The full case caption appears at the end of this opinion.
Easterbrook, Circuit Judge. Six plaintiffs filedsuit in Illinois, seeking to represent a class ofauto buyers and lessees whose vehicles had notbeen painted properly. Two of the namedplaintiffs are residents of Illinois, four areresidents of Michigan. They sought damages underboth Illinois and Michigan law. ChryslerCorporation, the defendant, removed the action tofederal court, asserting that it could have beenfiled in federal court originally under thediversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. sec.1441(a).Chrysler stated that it was incorporated inDelaware and had its principal place of businessin Michigan. (Chrysler has since merged withDaimler-Benz, but the citizenship ofDaimlerChrysler, the resulting entity, does notmatter to cases pending when the merger occurred.For simplicity we refer throughout to”Chrysler.”) The presence of four plaintiffs fromMichigan, who the notice of removal identified as”citizens” rather than just “residents” of thatstate, was one obvious obstacle to federaljurisdiction. The small stakes of each claim wereanother. It is hard to see how any plaintiff’sdamages could be more than a fraction of thevehicle’s price, see Gardynski-Leschuck v. FordMotor Co., 142 F.3d 955 (7th Cir. 1998), andChrysler did not allege that any of the cars costmore than $75,000, the minimum amount incontroversy. 28 U.S.C. sec.1332(a). Unless atleast one of the representative plaintiffs couldrecover more than $75,000 individually, the casewas not removable. See In re Brand NamePrescription Drugs Antitrust Litigation, 123 F.3d599, 607 (7th Cir. 1997). Cf. Stromberg MetalWorks, Inc. v. Press Mechanical, Inc., 77 F.3d928 (7th Cir. 1996). The district court remanded the proceedings,ruling that Chrysler had not established eithercomplete diversity of citizenship or thejurisdictional stakes. 8 F. Supp. 2d 814 (N.D.Ill. 1998). Chrysler asked the district court totreat the Michigan plaintiffs as equivalent tofraudulently joined defendants and to disregardthem for purposes of determining diversity. Thedistrict court understood this as a request todepart from Strawbridge v. Curtiss, 7 U.S. (3Cranch) 267 (1806), and to replace completediversity with minimal diversity; the judgedeclined, observing that each plaintiff had areal, personal claim. Moreover, the judgeconcluded, even with punitive damages added tothe loss caused by lousy paint, no plaintiffcould hope to recover more than $30,000 withoutcreating a ratio of punitive to actual damages sohigh that it would become untenable. Indeed, forany class member’s share of the damages to exceed$75,000, compensatory damages would have to be$30,000 apiece and if (as the judge thought) theclass has about 1,000 members, the aggregatepunitive award would have to exceed $45 million,a sum the district judge thought impossibly highfor a dispute about defective paint. Cf. BMW ofNorth America, Inc. v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559 (1996).Although review of remands based on lack offederal jurisdiction is prohibited by 28 U.S.C.sec.1447(d), see Gravitt v. Southwestern BellTelephone Co., 430 U.S. 723 (1977); In re AmocoPetroleum Additives Co., 964 F.2d 706, 708 (7thCir. 1992), Chrysler not only appealed but alsosought a writ of mandamus. We dismissed theappeal and denied the petition; the case returnedto state court. So what is the dispute doing here again? “Anorder remanding the case may require payment ofjust costs and any actual expenses, includingattorney fees, incurred as a result of theremoval.” 28 U.S.C. sec.1447(c). The districtcourt awarded plaintiffs $7,500 as expensesoccasioned by the wrongful removal. That is anindependently appealable order, unaffected bysec.1447(d). See LaMotte v. Roundy’s, Inc., 27F.3d 314, 315 (7th Cir. 1994). Chrysler’s themeis that because it removed the suit “in goodfaith” it should not have been ordered to payplaintiffs’ legal expenses, even if removal wasimproper. Chrysler also contends that a localrule of the district court interfered with itsopportunity to demonstrate federal jurisdictionand it insists that the award is too high becausethe district court did not require plaintiffs’counsel to document his hours and rates. But thefoundation of Chrysler’s argument–thatsec.1447(c) authorizes sanctions againstlitigants that remove in “bad faith”–is unsound.We held in Tenner v. Zurek, 168 F.3d 328, 329-30(7th Cir. 1999), that sec.1447(c) is not asanctions rule; it is a fee-shifting statute,entitling the district court to make whole thevictorious party. An opponent’s bad faith maystrengthen the position of a party that obtaineda remand, but it is not essential to an award,any more than under the multitude of other fee-shifting statutes. Chrysler contends that we should exercise denovo review; this argument is incompatible withmany decisions requiring deferential review ofawards under both fee-shifting and sanctionsstatutes. See, e.g., Cooter & Gell v. HartmarxCorp., 496 U.S. 384 (1990); Pierce v. Underwood,487 U.S. 552 (1988); Mars Steel Corp. v.Continental Bank N.A., 880 F.2d 928
(7th Cir.1989) (en banc); Tenner, 168 F.3d at 329. Nothingin the district court’s approach smacks of anabuse of discretion; to the contrary, the judgewould have abused his discretion had he deniedthe plaintiffs’ request for fees, becauseChrysler has behaved absurdly–not onlythroughout this case, but also in other similarsuits, all of which Chrysler removed and all ofwhich have been remanded by federal judges acrossthe nation. Removal was unjustified under settled law. Noneof the plaintiffs is apt to recover anythingclose to $75,000, and Chrysler’s contention thatpunitive damages should be aggregated forpurposes of determining the amount in controversyclashes with established rules. Four of the namedplaintiffs hale from Michigan, so the litigantsare not completely diverse. Even if theMichiganders were added to prevent removal, thatis their privilege; plaintiffs as masters of thecomplaint may include (or omit) claims or partiesin order to determine the forum. Caterpillar Inc.v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). Neithersec.1332 nor any case of which we are awareprovides that defendants may discard plaintiffsin order to make controversies removable. It isenough that the claims be real, that the partiesnot be nominal. See Howell v. TribuneEntertainment Co., 106 F.3d 215
