The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Gary Allen Feess
Present: The Honorable GARY ALLEN FEESS
Renee Fisher None N/A Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder Tape No.
Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants: None None
Proceedings: (In Chambers)
I. INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND
At issue here is Plaintiff's motion for remand under the "home state controversy" exception to the Class Action Fairness Act ("CAFA"). (Docket No. 18, Mem.) In order for Plaintiff's motion to be granted, Plaintiff must establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that two-thirds or more of the proposed class are citizens of California. 28 U.S.C 1332(d)(4)(B). No other aspect of that section is at issue here.
On April 27, 2012, Plaintiff Antonio Romo filed this class action complaint against Defendants Panda Restaurant Group, Inc., and Panda Express, Inc. (collectively, "Defendants"), in Riverside County Superior Court. (Docket No. 1, Not, Ex. C [Compl.].) Plaintiff filed the complaint on behalf of a putative class consisting of all non-exempt or hourly paid employees who worked for Defendants in California within four years prior to the filing of the complaint, alleging that Defendants deprived the putative class of meal and rest periods, or forced them to work during such periods without compensation; failed to pay class members at least minimum wage for all hours worked; and failed to timely pay all wages to the class both during employment and upon termination. (Id. ¶¶ 15, 18.)
On June 18, 2012, Defendants timely removed the action to this Court, pursuant to CAFA, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). (Not. at 1.) On June 29, 2012, the Court ordered Defendants to show cause as to why the action should not be remanded for lack of subject matter jurisdiction due to the "home state controversy" exception to CAFA (28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(4)(B)). (Docket No. 12, 6/29/12 Order; ) Defendants responded and Plaintiff replied to the response. (Docket No. 16, OSC Response; Docket No. 18, Reply.) Because of Ninth Circuit precedent regarding the burden of showing a CAFA exception applies, Serrano v. 180 Connect, Inc., 478 F.3d 1018, 1024 (9th Cir. 2007), the Court construed Plaintiff's reply as a motion for remand. (Docket No. 24, 7/24/12 Order.) Defendants filed their opposition to Plaintiff's motion for remand. (Docket No. 27, Opp.) Plaintiff replied to Defendants' opposition. (Docket No. 31, Reply.)
On the basis of these papers and case law regarding CAFA's home state controversy exception, discussed below, the Court finds that Plaintiff has met his burden and the exception applies. Accordingly, the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction. The Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion for remand. Due to this decision, the Court DENIES as MOOT Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Docket No. 21.)