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Removal to Federal Court: No Inference of FCRA Claim When None Stated

By Arthur Ebbs

Courts generally give some deference to a pro se plaintiff attempting to state his or her claims, even if the claims are not plead perfectly.  However, in Thao Le v. Capital One Auto Finance (N.D. Cal. Nov. 1, 2018), the court reminded defendants not to read too much into a pro se plaintiff’s case.

In Thao Le, the plaintiff’s complaint mentioned “common law…. state fair debt collection law, and consumer protection laws.”  The plaintiff also alleged “state law” violations of securities laws.  Defendants filed a notice of removal of plaintiff’s complaint to federal court based on federal question jurisdiction, claiming that federal question jurisdiction existed because the plaintiff’s allegations “implicated” the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as they related to the negative reporting of credit information to third-parties.  However, in granting the plaintiff’s motion to remand, the court noted that the plaintiff’s complaint explicitly referenced state law with no mention of federal law and that without the implication of federal law, there could be no federal question jurisdiction.

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