, 218-19 (7th Cir.1997); Poulos v. Naas Foods, Inc., 959 F.2d 69(7th Cir. 1992); Matchett v. Wold, 818 F.2d 574(7th Cir. 1987). The Michigan plaintiffs’ claimsare every bit as real as the Illinois plaintiffs’claims–and no rule of law bars a class actionthat includes representatives from other states.Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Shutts, 472 U.S. 797(1985). After the district court remanded the case,Chrysler filed a frivolous appeal and a frivolouspetition for mandamus. On this appeal, which isat least within our jurisdiction, Chrysler arguedfor de novo review in the teeth of contrarydecisions by the Supreme Court and this court(including one, Tenner, that deals directly withsec.1447(c)), contended that a district courtlocal rule concerning the conduct of discoveryviolates the tenth amendment (we’re not fooling,Chrysler actually advances this argument), andproceeded as if “bad faith” were vital. As wehave said, it is not essential–but almost everystep of Chrysler’s conduct throughout thislitigation has been in bad faith (objectivelyunderstood to mean frivolous tactics andarguments, see Lee v. Clinton, No. 99-3250 (7thCir. Apr. 10, 2000); In re TCI Ltd., 769 F.2d 441(7th Cir. 1985)). None of Chrysler’s othersubstantive arguments requires separate comment. According to Chrysler, an award of $7,500 istoo high, because not adequately documented. Wewould have been inclined to hold the award toolow, had the plaintiffs filed a cross appeal, butthey did not. True enough, the plaintiffs did notfile the elaborate documentation required forsubstantial awards calculated under the lodestarmethod, but $7,500 is not a particularly largesum in commercial litigation (we’re willing tobet that it is much less than what Chrysler’slawyers charged their client for services inconnection with removal, which included extensivebriefing, interrogatories, and two requests forappellate review). District judges havediscretion to tailor the documentationrequirement so that it is appropriate in light ofthe stakes; otherwise the aggrieved parties mightspend more detailing their entitlements than theyreceive under sec.1447(c). See Henry v.Webermeier, 738 F.2d 188, 193 (7th Cir. 1984).Whether or not a local rule of the NorthernDistrict of Illinois calls for more documentationas a norm, each judge may decide when strictapplication of the local rules makes sense.Chrysler points to cases in which the NorthernDistrict of Illinois has demanded additionaldocumentation, and others in which we havesustained district courts’ right to enforce theirlocal rules to the letter, but none in which wehave held that every district court must do thison every occasion. Because sec.1447(c) is a fee-shifting statute,the plaintiffs as prevailing parties arepresumptively entitled to recover the attorneys’fees incurred in defending their award.Commissioner of INS v. Jean, 496 U.S. 154 (1990).It works much like the provisions in the Rules ofCivil Procedure requiring the party thatunsuccessfully opposes a discovery request to paythe other side’s legal expenses. Rickels v. SouthBend, 33 F.3d 785 (7th Cir. 1994), holds thatFed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(4) is a fee-shifting rule,and that the victor therefore is entitled torecover fees on appeal. “The rationale of fee-shifting rules is that the victor should be madewhole–should be as well off as if the opponenthad respected his legal rights in the firstplace. This cannot be accomplished if the victormust pay for the appeal out of his own pocket.”33 F.3d at 787 (emphasis in original). Section1447(c) entitles plaintiffs to “just costs andany actual expenses, including attorney fees,incurred as a result of the removal”–andplaintiffs’ expenses on appeal, no less thantheir expenses in the district court, were”incurred as a result of the removal.”Unjustified removal complicates and extendslitigation; the American Rule requires parties tobear their expenses in one set of courts, butwhen their adversary wrongfully drags them intoa second judicial system the loser must expect tocover the incremental costs. Wisconsin v. Glick,782 F.2d 670 (7th Cir. 1986). Cf. Continental CanCo. v. Chicago Truck Drivers Pension Fund, 921F.2d 126 (7th Cir. 1990). This is the secondappeal (plus a petition for mandamus) inChrysler’s never-say-die campaign, which appearsdesigned to increase its adversary’s expenses(and thus discourage litigation) without regardto the merits of plaintiffs’ position. An awardof fees for work on appeal will reduce theeffectiveness of that tactic. Any more in thesame vein from Chrysler will lead to punitivesanctions on top of the fees. The judgment is affirmed, with appellees torecover costs and other expenses (includingattorneys’ fees). Plaintiffs have 14 days to filea statement of the reasonable costs, expenses,and fees incurred on this appeal.
Garbie, et al. v. Daimler Chrysler Corporation In theUnited States Court of AppealsFor the Seventh Circuit No. 99-3539 Craig Garbie, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., Defendant-Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Courtfor the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 98 C 2280–Robert W. Gettleman, Judge. Argued April 19, 2000–Decided May 1, 2000 Before Posner, Chief Judge, and Coffey andEasterbrook, Circuit Judges.