Present: The Honorable CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder Tape No.
Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants:
Proceedings: (In Chambers:) ORDER AFFIRMING BANKRUPTCY
COURT JUDGMENT (filed 6/14/2011)
INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND
The Court finds this motion appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; Local Rule 7-15.
On April 2, 2010, plaintiff-appellees John Ray, Lori Northcutt, and Robert Hagan (collectively, "appellees") filed their initial complaint in the Orange County Superior Court against Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation; Fidelity National Title Insurance Company; Commonwealth Land Title Company; Chicago Title Insurance Company; Fidelity National Financial, Inc.; and Does 1 through 50, inclusive (collectively, "Original Defendants").
On May 26, 2010, the Original Defendants removed the action to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California ("the Bankruptcy Court") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1452(a), Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9027, and Local Bankruptcy Rule 9027-1. The Original Defendants additionally alleged an independent basis for federal question jurisdiction, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) and (b). On June 2, 2010, after removal, the Original Defendants filed a motion to dismiss as well as a motion to transfer venue to the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ("the Virginia Bankruptcy Court"), where the bankruptcy proceeding for LandAmerica Financial Group, Inc. ("LandAmerica") was pending.*fn1
Title IN RE LANDAMERICA FINANCIAL GROUP, INC.
On June 22, 2010, appellees filed their first amended complaint ("FAC") against Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation; Commonwealth Land Title Company; and Does 1 through 100, inclusive (collectively, "appellants"),*fn2 alleging claims for (1) breach of contract; (2) failure to pay wages in violation of Cal. Lab. Code §§ 201--203; (3) violation of Cal. Lab. Code § 226; and (4) unfair competition in violation of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, et seq.On September 29, 2010, the Bankruptcy Court granted appellants' motion to transfer venue to the Virginia Bankruptcy Court.
On February 11, 2011, the Virginia Bankruptcy Court exercised its discretion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1334(c)(1) and abstained from hearing the proceeding. The Virginia Bankruptcy Court transferred venue back to the Bankruptcy Court pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1412 and Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Court Procedure 7087, stating that "the question of equitable remand on whether the court ought to exercise the alternative basis for federal court jurisdiction is left to the transferor court." Virginia Bankr. Op., Appellants' Excerpts of Record ("ER"), Exh. 12. On March 18, 2011, appellees filed a motion to remand the action in the Bankruptcy Court. On May 3, 2011, the Bankruptcy Court granted the motion to remand the case to the Orange County Superior Court.
On May 19, 2011, appellants filed their notice of appeal of the Bankruptcy Court's decision to remand the case to the Orange County Superior Court.*fn3 On June 14, 2011, appellants filed their opening brief; appellees responded on July 25, 2011; and appellants replied ...