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City of Natchez v. Titan Tire Corporation of Natchez

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division

March 14, 2018

CITY OF NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI PLAINTIFF
v.
TITAN TIRE CORPORATION OF NATCHEZ DEFENDANT

          ORDER AND OPINION

          DAVID BRAMLETTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is a Motion to Remand [Doc. 7] filed by the Plaintiff, the City of Natchez, Mississippi (the “City”).

         Background

         The City sued Titan Tire Corporation of Natchez (“Titan”) in Adams County Circuit Court, alleging Titan breached a lease that it was assigned when it bought the assets of the bankrupt Condere Corporation in an 11 U.S.C. § 363 sale completed two decades ago.

         Titan removed the case to this Court, invoking federal bankruptcy jurisdiction.[1" name="FN1" id= "FN1">1] Titan casts the City's suit as a “collateral attack” on the § 363 sale and insists that all claims the City asserts at least “relate to” the Condere Corporation bankruptcy.

         The City moves to remand and asks the Court to award it the costs it incurred opposing removal.

         I

         The Court has original but not exclusive jurisdiction of civil proceedings arising under, arising in, or related to cases under title 11 of the United States Code. 28 U.S.C. § 1334(b). Because these categories operate conjunctively, the Court need only ask if this case at least “relates to” a case under title 11. In re Bass, 171 F.3d 1016');">171 F.3d 1016, 1022 (5th Cir. 1999).

         A

         proceeding “relates to” a case under title 11 if “the outcome of that proceeding could conceivably have any effect on the estate being administered in bankruptcy.” In re Wood, 825 F.2d 90, 93 (5th Cir. 1987) (Wisdom, J.) (internal quotations omitted).

         A

         Titan does not explain how the outcome of this case could “conceivably have any effect” on the estate of the Condere Corporation. Wood, 825 F.2d at 93. Instead, Titan points to the bankruptcy court's jurisdiction to interpret its § 363 order approving the sale of the Condere Corporation's assets to Titan.

         Titan insists that bankruptcy jurisdiction exists because this suit “collaterally attacks” the bankruptcy court's § 363 order.[2] And because that § 363 order permitted Titan to buy the Condere Corporation's assets “free and clear” of interest, Titan continues, the City's allegation that Titan breached lease ...


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