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Arteaga v. Macy's West Stores, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 26, 2015

YADIRA ARTEAGA,
v.
MACY'S WEST STORES, INC

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL O' JS-6

CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.

Proceedings: (IN CHAMBERS): PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND (Dkt. No. 12, filed February 3, 2015)

The Court finds this motion appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; Local Rule 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing date of March 9, 2015, is vacated, and the matter is hereby taken under submission.

I. INTRODUCTION

On August 7, 2014, plaintiff Yadira Arteaga filed this negligence and premises liability action in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Macy's Corporate Services, Inc. ("Macy's Corporate") and Does 1 through 20. Plaintiff alleges that she was using the restroom at a Macy's store when she slipped and fell on a puddle of water that had been leaking from a toilet. On January 2, 2015, Macy's West Stores, Inc. ("Macy's West"), which is not a party to this action, removed this case to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Dkt. No. 1.

On February 3, 2015, plaintiff filed a motion to remand the action to the Superior Court. Dkt. No. 12. Macy's West filed an opposition on February 13, 2015, and plaintiff replied on February 19, 2015. Dkt. Nos. 16, 17. As set forth in more detail below, the parties do not dispute that the action should be remanded, and it is clear that it should be. The only disputed issue is whether the Court should order payment of costs plaintiff has incurred as the result of the removal.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

The federal district courts "have removal jurisdiction over any claim that could have been brought in federal court originally." Hall v. N. Am. Van Lines, Inc., 476 F.3d 683, 686-87 (9th Cir. 2007) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a)). A motion for remand is the proper procedure for challenging removal. Remand may be ordered either for lack of subject matter jurisdiction or for any defect in removal procedure. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). A motion to remand based on any defect other than subject matter jurisdiction must be made within thirty days after the filing of the notice of removal; however, "[i]f at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded." Id. Federal courts strictly construe the removal statutes against removal jurisdiction, and jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal. Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). The party seeking removal bears the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction. Prize Frize, Inc. v. Matrix, Inc., 167 F.3d 1261, 1265 (9th Cir. 1999).

A federal district court has diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 when the parties are completely diverse and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003) (per curiam). For purposes of diversity jurisdiction, a corporation is a citizen of the state in which it is incorporated and the state where its principal place of business is located. Lightfoot v. Cendant Mortg. Corp., 769 F.3d 681, 698 (9th Cir. 2014). A corporation's "principal place of business" refers to "the place where a corporation's officers direct, control, and coordinate the corporation's activities." Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 92-93 (2010). This "nerve center" is typically the "place where the corporation maintains its headquarters-provided that the headquarters is the actual center of direction, control, and coordination." Id. at 93.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Remand Is Required.

Plaintiff submits undisputed evidence that Macy's Corporate and Macy's West are separate business entities, and that plaintiff named only the former as a defendant in this action. Dkt. No. 12 Ex. 2. As explained below, remand is required for at two reasons: Macy's West was not a named defendant with standing to remove the action, and Macy's Corporate did not join in the removal.[1]

1. Standing

"Section 1446(a) of Title 28 authorizes only the state court defendants to remove cases to federal court." 14C Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, Jurisdiction § 3730 (4th ed. 2008); see also William W. Schwarzer, et al., Rutter Group Practice Guide: Federal Civil Procedure Before Trial, Calif. & 9th Cir. Editions § 2:2245 ("The right to remove a case from state to federal court is vested exclusively in the defendant or the defendants." (emphasis in original) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a)). Plaintiff asserts that Macy's West, which plaintiff did not name in the complaint, has made no showing that it is a proper defendant. Plaintiff further argues that Macy ...


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