The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND (Docket No. 10)
On April 10, 2012, AGI Publishing, Inc. ("AGI") and Winton-Ireland Insurance Agency, Inc. ("Winton") (collectively "Plaintiffs") filed suit in Fresno County Superior Court asserting claims against Eric Stein; David Bell; Mike Johnson; Insured Solutions, Inc.; IS Agency, Inc.; IS Administrative Service, Inc.; IS Holdings, Inc.; HR Staffing, Inc. ("HR"); Syndicated Services, LLC; and Does 1-50 (collectively "Defendants"). The claims arise out of Defendants' issuance on April 12, 2011, of a certificate of insurance to Winton and its client, AGI. (Doc. 1-1, ¶ 16.)
On May 29, 2012, Defendant HR removed the action to this Court. On June 20, 2012, Plaintiff AGI filed a motion to remand the case to Fresno County Superior Court. Defendant HR filed an opposition to the motion to remand on July 3, 2012. (Doc. 16.) On July 11, 2012, Plaintiff AGI filed a reply brief in support of the motion to remand. (Doc. 17.) Pursuant to U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California Local Rule 230(g), the matter was deemed suitable for decision without oral argument and the July 18, 2012, hearing was vacated. (Doc. 20.) For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion to remand is GRANTED.
According to the complaint, on April 12, 2011, Defendants provided a certificate of insurance to Winton and its client, AGI, purporting to procure Workers Compensation insurance for Plaintiffs. (Doc. 1-1, ¶ 16.) Accidents occurred after April 12, 2011, and Workers Compensation claims were made to AGI by certain employees. (Doc. 1-1, ¶ 19.) When the claims were forwarded to the named insurance carriers, Plaintiffs were informed that the certificate issued by Defendants was "false and fraudulent." (Doc. 1-1, ¶ 19.)
The complaint alleges the following claims against all Defendants: (1) unfair competition; (2) intentional misrepresentation; (3) negligent misrepresentation; (4) intentional interference with prospective economic advantage; (5) negligent interference with prospective economic advantage; and (6) breach of contract. The first three claims are brought by both Plaintiffs, the fourth and fifth claims are brought by Winton, and the sixth claim is brought by AGI.
Defendant HR filed a notice of removal on May 29, 2012. Only the attorney for HR signed the removal notice, which does not allege that consent was obtained from any of the remaining defendants. (See Doc. 1.) The notice further appears to remove only the claims brought by AGI, i.e., claims one, two, three, and six of the complaint. (See Doc. 1, ¶ 1.) HR asserts that removal is proper on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332 and 1441(b). (Doc. 1, ¶¶ 5- 9.)
On June 20, 2012, Plaintiff AGI filed a motion to remand, contending that the removal was procedurally improper. (Doc. 10.) Specifically, AGI argues that HR failed to allege or obtain unanimous consent for the removal from all defendants, and HR's "attempt to only remove some of the claims asserted against it constitutes a fatal defect and requires remand." (Doc. 10, 3:23-27; 6:12-13.) HR filed an opposition on July 3, 2012, and AGI filed a reply on July 11, 2012. (Docs. 16; 17.)
A. Legal Standard For Remand
"A defendant may remove an action to federal court based on federal question jurisdiction or diversity jurisdiction." Hunter v. Philip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1441). It is presumed, however, "that a cause lies outside [the] limited jurisdiction [of the federal courts] and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).
"Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). The defendant always bears the burden of establishing that removal is proper and the court "resolves all ambiguity in favor of remand." Hunter, 582 F.3d at 1042.
The propriety of removal requires the consideration of whether the district court has original jurisdiction of the action; i.e., whether the case could have originally been filed in federal court based on a federal question, diversity of citizenship, or another statutory grant of jurisdiction. See Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). If the case is within the original jurisdiction of the district court, removal is proper so long as the defendant complied with the procedural requirements set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1446. If the case is not within the original jurisdiction of the district ...