ELIZABETH BLEVINS, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
SEYDI V. AKSUT, M.D., SELMA HEART INSTITUTE, PC, VAUGHAN REGION MEDICAL CENTER, LLC, LIFEPOINT HOSPITALS, INC., LIFEPOINT RC, INC., LIFEPOINT CSGP, LLC, BAPTIST MEDICAL CENTER SOUTH, JACKSON HOSPITAL & CLINIC, INC., Defendants-Appellees.
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Alabama D.C. Docket No. 2:15-cv-00120-CG-B
WILSON and JULIE CARNES, Circuit Judges, and HALL, [*] District Judge.
case arises out of Defendant Doctor Seydi V. Aksut's
alleged performance of unnecessary heart procedures. Two
issues are on appeal. First, we must decide whether the Class
Action Fairness Act's ("CAFA")
local-controversy provision, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(4),
precluded the district court from exercising federal-question
jurisdiction. And if not, we must decide whether Plaintiffs
allege that they were injured in their "business or
property, " 18 U.S.C. § 1964(c), under the
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
the district court sided with Defendants on both issues. We
affirm in part and vacate in part. We affirm the denial of
Plaintiffs' motion to remand because CAFA's
local-controversy provision does not prohibit district courts
from exercising federal-question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. But we vacate the district court's grant of
Defendants' motion to dismiss because Plaintiffs allege
economic injuries that are recoverable under RICO.
to Plaintiffs, after an examination, Doctor Aksut would
falsely tell a patient that the patient needed heart surgery.
Doctor Askut would then perform the procedure at a facility
operated by Defendants Selma Heart Institute, P.C., LifePoint
Hospitals, Inc., LifePoint RC, Inc., LifePoint CSGP, Inc.,
Baptist Medical Center South, or Jackson Hospital &
Clinic, Inc. Defendants would then bill the patient for the
procedure. According to the complaint, each Plaintiff
underwent some type of unnecessary procedure at one of these
learning about this practice, Plaintiffs filed suit in
February 2015 in the Circuit Court of Dallas County, Alabama.
Plaintiffs' complaint asserts, among other things, civil
RICO claims and alleges that Defendants operated a
racketeering enterprise through which they performed and
billed for the unnecessary heart procedures.
timely removed the case to the Southern District of Alabama
based on federal-question jurisdiction. Defendants then moved
to dismiss the complaint and argued that Plaintiffs allege
only personal injuries, which are not recoverable under RICO,
and that they failed to plead sufficient facts to support
their claims. Around the same time, Plaintiffs moved to
remand and argued that CAFA's local-controversy provision
prohibited the district court from exercising jurisdiction.
magistrate judge assigned to the case reported and
recommended that the district court deny Plaintiffs'
motion to remand because CAFA was inapplicable and grant
Defendants' motion to dismiss because Plaintiffs had
failed to plead RICO-recoverable injuries. After entertaining
objections to the report and recommendation, the district
court adopted it as its opinion and dismissed the
case. Plaintiffs now appeal.
Standards of Review
review the denial of Plaintiffs' motion to remand de
novo. See Henderson v. Wash. Nat'l Ins.
Co., 454 F.3d 1278, 1281 (11th Cir. 2006). We also
review the grant of Defendants' motion to dismiss de
novo, "and we must accept all factual allegations
in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most
favorable to [Plaintiffs]." Id. (quotation
appeal, Plaintiffs argue that the district court erred by not
remanding the case because CAFA's local-controversy
provision precluded it from exercising jurisdiction. And even
if it appropriately exercised jurisdiction, Plaintiffs
contend that the district court should have denied
Defendants' motion to dismiss because ...