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Caselman v. Pier 1 Imports (U.S.), Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

January 7, 2015

KIMBERLY ERIN CASELMAN, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
PIER 1 IMPORTS (U.S.), INC., DOES ONE through TEN inclusive, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION REGARDING SUGGESTION OF LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION

LUCY H. KOH, District Judge.

Defendant Pier 1 Imports (U.S.), Inc. ("Pier 1" or "Defendant") brings the instant Motion Regarding Suggestion of Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ECF No. 18 ("Mot."). Because plaintiff Kimberly Erin Caselman ("Plaintiff") no longer works for Pier 1, Defendant argues that Plaintiff's individual claim for injunctive relief is moot, depriving her of Article III standing to pursue an injunction on behalf of any putative class. Defendant does not contest Plaintiff's standing to pursue monetary relief.

Having considered the submissions of the parties, the relevant law, and the record in this case, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion Regarding Suggestion of Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court DISMISSES Plaintiff's claims for injunctive relief with leave to amend.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Allegations

Plaintiff began working as a sales associate at Defendant's San Jose store in November 2011. ECF No. 1 Ex. 3, First Amended Complaint ("FAC") ¶ 12. In November 2013, Plaintiff notified her store manager that she was pregnant. Id. ¶ 14. Pursuant to the manager's request, Plaintiff provided a statement from her doctor attesting that she was restricted from lifting more than fifteen pounds and climbing ladders during her pregnancy. Id. ¶ 15. Plaintiff's doctor estimated her due date to be July 7, 2014. Id. ¶ 13.

Based on the restrictions certified by Plaintiff's doctor, Defendant placed Plaintiff on an eight-week light duty assignment pursuant to the company's Light Duty Policy (the "Policy"). FAC ¶ 16. The Policy provides that "Light Duty assignments may be granted for a period of up to eight weeks" to "associates with temporary mild work restrictions." Id. ¶ 17. "In no event, " the Policy continues, "will temporary Light Duty assignments be extended for a period of more than eight weeks." Id. For "associates requiring an extended temporary Light Duty assignment, " the Policy explains that they "may qualify for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or for a Pier 1 Imports Medical Leave of Absence." Id. Plaintiff's eight-week light duty assignment began on November 26, 2013, and ended on January 16, 2014. Id. ¶ 16.

On January 9, 2014, Defendant sent Plaintiff a letter reiterating the company's eight-week light duty policy and requesting an updated physician's statement. FAC ¶ 19. On January 16, 2014, Plaintiff provided Defendant with the requested doctor's statement and asked Defendant to extend her pregnancy accommodations beyond eight weeks so that she could continue working. Id. Plaintiff's request was denied, and on January 17, 2014, Defendant placed Plaintiff on concurrent unpaid Pier 1 Medical Leave and California Pregnancy Disability Leave. Id. ¶ 21.

On June 12, 2014, Plaintiff gave birth to her son, who was born prematurely. ECF No. 26 at 2. Plaintiff claims she was disabled as a result of the childbirth until July 24, 2014. Id. Eight days earlier, on July 16, 2014, Plaintiff had requested that Defendant grant her an additional six weeks of leave to bond with her infant son. Id. Defendant denied her request, and Plaintiff ultimately resigned from Defendant's employ on August 6, 2014. Id.

B. Procedural History

Back on April 16, 2014, Plaintiff filed a class action lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court, alleging that Defendant had failed to reasonably accommodate conditions related to pregnancy in violation of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"), see Cal. Gov't Code § 12945(a)(3)(A), and Unfair Competition Law ("UCL"), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq. See ECF No. 1 Ex. 1. Plaintiff sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated. Id. On May 21, 2014, Plaintiff filed her FAC. The following day, Defendant removed the case to federal court. ECF No. 1. Defendant answered the FAC on July 24, 2014. ECF No. 11.

On September 12, 2014, Defendant filed the instant Motion Regarding Suggestion of Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction. To allow Plaintiff sufficient time to find "one or more class members with standing to pursue injunctive relief" to serve "as class representatives, " ECF No. 19 at 3, and finding good cause shown, the Court granted Plaintiff's Ex Parte Application to Extend Time to File an Opposition on September 19, 2014, see ECF No. 21. Plaintiff opposed the instant motion on December 4, 2014, ECF No. 44 ("Opp."), and Defendant replied on December 11, 2014, ECF No. 46.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

"[T]he deadline for making a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is prolonged by Rule 12(h)(3), which provides that [i]f the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.'" Wood v. City of San Diego, 678 F.3d 1075, 1082 (9th Cir. 2012) (second alteration in original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3)); see also Augustine v. United States, 704 F.2d 1074, 1075 n.3 (9th Cir. 1983) ("The matter of subject matter jurisdiction... may be raised by the parties at any time... as a Rule 12(h)(3) suggestion of lack of subject matter jurisdiction."). "Because standing and mootness both pertain ...


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