Sodexo, Inc. recently found itself named in a putative Fair Credit Reporting Act class action based on alleged improprieties in its background check disclosure forms and its pre-adverse action process. Sodexo removed the case from Pennsylvania state court to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on April 7, claiming the federal court has original and removal jurisdiction over claims brought under the FCRA, a federal statute.
On May 2, the plaintiff, Robert Piveronas, filed a motion to remand the case back to state court. Piveronas argues that Sodexo failed to demonstrate the existence of Article III standing following the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016). While Spokeo challenges have most frequently been a tool for defendants seeking dismissal, Piveronas argues that the same principles – such as lack of demonstrated concrete injury in Sodexo’s removal filings – mandate that his case be heard in state court.
The crux of Piveronas’s argument is that Sodexo, as the removing party, failed to satisfy its burden to clearly demonstrate the basis for Article III standing and, thus, federal jurisdiction. He claims Sodexo failed to address standing in its removal papers and urges the federal court, on this ground alone, to remand the case. More to the point, Piveronas also argues that it is doubtful he even has Article III standing. In an argument carefully worded to avoid an outright concession of lack of injury, Piveronas points to diverging outcomes in district courts considering standing challenges under Spokeo. From there, he argues that this uncertainty creates a doubt about the existence of standing in his case, and that doubt must be resolved in favor of remand. Interestingly, Piveronas makes no effort to clarify where he has suffered a concrete injury, instead implying that a sufficient injury may not exist in light of certain district court outcomes.
On May 5, the day Sodexo was due to file its answer to the Complaint, the parties filed a joint motion to stay all proceedings pending the outcome of a scheduled mediation. The court granted that motion and, for the time being, will refrain from ruling on Piveronas’s motion.