United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR REMAND (DKT. NO. 15)
ANDRÉ BIROTTE, Jr., District Judge.
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Katherine Sasso's Motion to Remand, filed on December 22, 2014. (Dkt. No. 15.) Defendants filed an opposition brief (Dkt. No. 16), and Plaintiff filed a reply brief. (Dkt. No. 18.) On February 5, 2015, the Court deemed this matter appropriate for decision without oral argument, and the pending motion was taken under submission. (Dkt. No 19.)
Having considered the materials submitted by the parties, and for the reasons indicated below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion to Remand.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
This case involves a dispute regarding Plaintiff Katherine Sasso's employment with and termination by Defendants Noble/Utah Long Beach, LLC and Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc. ("Defendants").
A. Plaintiff's Allegations
Plaintiff is a California resident, and Defendants are both Delaware Limited Liability Companies. (Dkt. No. 1, Ex. A., Compl. ¶¶ 5-7.) Defendants own and operate the Westin Hotel in Downtown Long Beach, California, where Plaintiff was employed as a Sales Manager from February 10, 2014 to March 17, 2014. ( Id. ¶ 14.) During her employment, Plaintiff "performed her job in an exemplary manner." ( Id. ¶ 20.) Plaintiff had "nearly 100 clients and potential clients lined up." ( Id. ) Plaintiff had "set up meetings with large companies that she had worked with in the past and had developed relationships with, " and was regularly told by her supervisor, Janice Fronjian, that she was "impressed with Plaintiff's knowledge and selling ability." ( Id. )
Plaintiff suffers from asthma, a disability covered and protected by California's Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"). ( Id. ¶ 16.) On Thursday, March 13, 2014, Plaintiff called and left a message for Fronjian, explaining that Plaintiff was suffering from an asthma attack and would not be coming in to work that day. ( Id. ¶ 17.) Later that day, Fronjian emailed Plaintiff, acknowledging that she had received the call. ( Id. ) On Friday, March 14, 2014, Plaintiff was still suffering from an asthma attack and again called Fronjian to notify her that she would return to work on Monday. ( Id. ¶ 18.)
On Monday, March 17, 2014, Plaintiff arrived at work with a doctor's note and shortly afterwards received a call from the Human Resources Director, Lulu Medina, telling her that she needed to come to a meeting with her (Medina) and Fronjian. ( Id. ¶ 19.) When Plaintiff arrived at the meeting, Fronjian informed her that because of Plaintiff's asthma, the company did not think that she could fully commit herself to her job and thus was being terminated. ( Id. ) Plaintiff was told to pack her personal belongings and then escorted off the premises. ( Id. )
Based on these allegations, Plaintiff alleges several claims for disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, and retaliation under FEHA, as well as a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Plaintiff seeks damages for lost wages and benefits, emotional distress, punitive damages, attorneys' fees, and costs.
B. Removal to Federal Court
On October 15, 2014, Plaintiff filed her Complaint in the Superior Court of California. (Dkt. No. 1, ¶ 3.) On October 29, 2014, Plaintiff served Defendants with a Summons and copy of the Complaint. ( Id. ¶ 4.) On November 26, 2014, Defendants timely filed their Notice of Removal to this Court based on the Court's original jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) and § 1441(b), alleging that this action is between citizens of different states and involves an amount in controversy exceeding $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. ( Id. ¶ 1.) To support their amount in controversy argument, Defendants rely on Plaintiff's $60, 000 annual salary and jury verdicts from other employment cases to estimate Plaintiff's potential damages. ( Id. ¶ 25-29.)
On December 12, 2014 the parties met and conferred regarding Plaintiff's intention to file a motion to remand the case back to state court. The parties were unable to ...