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Case Number: 2:22-cv-656
Judge: Emily C. Marks
Court: United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama (Montgomery County)
Defendant's Attorney: Emily C. Burke, John David Collins, Richard Trent Taylor
Description: Montgomery, Alabama personal injury lawyer represented Plaintiff who sued Defendant on a premises liability negligence theory.
This case was filed in the Circuit Court of Barbour County, Alabama, 69-CV-22-900051.00, and was removed to federal court by Defendant.
On September 30, 2022, Plaintiff Linda Williams (“Williams”) filed this class action complaint in Barbour County, Alabama against Defendant Dollar General Corporation (“Dollar General”). Williams seeks damages for injuries she and other similarly situated individuals sustained as purchasers of allegedly contaminated consumable goods sold by Dollar General.
On November 7, 2022, Dollar General removed the case to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2) and the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”). Dollar General argues that, based on the allegations in Williams' complaint, CAFA's jurisdictional requirements are satisfied. Williams contends that Dollar General has not met its burden to prove CAFA's jurisdictional requirements.
Now pending before the Court is Williams' Motion to Remand. (Doc. 11). Upon consideration of the motion, and for the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that Williams' motion is due to be denied.
Dollar General is a corporation that operates more than 18,000 discount variety stores across the United States. Of those 18,000 stores, 869 are located in Alabama. Dollar General stores sell a variety of household essentials and consumable goods, such as groceries, baby products, pet products, cosmetics, over-the-counter medications, medical devices, and health supplements. To assist with regional operations, Dollar General operates “fresh” distribution centers throughout the country that store and ship perishable goods for that center's region. One such distribution center is located in Bessemer, Alabama (the “Bessemer Distribution Center”). The Bessemer Distribution Center services Dollar General stores in Alabama and throughout the Southeast.
Williams alleges that the Bessemer Distribution Center suffered from a significant rodent infestation that potentially contaminated the consumable goods stored within the facility. Williams claims that Dollar General became aware of this infestation as early as 2021 but should have become aware of the infestation “far earlier.” (Doc. 1-1 at 8). Despite this actual or constructive awareness, Dollar General did not disclose the infestation to the public. Instead, Dollar General continued to operate the Bessemer Distribution Center and profit from the sale of potentially contaminated consumable goods supplied by that center. Williams claims that the contaminated consumable products sold by Dollar General during this period of infestation were worthless. In July or August of 2022, Dollar General shut down the Bessemer Distribution Center.
Williams filed a complaint in Barbour County, Alabama, seeking to certify a class of all Alabama residents that purchased consumable products from a Dollar General store located in Alabama and supplied by the Bessemer Distribution Center in the twelve months preceding the filing of the complaint. The complaint sets forth five counts against Dollar General: violation of the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act, negligence, breach of implied warranty, unjust enrichment, and fraudulent concealment and failure to disclose. Williams also requests declaratory and injunctive relief.
Dollar General removed the case to this Court, asserting that the case meets all requirements for this Court's subject matter jurisdiction under CAFA. Williams subsequently filed a motion to remand to state court, disputing that Dollar General met its burden to prove CAFA's jurisdictional requirements.
Outcome: "ORDERED that the Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (doc. 11) is DENIED." Williams v. Dollar Gen. Corp. (M.D. Ala. 2023)