain Halfacre, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Pamela Jane Drew, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Michelle Campos, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Jennifer Holmes, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Tanya Muldoon, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Staci Sessions, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Andrea Jo Patschke, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Jennifer Palmer, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Esselene Lowe, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Wendy Berry, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Jennifer Stevens, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Mary Cox, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Ashley Purvis, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Katty Gonzalez, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Candise Braley-Davis, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Caroline Corbin, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Carmen C. Scott , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Hazen Chandler, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Elizabeth Dudley , The Dudley Law Firm, LLC, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Nisha Thomas, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Elizabeth Dudley , The Dudley Law Firm, LLC, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Tammy Miller, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Elizabeth Dudley , The Dudley Law Firm, LLC, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Victoria Anderson-Lewis, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Willard J. Moody, Jr. , The Moody Law Firm, Jonathan A. Hogins , The Moody Law Firm, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Melissa Carter, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Willard J. Moody, Jr. , The Moody Law Firm, Jonathan A. Hogins , The Moody Law Firm, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Lina Jones, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Willard J. Moody, Jr. , The Moody Law Firm, Jonathan A. Hogins , The Moody Law Firm, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Abegail Tongol, Plaintiff, represented by Breanne V. Cope , Motley Rice, Fidelma L. Fitzpatrick , Motley Rice LLC, Willard J. Moody, Jr. , The Moody Law Firm, Jonathan A. Hogins , The Moody Law Firm, Kimberly Barone Baden , Motley Rice LLC & Louis M. Bograd , Motley Rice LLC.

Bayer Corporation, an Indiana corporation, Defendant, represented by Alycia Ann Degen , Sidley Austin LLP & Jonathan Fredrick Cohn , Sidley Austin LLP.

Bayer Corporation, Defendant, represented by Rebecca Wood , Sidley Austin LLP.

Bayer Corporation, an Indiana corporation, Defendant, represented by Bradley Dugan , Sidley Austin LLP.

Bayer HealthCare LLC, a Delaware company, Defendant, represented by Alycia Ann Degen , Sidley Austin LLP & Jonathan Fredrick Cohn , Sidley Austin LLP.

Bayer HealthCare LLC, Defendant, represented by Rebecca Wood , Sidley Austin LLP.

Bayer HealthCare LLC, a Delaware company, Defendant, represented by Bradley Dugan , Sidley Austin LLP.

Bayer Essure Inc., Defendant, represented by Alycia Ann Degen , Sidley Austin LLP, Jonathan Fredrick Cohn , Sidley Austin LLP, Rebecca Wood , Sidley Austin LLP & Bradley Dugan , Sidley Austin LLP.

Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., Defendant, represented by Alycia Ann Degen , Sidley Austin LLP, Jonathan Fredrick Cohn , Sidley Austin LLP, Rebecca Wood , Sidley Austin LLP & Bradley Dugan , Sidley Austin LLP.


ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO REMAND AND DENYING AS MOOT MOTION TO DISMISS

WILLIAM ALSUP, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Defendants removed this product liability action from state court on the grounds that it presents a federal question. Plaintiffs now move to remand, and defendants move to dismiss. For the reasons stated below, the motion to remand is GRANTED, and the motion to dismiss is DENIED AS MOOT.

STATEMENT

Plaintiffs are 59 women who had Essure, a permanent contraceptive device, implanted in their fallopian tubes. This action arises from medical complications plaintiffs suffered as a result of alleged defects in the Essure device. Plaintiffs brought five claims under California law including (1) negligence, (2) strict products liability, (3) breach of express warranty, (4) breach of implied warranty, and (5) fraud.

Defendants removed this action from the Superior Court of Contra Costa County in March 2017 based on federal-question jurisdiction, claiming that plaintiffs' claims arise under federal law, and then moved to dismiss all claims. Plaintiffs now move to remand, contending that their complaint does not raise a federal question. This order follows full briefing and oral argument.

ANALYSIS

1. FEDERAL-QUESTION JURISDICTION.

District courts have jurisdiction over civil cases arising under the Constitution, laws and treaties of the United States — so-called federal-question jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. 1331. When such a case is filed in state court, defendants may remove it to federal district court. 28 U.S.C. 1441(b). Absent a proper basis for removal, however, a case must be remanded. Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 96 (1998).

The question of whether a claim "`arises under' federal law is determined by reference to the `well-pleaded complaint.'" Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 808 (1986) (quoting Franchise Tax Bd. of State of Cal. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust for S. California, 463 U.S. 1, 8 (1983)). "It is settled law that a case may not be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense, including a defense of preemption, even if the defense is anticipated in the plaintiff's complaint, and even if both parties concede that the federal defense is the only question truly at issue." Balcorta v. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., 208 F.3d 1102, 1106 (9th Cir. 2000) (quoting Franchise Tax Bd., 463 U.S. at 8).

In the vast majority of cases, "arising under federal law" means that the plaintiff has pled a federal claim. Merrell Dow, 478 U.S. at 808. There is, however, a second path to federal-question jurisdiction. If a plaintiff does not present a federal claim, a federal court may nevertheless retain jurisdiction if federal issues presented by the claims are "(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." Gunn v. Minton, 133 S.Ct. 1059, 1065 (2013) (listing requirements enumerated in Grable & Sons Metal Prod., Inc. v. Darue Eng'g & Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 308 (2005)). Since plaintiffs have pled only state-law claims, the question is whether defendants have failed to satisfy any element of this four-part test.

