Woodard v. STP Corp., 97-6581

Decision Date23 March 1999
Docket NumberNo. 97-6581,97-6581
Citation170 F.3d 1043
Parties, 12 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 629 Tony WOODARD, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. STP CORPORATION and First Brands Corporation, Defendants-Appellees.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit

Larry W. Morris, Morris Haynes Ingram & Hornsby, Alexander City, AL, Lesley Gay Blackner, Palm Beach, FL, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Brittin T. Coleman, John Edward Goodman, Bradley Arant Rose & White, Birmingham, AL, for Defendants-Appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

Before TJOFLAT, Circuit Judge, and GODBOLD and HILL, Senior Circuit Judges.

TJOFLAT, Circuit Judge:

The plaintiff, Tony Woodard, filed this suit on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated against the defendants in Alabama state court. The state court--prior to any service of process on the defendants--granted conditional class certification. The defendants, after receiving the complaint, removed the case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama on the basis of diversity of citizenship. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (1994). The plaintiff moved the district court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), to remand the case to state court. The motion was denied, and the district court vacated the state court's conditional class certification.

The plaintiff then filed a motion for voluntary dismissal. The defendants opposed the motion on the ground that they had already invested substantial resources in the litigation and did not want to relitigate the same claims in another forum. The district court granted the plaintiff's motion, but with prejudice 1 and subject to the condition that if

any present counsel for Tony Woodard hereinafter files an individual or putative class action complaint against these defendants, or either of them, in any forum whatsoever and wheresoever, this court maintains the right on defendants' motion to assess against Tony Woodard and his present counsel the attorneys fees and expenses incurred by defendants in this case.

See Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(2) (giving the district court authority to impose "terms and conditions" on a dismissal). Following the entry of judgment pursuant to the district court's dismissal order, the plaintiff took this appeal. He challenges the district court's denial of remand and the condition placed on the dismissal.

Denial of a motion to remand is an interlocutory order reviewable pursuant to district court certification under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) or on appeal from a final judgment. See Sheeran v. General Elec. Co., 593 F.2d 93, 97 (9th Cir.1979). The plaintiff did not obtain district court certification, and therefore cannot appeal directly from the order denying remand. 2 He did, however, obtain a final judgment when the court granted with prejudice his motion for voluntary dismissal. See Druhan v. American Mut. Life Ins. Co., 166 F.3d 1324, 1325 n. 4 (11th Cir.1999). That judgment is not appealable, however, because it was obtained at the request of the plaintiff and there is therefore no "case or controversy" in regard to it. See id. at 1324. We therefore lack jurisdiction to hear any challenge to the district court's denial of remand.

The condition imposed on the dismissal order is a more complex matter. In the order, the district court retains jurisdiction to assess, upon the defendants' motion, attorneys' fees and costs for this case against the plaintiff and his attorneys in the event that any of the plaintiff's present attorneys brings an action against the defendants in another forum. The only basis for granting such a motion would be as a sanction under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 3 See Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c)(2) (stating that "attorneys' fees and other expenses incurred" are an appropriate form of sanction under the rule). By not imposing Rule 11 sanctions at the time the case was dismissed, however, the district court implicitly held that such sanctions are not appropriate in this case. Instead, the sanctions would serve as punishment for bringing a subsequent lawsuit. This is an improper use of Rule 11. Rule 11 sanctions are properly applied only to cases before the court, not to cases in other courts. If Rule 11 sanctions are warranted in a subsequent lawsuit brought by the plaintiff or his attorneys, it is the job of the court hearing the subsequent lawsuit--and not the court in this case--to impose such sanctions. Consequently, the district court...

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  • Ofs Fitel, LLC v. Epstein, Becker and Green, P.C., No. 07-10200.
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    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • 28 Noviembre 2008
    ... ... American Mutual Life, 166 F.3d 1324 (11th Cir.1999) and Woodard v. STP Corp., 170 F.3d 1043 (11th Cir.1999). After review, we conclude appellate jurisdiction ... ...
  • Corley v. Long-Lewis, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • 16 Julio 2020
    ... ... LONG-LEWIS, INC., individually and as successor to Burrell Corp., f.k.a. Lewis Hardware Co.; Birmingham Rubber and Gasket Co., et al., Defendants-Appellees. No ... 1326 (order denying the plaintiff's motion to remand her suit to state court); accord Woodard v. STP Corp. , 170 F.3d 1043, 1044 (11th Cir. 1999). The second class of appeals lacks adverseness ... ...
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    ... ... Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). To withstand a motion ... in another district was "questionable at best", and declining to entertain the argument); Woodard v. STP Corp. , 170 F.3d 1043, 1045 (11th Cir. 1999) ("sanctions are properly applied only to cases ... ...
  • Hunter v. Earthgrains Co. Bakery
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
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    ... ... 11 ("Note, FRCP 11"); Cooter & Gell v. Hartmarx Corp., 496 U.S. 384, 110 S.Ct. 2447, 110 L.Ed.2d 359 (1990). Of course, an error of law by a district ... are properly applied only to cases before the court, not to cases in other courts." Woodard v. STP Corp., 170 F.3d 1043, 1045 (11th Cir.1999) ... 20. We note that the district court ... ...
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2 books & journal articles
  • Appellate Practice and Procedure - William M. Droze and Jeri N. Sute
    • United States
    • Mercer University School of Law Mercer Law Reviews No. 51-4, June 2000
    • Invalid date
    ...with honors, 1999). 1. 191 F.3d 1324 (11th Cir. 1999). 2. Id. at 1325. 3. Id. at 1327 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). 4. 170 F.3d 1043 (11th Cir. 1999). 5. Id. at 1044. 6. Id. 7. 168 F.3d 8 (11th Cir. 1999). 8. Id. at 16. 9. Id. at 11. 10. Id. 11. 166 F.3d 1324 (11th Cir. 1......
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    • United States
    • Mercer University School of Law Mercer Law Reviews No. 60-4, June 2009
    • Invalid date
    ...order.'" Id. (quoting Myers v. Sullivan, 916 F.2d 659, 673 (11th Cir. 1990)). 60. Id. at 1358. 61. 166 F.3d 1324 (11th Cir. 1999). 62. 170 F.3d 1043 (11th Cir. 1999). 63. See OFS Fitel, 549 F.3d at 1356-57. 64. Id. at 1356. 65. Id. 66. Id. at 1358. 67. 356 U.S. 677 (1958). 68. OFS Fitel, 54......

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