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Reyes v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

April 1, 2015

RICHARD REYES, as an individual and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DOLLAR TREE STORES, INC., a corporation, Defendant-Appellant

Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California: March 5, 2015.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:14-cv-04581-R-VBK. Manuel L. Real, District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[*]

Class Action Fairness Act / Jurisdiction / Removal

The panel reversed the district court's order remanding the case to state court, and remanded with instructions for the district court to exercise federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.

Defendant Dollar Tree Stores removed the case from state to federal court in 2012 invoking jurisdiction under CAFA, and the district court granted plaintiff Richard Reyes' request to remand back to state court because the CAFA $5 million amount-in-controversy requirement was not satisfied. In May 2014, a California superior court certified a broader class and the amount-in-controversy for the class actually certified exceeded $5 million. Dollar Tree again removed to federal court, and the district court found removal untimely because the order was based on the same complaint that was the subject of the first removal.

The panel held that the state court's class certification order created a new occasion for removal, and the second removal was permissible. The panel also held that the second removal was timely because Dollar Tree removed within thirty days of the class certification order. The panel concluded that because the jurisdictional requirements of CAFA were met, the district court had subject matter jurisdiction.

Dominic J. Messiha (argued), Littler Mendelson, Los Angeles, California; Lindbergh Porter, Tarun Mehta, Jeffrey Mann, Littler Mendelson, San Francisco, California, for Defendants-Appellants.

Kenneth H. Yoon (argued), Stephanie E. Yasuda, Law Offices of Kenneth Y. Yoon, Los Angeles, California; Peter M. Hart, Travis Hodgkins, Law Offices of Peter M. Hart, Los Angeles, California, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before: Stephen Reinhardt, N. Randy Smith, and Andrew D. Hurwitz, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Hurwitz.

OPINION

Page 1186

HURWITZ, Circuit Judge:

Defendant Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. removed this case to federal court in 2012, invoking jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. § § 1332(d), 1453, 1711--1715. Plaintiff Richard Reyes moved to remand, representing that the amended complaint defined the proposed class narrowly and that the CAFA $5,000,000 amount-in-controversy requirement was therefore unsatisfied. The district court agreed and remanded.

In May 2014, a California superior court certified a broader class than the one described by Reyes during the first removal. It is uncontested that the amount in controversy for the class actually certified exceeds $5,000,000. Dollar Tree again removed after the superior court entered the class certification order, but the district court found removal ...


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