United States District Court, C.D. California
Barbara Bailey, et al.
S. JAMES OTERO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
PROCEEDINGS (in chambers): ORDER GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND ACTION TO STATE COURT [Docket No. 15]
This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Remand and for Award of Attorneys' Fees and Costs (" Motion") brought by Plaintiffs Barbara Bailey (" Bailey") and Evangelyn Lin (" Lin") (collectively " Plaintiffs"), filed December 18, 2014. Defendant Redfin Corporation (" Defendant") filed an opposition to the Motion (" Opposition") on December 30, 2014. On January 6, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a reply supporting the Motion (" Reply"). The Court found the matter suitable for disposition without oral argument and vacated the hearing set for January 20, 2015. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS IN PART the instant Motion.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
The First Amended Complaint (" FAC") alleges the following. Defendant, a Delaware corporation, operates an online real estate brokerage and conducts business in California. (Arena Decl. Ex. A (" FAC") ¶ 4.) Plaintiffs were employed by Defendant in Los Angeles, California as field agents, conducting home showings, home inspections and open houses of Defendant. (FAC ¶ ¶ 1, 14.) Defendant employed Bailey as a field agent from December 2009 until summer of 2012 and Lin as a field agent from July of 2010 until February of 2013. (FAC ¶ 17-18.)
On June 14, 2013, Plaintiffs filed suit against Defendant in the Superior Court of California for Los Angeles County. On July 17, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a FAC on behalf of themselves and on behalf of all other aggrieved employees under the California Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (" PAGA"), California Labor Code § 2698. ( See generally FAC.) In the FAC, Plaintiffs alleged that Defendant violated California law by willfully misclassifying field agents as independent contractors when they are, in fact, employees. (FAC ¶ 9.) Due to this misclassification of field agents, Plaintiffs asserted that Defendant violated the following provisions of the California Labor Code: (1) failure to pay minimum wages, (2) failure to pay overtime, (3) failure to provide uninterrupted 30 minute meal breaks, (4) failure to provide uninterrupted 10 minute rest breaks, (5) failure to pay all wages due upon termination, (6) failure to reimburse for expenses incurred in the discharge of duties, and (7) failure to provide accurate wage statements. (FAC ¶ 9.) Plaintiffs seek unpaid overtime compensation, wages for missed meal and rest periods, restitution, attorneys' fees and costs, prejudgment interest, and other relief (FAC 20-23.)
Defendant filed its answer on August 19, 2013. (Notice of Removal Ex. D.) On November 19, 2014, Defendant removed the action to this Court. ( See generally Notice of Removal.) In its Notice of Removal, Defendant alleged that diversity jurisdiction existed under the Class Action Fairness Act (" CAFA"). (Notice of Removal 4.) In this present Motion, Plaintiffs seek remand to state court, arguing that no class claims are asserted in the Complaint or FAC and CAFA jurisdiction does not apply. ( See generally Mot.)
A. Legal Standard for Remand
A defendant " desiring to remove any civil action from a state court shall file in the district court of the United States a notice of removal containing a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal, together with a copy of all process, pleadings, and orders" served upon such defendant in such action. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a). " The notice of removal shall be filed within 30 days after the receipt by the defendant . . . of a copy of the initial pleading setting forth the claim of relief upon which such action or proceeding is based." 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(2)(B). However, " if the case stated by the initial pleading is not removable, a notice of removal may be filed within 30 days after receipt by the defendant...of a copy of an amended pleading, motion, order or other paper from which it may first be ascertained that the case is one which or has become removable." 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c).
" Failure to comply with the requirements of § 1446(b) constitutes a 'defect in removal procedure.'" Page v. City of Southfield, 45 F.3d 128, 131 (6th Cir. 1995) (citations omitted). " Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), a district court may remand an action . . . where there are procedural defects in removal." Washington v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., No. CV 09-01131 DDP, 2009 WL 1519894, at *1 (C.D. Cal. June 1, 2009).
B. Defendant's Basis for Removal
The Ninth Circuit " strictly construe[s] the removal statute against removal jurisdiction, " and thus " federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). " The strong presumption against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always has the burden of establishing that removal is proper." ...