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Scott v. Gino Morena Enter. LLC

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 23, 2015

Scott,
v.
Gino Morena Enter. L.L.C., et al.

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

JAMES V. SELNA, District Judge.

Proceedings: (IN CHAMBERS) Order Denying Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (Fld 1-23-15)

The Court, having been informed by the parties in this action that they submit on the Court's tentative ruling previously issued, hereby DENIES plaintiff's motion to remand and rules in accordance with the tentative ruling as follows:

Plaintiff Taylor Scott ("Scott") moves to remand this case to the Orange County Superior Court from which it was removed. (Motion to Remand ("Mot."), Docket ("Dkt.") No. 10.) Defendants Gino Morena Enterprises, L.L.C. ("GME") and Judy Lifesy ("Lifesy") (collectively, "Defendants") oppose. (Opposition to Mot. ("Opp'n"), Dkt. No. 11.) Scott has replied. (Reply, Dkt. No. 13.)

For the following reasons, the Court DENIES Scott's Motion to Remand.

I. Background[1]

In April 2011, Scott began working at GME in the San Mateo barbershop at Camp Pendleton. (Notice of Removal ("Not. of Removal"), Ex. 1 (Complaint, ("Compl."), ¶ 9), Dkt. No. 1.) Scott provided haircuts and sold hair products. (Id. at ¶ 11.) The barbershop's manager, Lifesy, engaged in a pattern and practice of what Scott viewed as sexually harassing behavior while supervising Scott. (Id. at ¶¶ 12-13.) After Scott tried to end the harassing behavior, Lifesy took various retaliatory actions against Scott such as decreasing the temperature in the barbershop, pushing Scott, and yelling at Scott. (Id. at ¶¶ 13-15.) Scott left the barbershop for another job, but then returned in February 2013. (Id. at ¶¶ 16-18.) Upon Scott's return, Lifesy continued to engage in behavior that Scott viewed as sexually harassing and again retaliated against Scott after she tried to end the behavior. (Id. at ¶¶ 18-19.) Although Scott complained to a GME general manager, GME did not take any action regarding Lifesy's behavior towards Scott. (Id. at ¶¶ 10, 20.) Scott ended her employment with GME in December 2013 and has obtained right to sue letters from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. (Id. at ¶¶ 22-26, Ex. 1-2.)

Scott filed the present action in Orange County Superior Court on November 20, 2014 and alleged three causes of action based on violations of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"), Cal. Gov't Code § 12940 et seq., and one common law cause of action for wrongful termination. (Id. at ¶¶ 27-51.) Defendants removed the action to this Court on December 24, 2014. (Not. of Removal.) Scott now seeks to remand the action to the state court from which it was removed.

II. Legal Standard

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), a defendant may remove a civil action from state court to federal court so long as original jurisdiction would lie in the court to which the action is removed. City of Chicago v. Int'l Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 163 (1997). According to the Ninth Circuit, courts should "strictly construe the removal statute against removal jurisdiction." Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). Doubts as to removability should be resolved in favor of remanding the case to the state court. Id. This "strong presumption' against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always has the burden of establishing that removal is proper." Id. (quoting Nishimoto v. Federman-Bachrach & Assocs., 903 F.2d 709, 712 n.3 (9th Cir. 1990)).

"A motion to remand the case on the basis of any defect other than lack of subject matter jurisdiction must be made within 30 days after the filing of the notice of removal." 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); see also Maniar v. FDIC, 979 F.2d 782, 786 (9th Cir. 1992). A district court lacks power to order a remand in violation of Section 1447(c). Id.

III. Discussion

Scott argues that Defendants' removal was procedurally improper and that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. The Court addresses each argument in turn, as well as the respective requests for judicial notice and ...


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