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Carag v. Barnes & Noble, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 30, 2014

CASSANDRA CARAG, individually and on behalf of other members of the general public similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
BARNES & NOBLE, INC., a Delaware corporation; BARNES & NOBLE BOOKSELLERS, INC., a Delaware corporation; and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE

JOHN A. MENDEZ, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Cassandra Carag's ("Plaintiff") Motion to Remand (Doc. #3) and Motion to Strike (Doc. #4) portions of Defendants Barnes & Noble, Inc. ("Barnes & Noble") and Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Inc.'s (collectively "Defendants") Answer (Doc. #1-1).[1] Defendants opposed the motions (Doc. ##6, 5 respectively). Plaintiff filed replies (Doc. #7, 8).

I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The class action Complaint (Doc. #1-1) was filed in the Sacramento County Superior Court on November 27, 2013. Plaintiff brought the following claims against Defendants on her own behalf, as well as that of other members of the general public similarly situated: (1) Violation of California Labor Code[2] §§ 510 and 1198 (unpaid overtime); (2) Violation of §§ 226.7 and 512(a) (Unpaid Meal Period Premiums); (3) Violation of § 226.7 (Unpaid Rest Period Premiums); (4) Violation of §§ 1194, 1197, and 1197.1 (Unpaid Minimum Wages); (5) Violation of §§ 201 and 202 (Final Wages Not Timely Paid); (6) Violation of § 204 (Wages Not Timely Paid During Employment); (7) Violation of § 226(a) (Non-Compliant Wage Statements); (8) Violation of § 1174(d) (Failure to Keep Requisite Payroll Records); and (9) Violation of California Business & Professions Code §§ 17200, et seq. (Unfair Competition/Unfair Business Practices).

According to the Complaint, Defendants are a national book retailer operating a chain of bookstores. Plaintiff was an hourly-paid, non-exempt employee of Defendants from approximately May 2002 through April 2012. The proposed class is defined as "all current and former California-based... hourly-paid or non-exempt individuals employed by any of the Defendants at a Barnes & Noble' store located within the State of California at any time during the period from four years preceding the filing of this Complaint to final judgment." The Complaint seeks to recover the unpaid overtime compensation, compensation for missed meal and rest periods, payment and penalties for unpaid minimum wages, penalties for untimely payment of wages during employment and final wages, damages for improper wage statements and payroll records, and attorneys' fees.

On February 13, 2014, Defendants removed the action to this Court (Doc. #1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d), the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 ("CAFA"). Defendants asserted in their Notice of Removal that the alleged aggregate amount in controversy in this class action exceeds $5, 000, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, thus satisfying the amount in controversy requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2) and supplying this Court with jurisdiction over the matter. To support their contention, Defendants submitted the declaration of Barnes & Noble's Director of Human Resources Administration (Doc. #1-3), Patricia Woloshin-Williams ("Woloshin-Williams"), in which she states that based on a search of the relevant records she discovered that at least 3, 666 individuals worked as hourly or non-exempt employees at Barnes & Noble in California since November 2013.

II. OPINION

A. Request for Judicial Notice

Defendants request the Court judicially notice (Doc. #6-1) three documents pursuant to Rule 201 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Rule 201 provides that the Court may judicially notice a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it is generally known within the trial court's territorial jurisdiction; or can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.

The first two documents in Defendants' request are the Complaint and the notice of removal in this action. These are clearly documents the Court will rely on in ruling on the motions, and as such, the request is granted as to them.

The final document is a complaint filed in another action in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Although the Court can judicially notice complaints filed in other courts for the fact that they were therein filed, the Court does not find this document to be materially relevant to the matter before it. Accordingly, Defendants' request as to this other complaint is denied.

B. Motion to Remand

1. Applicable Standard

In her Motion to Remand, Plaintiff contends the Court should remand the matter because Defendants have failed to prove that the amount in controversy exceeds $5, 000, 000, as required for federal jurisdiction under CAFA. MTR at p. 2. She argues Defendants' calculations rely on speculation and unsubstantiated ...


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