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Matchpoint Solutions, A California Corporation v. Information Management Consulting

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


October 3, 2012

MATCHPOINT SOLUTIONS, A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT CONSULTING, INC., A TEXAS CORPORATION, AND
FRANCES T. KHUONG, AN INDIVIDUAL, DEFENDANTS.

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF 11 SUBJECT-MATTER JURISDICTION

Defendants Information Management Consulting, Inc. ("IMC") and Frances T. Khuong ("Khuong") (collectively, "Defendants") move to 19 dismiss the complaint of Plaintiff Matchpoint Solutions 20 ("Plaintiff") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) 21 for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. ECF Nos. 1 ("Compl."), 8 22 ("Mot."), 9 ("Brief ISO Mot."). Plaintiff filed an opposition.

ECF No. 18 ("Opp'n"). Defendants did not file a reply. The Court 24 determines that the motion is suitable for decision without oral 25 argument. Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Defendants' motion. 27 Plaintiff filed its complaint before this Court on May 15, 18 2012, asserting seven causes of action arising from an employment dispute in Texas with its former subcontractor Khuong, including 2 Khuong's alleged breach of an amended settlement agreement. The 3 subcontracting agreement between Khuong and Plaintiff provides for 4 venue and personal jurisdiction in the courts of California 5 encompassing Alameda County. See Compl. Ex. A ("Contract") ¶ 6 18(g). As to subject-matter jurisdiction, Plaintiff invokes this 7 Court's diversity jurisdiction. Compl. ¶ 4. 8

The requirements of diversity jurisdiction are familiar: There 9 must be complete diversity of citizenship between the parties and 10 an amount in controversy greater than $75,000. 28 U.S.C. § court 11 1332(a)(1). Plaintiff adequately alleges diversity of citizenship. For the Northern District of California C ct 12 See Compl. ¶¶ 1-3. Defendants' challenge rests on the amount-in- i str i 13 controversy requirement. In their two-page brief, Defendants argue tates D that, because they have moved for dismissal, Plaintiff now bears the burden of showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the 14 15 ted 16 amount-in-controversy requirement is satisfied.

Defendants are wrong. "Where the plaintiff originally files 18 in federal court, the amount in controversy is determined from the 19 face of the pleadings." Geographic Expeditions, Inc. v. Estate of 20 Lhotka ex rel. Lhotka, 599 F.3d 1102, 1106 (9th Cir. 2010) 21 (internal quotation marks omitted). "To justify dismissal, it must 22 appear to a legal certainty that the claim is really for less than 23 the jurisdictional amount." Id. Here, Plaintiff alleges the 24 requisite amount in controversy. Compl. ¶¶ 68, 88, 96, 103. By 25 failing to address the correct standard, Defendants fail to show to 26 a legal certainty that Plaintiff's allegations are insufficient. 27 Moreover, the Court is satisfied that the Complaint, which seeks, 28 among other things, restitution of over $21,000, additional tort damages in amounts to be proven, plus punitive damages, meets the 2 amount-in-controversy requirement. Id. at 20-21 (prayer for 3 relief). Accordingly, the Court DENIES Defendants' motion to 4 dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. 5

Normally, the Court would not have considered Defendants' 6 motion at all, because Defendants' counsel, Thomas C. Barron, of 7 Dallas, Texas, has failed to show that he is eligible to practice 8 before this Court under Civil Local Rules 11-1 or 11-3, or to 9 comply with other local rules, despite having been ordered to do so 10 by Judge Beeler on July 9, 2012. ECF No. 9. The Court entertained Defendants' motion only because of its independent, overriding duty C ct 12 to ensure that subject-matter jurisdiction is exercised properly.

Mr. Barron is advised that further failures to comply with this 14 Court's local rules and orders will not be tolerated. The Court 15 hereby ORDERS Mr. Barron to show by affidavit that he has been admitted to practice before this Court. Mr. Barron shall comply within thirty (30) days of the signature date of this Order. 18 Failure to do so may result in sanctions. Civ. L.R. 11-8. 19

IT IS SO ORDERED.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

20121003

© 1992-2012 VersusLaw Inc.



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