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Harrison Kim v. Mosaic Sales Solutions Holding Company; and

February 28, 2011

HARRISON KIM,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MOSAIC SALES SOLUTIONS HOLDING COMPANY; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 50, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Through this putative class action, Harrison Kim ("Plaintiff") seeks damages on behalf of himself and all similarly situated individuals ("Class"), alleging that Mosaic Sales Solutions Holding Company ("Defendant") failed to fully compensate its hourly employees in violation of the California Labor Code. Plaintiff originally filed suit in the Superior Court of California for the County of Sacramento. Defendant has since removed to this Court under the Class Action Fairness Act*fn1 ("CAFA").

Plaintiff now moves to remand arguing that the amount in controversy is less than the jurisdictional requirement under CAFA. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion to Remand is granted.*fn2

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's state court complaint ("Complaint") alleges that Defendant instituted a "uniform and systematic scheme" of wage abuse, pursuant to which its employees were required to work uncompensated hours. (Compl. ¶ 3.) According to Plaintiff, Defendant assigned its employees tasks that could not be completed within scheduled hours while, at the same time, precluding them from recording the extra hours needed to accomplish those tasks. (Id. ¶ 25.) If employees did record extra hours, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants would alter or delete the pertinent time records. (Id.) As a result, Defendant allegedly failed to compensate employees for all hours worked, and also failed to pay overtime. (Id.) Plaintiff seeks damages, statutory penalties, interest, attorneys' fees, and injunctive relief. (See id. at 20-22).

Defendant removed to this Court on the basis of CAFA. (Notice of Removal ¶ 6.) Plaintiff now moves to remand arguing that Defendant has not established the $5,000,000 amount in controversy requirement under CAFA.

(Pl.'s Notice of Mot. Remand 2.) Defendant has offered calculations supporting an alleged amount in controversy of $5,149,636. (Def.'s Opp'n 11.) However, in the "Parties, Jurisdiction and Venue" section of the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that the "total damages for the entire case [do] not exceed $5,000,000." (Compl. ¶ 2.)

STANDARD

It is fundamental that federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Vacek v. United States Postal Serv., 447 F.3d 1141, 1145 (9th Cir. 2006). Under CAFA, federal courts have original jurisdiction over class actions with minimal diversity and an amount in controversy exceeding the jurisdictional requirement of $5,000,000. 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(2); Abrego Abrego v. The Dow Chemical Co., 443 F.3d 676, 680 (9th Cir. 2006). An action filed in state court may be removed if the federal court would have had original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. 1441(a). If a court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over a removed action, the case must be remanded. 28 U.S.C. 1447(c).

The party seeking removal has the burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction. Abrego Abrego, 443 F.3d at 685. As a result, under CAFA, the defendant must prove the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000,000. Guglielmino v. McKee Foods Corp., 506 F.3d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 2007). Courts may consider the allegations in the complaint, facts contained in the removal and summary judgment type evidence relevant to the amount in controversy at the time of removal.

Abrego Abrego, 443 F.3d at 690. The amount in controversy excludes interest and costs, but includes attorney's fees and penalties. Guglielmino, 506 F.3d at 700-01.

A defendant's burden of proof depends on the allegations in the complaint. Id. If the complaint affirmatively states that the amount in controversy is less than the jurisdictional requirement, then the defendant must prove that the jurisdictional requirement is met to a legal certainty. See Lowdermilk v. U.S. Bank National Ass'n, 479 F.3d 994, 1000-01 (9th Cir. 2007). However, if the complaint fails to affirmatively state a specific amount in controversy, then the defendant need only prove the jurisdictional requirement by a preponderance of the evidence. See id. at 998; see also Guglielmino, 506 F.3d at 699.

ANALYSIS

A. Amount in ...


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