Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Miguel Arriola v. Ws Packaging Group Inc et al


January 12, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable Jacqueline H. Nguyen



Present: The Honorable JACQUELINE H. NGUYEN

Alicia Mamer Not Reported N/A

Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder Tape No.

Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants: Not present Not present


The matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Miguel Arriola's Motion for Order Remanding Case to State Court ("Motion"; docket no. 5), filed on November 19, 2010. The Court has considered the briefs and supporting documents filed in this matter and deems the matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b); Local Rule 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing scheduled for January 24, 2011, is removed from the Court's calendar. For the reasons herein, the Court GRANTS the Motion and remands the action to the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.


Plaintiff originally filed suit in California Superior Court on September 17, 2010. Plaintiff's suit, a putative class action, seeks recovery for violations of California's Labor Code and Business and Professions Code. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have failed to provide employees, including Plaintiff, with a weekly allowance to maintain uniforms Defendants required them to wear, in violation of Labor Code section 2802 and applicable regulations. (Pl.'s Compl. (Notice of Removal Ex. A) ¶ 2.) Additionally, according to Plaintiff, Defendants pays wages through an ADP Visa Payroll Card, and ADP charges various fees through deductions from the balance "loaded" onto the cards, resulting in violations of Labor Code sections 201, 202, 203, 204, and 212. (Id. at ¶ 3.) Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants failed to comply with Labor Code section 226(a), which requires employers to provide its employees with itemized wage statements. (Id. at ¶ 16.) On the basis of these allegations, Plaintiff brought seven claims, six of these based on the Labor Code violations, and the seventh based on California's Unfair Competition Law ("UCL"), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq.

On October 21, 2010, Defendants removed the action to this Court. Defendants asserted federal jurisdiction exists over this action based on 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), diversity jurisdiction, and based on § 1332(d), the Class Action Fairness Act ("CAFA"). Plaintiff then filed the instant Motion, asserting that Defendants had failed to establish diversity jurisdiction under § 1332(a) or § 1332(d). On January 3, 2011, Defendants filed an Opposition (docket no. 7) supported by three declarations (docket nos. 8--10)



Case No. 2:10-cv-07941-JHN -PLAx

Date January 12, 2011

Miguel Arriola v. WS Packaging Group Inc et al

and a request for judicial notice (docket no. 11).*fn1 In the Opposition, Defendants conceded that they could not meet the standard of proof regarding the amount in controversy requirement under § 1332(a) and asserted that federal jurisdiction exists based only on CAFA. (Defs.' Opp'n 1 n.1.) On January 10, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Reply and supporting declaration (docket no. 12.)

Legal Standard

Removal to federal court is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1441, which in relevant part states that "any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the defendants." 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). However, the Court may remand a case to state court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). "The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction is on the party invoking federal jurisdiction." U.S. v. Marks, 530 F.3d 799, 810 (9th Cir. 2008). "Because of the Congressional purpose to restrict the jurisdiction of the federal courts on removal," courts must strictly construe the removal statute and rule against removal "if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir. 1996) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Under CAFA, this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over a class action in which at least one member of the putative class is diverse from at least one defendant, and the aggregated claims of the putative class members exceed the value of $5,000,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2). For purposes of removal, the burden of proof in establishing federal jurisdiction varies "depending on the situation and the nature of the plaintiff's complaint." Guglielmino v. McKee Foods Corp., 506 F.3d 696, 700 (9th Cir. 2007). As relevant here, if "it is unclear or ambiguous from the face of a state-court complaint whether the requisite amount in controversy is pled, [courts] apply a preponderance of the evidence standard." Id. at 699. This standard requires the removing defendant to "provide evidence establishing that it is more likely than not that the amount in controversy" is satisfied for diversity purposes. Sanchez v. Monumental Life Ins. Co., 102 F.3d 398, 404 (9th Cir. 1996) (internal quotation marks omitted). To make this determination, the court should consider, in addition to the complaint itself, "facts presented in the removal petition as well as any summary-judgment-type evidence relevant to the amount in controversy at the time of removal," such as affidavits or declarations. Valdez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1117 (9th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks omitted); Muniz v. Pilot Travel Ctrs. LLC, No. CIV. S-07-0325 FCD EFB, 2007 WL 1302504, at *5 (E.D. Cal. May 1, 2007). A court may consider supplemental evidence later proffered by the removing defendant, which was not originally included in the removal notice. Cohn v. Petsmart, Inc., 281 F.3d 837, 840 n.1 (9th Cir. 2002).


Plaintiff's Complaint does not allege a specific amount in controversy, rendering applicable the preponderance of the evidence standard.*fn2 However, the Court finds that Defendants have failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy in this action exceeds $5,000,000.*fn3

In their Opposition, Defendants present projections of Plaintiff's recovery under the various causes of action in the Complaint and estimate recovery of attorney fees at a rate of 30%. (Defs.' Opp'n 10--12.) The total amount in controversy projected by Defendants is $6,102,131. (See id. at 12.) The Court finds Defendants' total projection unlikely. The most glaring deficiency is that Defendants include in their projection both damages recovery for Plaintiff's claims under the Labor Code and restitution under the UCL. However, the basis for recovery of restitution under the UCL is the same violations of the Labor Code for which Plaintiff might recover damages. As double recovery would not be allowed, the amount projected for restitution under the UCL must be discounted from the total. Defendants project that the restitution amount would be $1,490,935. (Notably, this amount is merely a sum of three of the amounts Defendants previously projected for Labor Code violations.) Once that amount is subtracted from Defendants' total projected amount in controversy, the remainder is $4,611,196, less than the jurisdictional minimum. On this basis alone, the Court concludes that Defendants have not met their burden of proof as to the amount in controversy requirement under CAFA.*fn4 Accordingly, the Court finds that the requirements of federal jurisdiction under CAFA are not met in this case.


For these reasons, the Court GRANTS the Motion (docket no. 5) and remands the case to the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.*fn5


: N/A

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.