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:
Proceedings: (In Chambers)
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: LOCAL CONTROVERSY EXCEPTION TO CAFA
On January 31, 2012, Plaintiffs Grayling Taylor and Bruce Brown brought a class action against Defendants Shippers Transport Express, Inc. ("Shippers") and Does 1-10. (Docket No. 1, [Not. of Removal], Ex. A [Compl.].) On February 22, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC") naming as Defendants Shippers, SSA Marine, Inc ("SSA"), and Does 1-10 (collectively "Defendants"). (Id., Ex. B [First Am. Compl. ("FAC")].) Plaintiffs bring various state claims based on the California Labor Code and Business and Professions Code. (FAC at
1.) Plaintiffs allege that Defendants "misclassif[ied] their truck drivers as independent contractors and den[ied] them the wage and hour rights and protections of employees under the California Labor Code and applicable Wage Order." (FAC ¶ 1.) Plaintiff Brown, specifically as "class plaintiff", "seeks to represent a class composed of all individuals retained as truck drivers by [Shippers] in California within the past four (4) years." (FAC ¶ 30.)
On March 22, 2013, SSA removed this action on the basis of diversity under the Class Action Fairness Act ("CAFA"), 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). (Not. of Removal at 1.) SSA accurately established that the matter involves a controversy in excess of $5,000,000 and "each of plaintiffs Brown and Taylor, who are members of the putative class, is a citizen of a state different from defendant SSA and diversity exists." (Id. ¶¶ 13, 14-31.) However, there is another hurdle that must be addressed. The information now available to the Court suggests that this action may fall within the bounds of the "local controversy" exception to CAFA. 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(4)(A). This exception provides:
(4) A district court shall decline to exercise jurisdiction under paragraph (2)--
(A) (i) over a class action in which--
(I) greater than two-thirds of the members of all proposed plaintiff classes in the aggregate are citizens of the State in ...