A. Necessarily Raised.

"[F]ederal jurisdiction is unavailable unless it appears that some substantial, disputed question of federal law is a necessary element of one of the well-pleaded state claims . . . ." Franchise Tax Bd., 463 U.S. at 13. "When a claim can be supported by alternative and independent theories — one of which is a state law theory and one of which is a federal law theory — federal-question jurisdiction does not attach because federal law is not a necessary element of the claim." Rains v. Criterion Sys., Inc., 80 F.3d 339, 344 (9th Cir. 1996) (citing Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800 (1988)).

Here, none of plaintiffs' claims relies on federal violations as a necessary element. Scrubbed of any mention of federal law, plaintiffs' complaint still pleads each element of each claim. Therefore, the complaint does not satisfy the "necessarily raised" prong of the test for federal-question jurisdiction, and must be remanded to state court.

Defendants make two arguments to the contrary, both unavailing. Defendants first argue that plaintiffs necessarily raise federal issues because they "must be suing for conduct that violates the [MDA] (or else [their] claim[s] [are] expressly preempted) . . ." (Def.'s Opp. at 5) (quoting De La Paz v. Bayer Healthcare LLC, 159 F.Supp.3d 1085, 1092 (N.D. Cal. 2016)). Defendants go on to cite three out-of-circuit district court decisions in support of the proposition that a preemption defense can provide the basis for federal-question jurisdiction. Dooley v. Medtronic, Inc., 39 F.Supp.3d 973, 985 (W.D. Tenn. 2014) (Judge John Fowlkes, Jr.); Jenkins v. Medtronic, Inc., 984 F.Supp.2d 873, 880 (W.D. Tenn. 2013) (Judge John Fowlkes, Jr.); H.R. ex rel. Reuter v. Medtronic, Inc., 996 F.Supp.2d 671, 679 (S.D. Ohio 2014) (Judge Timothy Black).

The Supreme Court and our court of appeals have spoken on this issue. A preemption defense does not confer federal-question jurisdiction "even if the defense is anticipated in the plaintiff's complaint" as it is here, and "even if both parties concede that the federal defense is the only question truly at issue." Balcorta, 208 F.3d at 1106 (quoting Franchise Tax Bd., 463 U.S. at 14). To the extent that Dooley, Jenkins, and Reuter hold otherwise, this Court disagrees. Defendants cannot rely on a preemption defense to support removal.

Defendants next argue that plaintiffs have necessarily raised federal issues by alleging violations of federal law to support elements of their claims (Def.'s Opp. at 7 (citing Compl. ¶¶ 857, 882-83)). Defendants point the Court to Burrell v. Bayer Corp., No. 117CV00031 MOC DCK, 2017 WL 1032524, at *3 (W.D.N.C. Mar. 17, 2017) (Judge Max Cogburn, Jr.), a decision out of the Western District of North Carolina arising from another suit against Bayer related to the Essure device. In Burrell, the court acknowledged that the complaint did not state a federal claim, but held that the because the plaintiffs alleged violations of federal requirements, the complaint necessarily raised federal issues.

Here, like Burrell, a great number of plaintiffs' allegations are predicated on defendants' alleged failure to follow FDA requirements, including an allegation that failure to comply with federal requirements amounts to negligence per se (e.g. Compl. ¶¶ 857-60; 883-887; 889). But this alone is not enough to confer federal-question jurisdiction. If plaintiffs' claims are also "supported by alternative and independent [state-law] theories" then they do not necessarily raise federal issues, and must be remanded. Rains, 80 F.3d at 343-44 (remanding suit that alternatively pled a violation of state and federal law to fulfill an element of a claim). Such is the case here. The complaint states garden-variety California negligence, products liability, warranty, and fraud claims without reference to federal law (see Compl. ¶¶ 855-857; 909; 935-940; 959-965). Plaintiffs cannot be faulted for explicating alternative federal-law-based theories, especially since they must do so to avoid preemption.

Our court of appeals has made it clear that where a complaint pleads alternative theories to support a claim — one federal and one state-based — it does not satisfy the "necessarily raised" requirement of federal-question jurisdiction. Therefore, "federal law is not a necessary element of [plaintiffs'] claim[s]." Rains, 80 F.3d at 343-44. To the extent Burrell is in conflict with this result, the Court is bound by Rains and finds that plaintiffs have not necessarily raised federal issues by pleading alternative theories that rely, in part, on the breach of federal duties.

Finally, at oral argument defendants relied on Grable, arguing that it modified the standard set forth in Merrell Dow. The part of Grable relied upon by counsel, however, related to the substantiality and federal-state balance prongs of the four-part test for federal-question jurisdiction. Grable, unlike this action, indisputably raised a federal issue, which was as an "essential element" of the only claim. Because the complaint here does not necessarily raise federal issues, the Court does not reach the other prongs of the Supreme Court's test for federal-question jurisdiction. Accordingly, Plaintiffs' action must be REMANDED.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, plaintiffs' motion to remand is GRANTED. The pending motion to dismiss is DENIED AS MOOT The Clerk shall please REMAND the action to Superior Court for Contra Costa County and CLOSE THE FILE.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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