Mims v. Arrow Financial Services, LLC

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: November 28, 2011
  • Case #: 10-1195
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 421 Fed.Appx. 920 (11th Cir. 2010)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether Congress divested federal district courts of federal-question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 with respect to private actions brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227.

Petitioner Mims filed an action in federal district court against respondent Arrow Financial Services, LLC under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA"), 47 U.S.C. § 227. The district court dismissed the case after it found that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case under 11th Circuit precedent. Mims appealed to the 11th Circuit, and argued that the court should revisit its precedent in light of two Supreme Court decisions (Grable & Sons Metal Products, Inc. v. Darue Eng'g, 545 U.S. 308, 125 S. Ct. 2363 (2005), and Breuer v. Jim's Concrete of Brevard, Inc., 538 U.S. 691, 123 S. Ct. 1882 (2003))and a 7th Circuit decision (Brill v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 427 F.3d 446 (7th Cir. 2005)). In an unpublished opinion, the 11th Circuit held that because the Supreme Court cases did not consider the TCPA and did not explicitly or implicitly overrule the 11th Circuit's prior decision, and because the decisions of other federal appellate courts are not binding on the 11th Circuit, the district court correctly decided the case and the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal.

On appeal to the United States Supreme Court, Mims argues that the provision of the TCPA which provides that the right of action the Act creates “may” be brought in state courts is a grant of permissive jurisdiction, and that the 11th Circuit's interpretation that the provision forecloses a federal cause of action conflicts with well established statutory construction principles. Mims argues that private actions under the TCPA fall within the broad jurisdictional grant of 28 U.S.C.A § 1331, and that Congress did not divest federal courts of their § 1331 jurisdiction over those actions.

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