United States District Court, D. Colorado
BUDDY BAKER, as Trustee for the Buddy Wayne Baker Revocable Trust, on behalf of himself and a class of similarly situated royalty owners, Plaintiff,
PDC ENERGY, INC., and DCP MIDSTREAM, L.P., Defendants.
RAYMOND P. MOORE, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Buddy Baker's Motion for Remand and Request for Attorneys' Fees (ECF No. 16) as well as Defendant PDC Energy, Inc's ("PDC Energy") Motion to Amend its Notice of Removal (ECF No. 19). Both motions are fully briefed and ripe for adjudication.
For the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES PDC Energy's Motion to Amend its Notice of Removal and GRANTS, in part, Plaintiff's Motion for Remand.
A. The Instant Lawsuit
On August 7, 2014, Plaintiff filed this action in the District Court of the City and County of Denver, Second Judicial District for the State of Colorado, Case Number 2014 CV 33134. (ECF Nos. 1-6, 1-7.) In his Complaint, Plaintiff brings two claims for damages against PDC Energy: (1) breach of contract and (2) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. (ECF No. 1-7 ¶¶ 74-84.) Plaintiff also brings two claims against Defendant DCP Midstream, L.P. ("DCP Midstream"): (1) breach of contract and (2) unjust enrichment. (ECF No. 1-7 ¶¶ 85-92.) Against both Defendants, Plaintiff brings a claim for declaratory judgment. (ECF No. 1-7 ¶¶ 93-95.) Plaintiff purports to bring these claims on behalf of himself and a class of similarly situated royalty owners (the "Putative Class") pursuant to Rule 23 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF No. 1-7 ¶¶ 2-3, 9-14.)
On September 12, 2014, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, PDC Energy filed its notice of removal. (ECF Nos. 1, 2.) PDC Energy removed this case on the basis that this action allegedly could have been filed originally in the Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d), as amended by the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 ("CAFA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332(d), 1453, 1711-1715. (ECF No. 1.) PDC Energy removed this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2)(A) because it argued that the Court has jurisdiction because the amount in controversy exceeds $5, 000, 000 in the aggregate; and (2) the parties are diverse. (ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 14, 23, 25.) Initially, PDC Energy argued that Plaintiff Baker is a citizen of Colorado and Defendant DCP Midstream is a citizen of Delaware. (ECF No. 1 ¶ 23.)
On September 19, 2014, Baker moved to remand this matter. (ECF No. 16.) Baker argues that DCP Midstream is a citizen of both Delaware and Colorado pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(10), and thus PDC Energy failed to demonstrate that the parties are diverse. (ECF No. 16 at 4-6.) Baker further argues that PDC Energy cannot amend its notice of removal. (ECF No. 16 at 6-10.) Baker also argues, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(4)(B), that the Court must decline to exercise jurisdiction under CAFA because two-thirds or more of the members of proposed class and the primary Defendants are citizens of the State in which the action was originally filed. (ECF No. 16 at 10.) Finally, Baker requests attorneys' fees and costs incurred as a result of PDC Energy's improper removal. (ECF No. 16 at 11.)
On September 26, 2014, PDC Energy moved to amend its notice of removal. (ECF No. 19.)
B. The Related Lawsuit
At the time PDC Energy filed its notice of removal, it also filed a notice that the instant lawsuit was related to a matter then pending before the Court, Case No. 14-CV-1033-RM-MJW, PDC Energy, Inc. v. DCP Midstream, LP (the "Related Lawsuit"). (ECF No. 3.) On September 26, 2014, with the approval of Chief Judge Krieger and my concurrence, the instant lawsuit was transferred to me as it was related to Case No. 14-CV-1033-RM-MJW. (ECF No. 18.)
On December 1, 2014, the Related Lawsuit was terminated pursuant to the notice of voluntary dismissal in that case. (ECF Nos. 61, 62 in 14-CV-1033-RM-MJW.)
II. LEGAL STANDARDS
A. Amending a Notice ...