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Adams v. Toysr'Us-Delaware, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

January 29, 2015

CHARLENE ADAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
TOYS R' U.S. — DELAWARE, INC., Defendant.

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO REMAND Re: Dkt. No. 9

MARIA-ELENA JAMES, Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Charlene Adams ("Plaintiff") filed this putative class action in Alameda County Superior Court, alleging that Defendant Toys R' Us-Delaware, Inc. ("Defendant") violated California labor laws by failing to reimburse its employees for mileage expenses. Compl. at 2, Dkt. No. 1-1. Defendant removed the case to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, alleging that the Court has original jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 ("CAFA"). Not. of Rem. at 2-3, Dkt. No. 1. Now pending is Plaintiff's Motion to Remand the action to state court for failure to meet CAFA's amount in controversy requirement. Dkt. No. 9. The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without oral argument and VACATES the March 5, 2015 hearing. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b); Civil L.R. 7-1(b). Having considered the parties' positions, relevant legal authority, and the record in this case, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for the reasons set forth below.

BACKGROUND

Defendant is a Delaware corporation doing business in California by operating numerous retail stores throughout the state. Compl. ¶ 9. Plaintiff, a California resident, was employed by Defendant from March 2005 through November 2010 as a Key-Holder for Defendant's Dublin, California retail location, and from November 2010 through June 2013 as the Assistant Store Manager at Defendant's Fremont, California retail location. Id. ¶ 5. As a member of management, Plaintiff used her personal vehicle to perform interstore inventory transfers ("ISITs"), which included transporting inventory between stores, to replenish store supplies such as bags and computer paper, and travel to other businesses to make photocopies. Id. ¶ 1. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant employs "hundreds of employees as General Managers, Assistant Managers, Supervisors, and Key-Holders in California who travelled in their personal vehicles in order to perform ISITs on behalf of Defendants without reimbursement for the expense of mileage and wear and tear on the vehicle." Id. ¶ 12. She seeks to represent the following class:

All current and former employees of Toys R' Us-Delaware, Inc. who were employed at retail locations in the State of California, and who were authorized to use their personal vehicle to transfer products between their primary store location and any of Defendants' other locations, on behalf of the Defendants... from November 12, 2010 through the conclusion of this action.

Id. ¶ 13. Plaintiff alleges that there are at least 2, 000 class members. Id. ¶ 14.

Plaintiff filed her Complaint on November 12, 2014, alleging two causes of action: (1) failure to reimburse employees for required business expenses, Cal. Lab. Code § 2802, based on Defendant's failure to reimburse its employees for all mileage expenses; and (2) unfair business practices, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, et seq.

In the Jurisdiction and Venue section of her Complaint, Plaintiff alleges the following:

The total amount in controversy of Plaintiff's individual claims is less than $30, 000. In addition, Plaintiff asserts no claims arising under federal law. Rather, Plaintiff brings causes of action based solely on, and arising from, California law. The claims of the class are also individual claims for violations of California law described herein. The individual and class action claims are for failure to reimburse business-related expenses pursuant to Labor Code §2802, and California Business & Professions Code § 17200 et seq. seeking reimbursement of expenses, penalties, injunctive relief and other equitable relief, and reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.

Id. ¶ 4. The prayer for relief does not mention the amount in controversy, and Plaintiff's Complaint is otherwise silent as to the possible amounts owed to other class members. Id. ¶ 46.

Defendant removed the action to federal court on December 19, 2014. Defendant's Notice of Removal alleges that the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million. Not. of Removal ¶ 8. In support, Defendant notes "the damages Plaintiff seeks in connection with the class members' Labor Code § 2802 claim alone are $59, 999, 980.00, " based on her individual damages claim of less than $30, 000 and "at least 2, 000 class members." Id. ¶¶ 20-21. Defendant also notes that Plaintiff's Complaint seeks an unspecified amount of attorneys' fees, which the Court may consider in determining the amount in controversy. Id. ¶ 22.

On January 16, 2015, Plaintiff moved to remand the action to state court. Defendant filed its Opposition on ...


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