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Juana Munoz v. Atlantic Express of L.A.

October 30, 2012

JUANA MUNOZ
v.
ATLANTIC EXPRESS OF L.A., INC., ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding: The Honorable George H. King, Chief U.S. District Judge

E-Filed - JS-6

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

Beatrice Herrera N/A N/A

Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder Tape No.

Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants:

None None

Proceedings: (In Chambers) Order re: Plaintiff's Motion to Remand and for Attorney's Fees and Costs (Dkt. No. 16).

This matter is before us on Plaintiff Juana Munoz's ("Plaintiff") Motion to Remand and for Attorney's Fees and Costs ("Motion"). We have considered the papers filed in support of and in opposition to the Motion, and deem this matter appropriate for resolution without oral argument. L.R. 7-15. As the Parties are familiar with the facts, we repeat them only as necessary. Accordingly, we rule as follows.

Background

On June 8, 2012, Plaintiff filed this wage and hour class action in state court against her former employer, Defendants Atlantic Express of L.A., Inc. and Atlantic Express of California, Inc. (collectively, "Defendants"). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants failed to pay her and other bus drivers for all hours worked, including overtime wages earned, "by requiring them to perform certain tasks off-the-clock." (Compl. ¶ 1). Plaintiff alleges that such tasks include certain pre- and post-trip activities such as obtaining a tachometer to install on the bus, conducting a visual inspection of the bus prior to installing the tachometer, and completing driver logs. (Id. ¶ 17). Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants failed to provide her and other class members with rest periods as required by California id. ¶¶ 1, 18), to pay the required minimum wage for all hours they worked, to provide them with all wages due upon termination or resignation, and to provide them with accurate wage statements, (id. ¶

Based on these allegations, Plaintiff asserts the following six claims: (1) violation of California Labor Code sections 216, 1194, 1194.2, and 1197 (failure to pay compensation for all hours worked and minimum wage violations); (2) violation of Labor Code section 1194 (failure to pay overtime compensation); (3) violation of Labor Code sections 226.7 and 512 (failure to pay rest period compensation); (4) violation of Labor Code section 203 (waiting time penalties); (5) violation of Labor Code section 226 (failure to provide accurate itemized statements); and (6) violation of California Business and Professions Code sections 17200, et seq.

On July 13, 2012, Defendants removed this action to this Court pursuant to the doctrine of complete preemption under the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 185. The terms of Plaintiff and other class members' employment were governed by a Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") between Atlantic Express of L.A., Inc. and Teamsters Local 572. On September 19, 2012, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to remand this action to state court.

Legal Standard

Typically, a plaintiff is considered the master of her complaint, and thus "[t]he presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed by the 'well-pleaded complaint rule,' which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint." Caterpillar v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). Where a defendant raises preemption as a defense to a plaintiff's claims, preemption typically cannot provide the basis for subject matter jurisdiction. See id. at 392-93. Under the doctrine of complete preemption, however, "the pre-emptive force of a statute is so 'extraordinary' that it 'converts an ordinary state common-law complaint into one stating a federal claim for purposes of the well-pleaded complaint ...


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