United States District Court, C.D. California
Hunter Kidner, et al.
P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc.
JESUS G. BERNAL, District Judge.
Proceedings: Order (1) GRANTING Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand (Doc. No. 9); (2) DENYING Plaintiffs' Motion for Sanctions (Doc. No. 14); (3) VACATING the June 1, 2015 Hearing; and (4) REMANDING Action to the California Superior Court, County of Riverside (IN CHAMBERS)
Before the Court are Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand and Motion for Sanctions. (Doc. Nos. 9, 14.) The Court finds these matters appropriate for resolution without a hearing pursuant to Local Rule 7-15. After considering the papers timely filed in support of and in opposition to the motions, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand, DENIES Plaintiffs' Motion for Sanctions, VACATES the June 1, 2015 hearing, and REMANDS the action.
Plaintiffs Hunter Kidner, Lizette Vargas, Samantha Kidner, and Madelene Geledzhyan ("Plaintiffs") filed this action against their employer, Defendant P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc. ("Defendant"), in the California Superior Court, County of Riverside on January 9, 2015. (Compl., Not. of Removal, Exh. A, Doc. No. 1.)
The Complaint, styled as a "PAGA Representative Action, " alleges nine wage-and-hour violations. (Compl. ¶¶ 19-91.) These include claims for: (1) failure to provide meal periods; (2) failure to provide rest periods; (3) failure to pay all wages and minimum wages; (4) failure to pay overtime worked; (5) failure to pay split-shift premiums; (6) failure to pay reporting time wages; (7) illegal wage statements; (8) unlawful repayment of wages to employer; and (9) failure to pay wages due upon ending employment. (Id.) The tenth cause of action does not assert a separate claim, but rather is titled "Labor Code Private Attorney General Act Allegations." (Id. at 23.)
On February 7, 2015, Defendant filed a Notice of Removal asserting two grounds for removal: (1) original jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act ("CAFA") 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2); and (2) diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. ("Not. of Removal, " Doc. No. 1.)
On March 19, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Remand the case to Riverside Superior Court. ("MTR, " Doc. No. 9.) Plaintiffs argue that: (1) PAGA actions, like this one, are not removable pursuant to CAFA; and (2) Defendant cannot show that the requisite amount in controversy is met for diversity jurisdiction. (MTR at 1.) Defendant opposed on April 27, 2015. ("Opp'n MTR, " Doc. No. 23.) Plaintiffs replied on May 4, 2015. ("Reply MTR, " Doc. No. 26.)
On April 7, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Sanctions under Rule 11. ("MFS, " Doc. No. 14.) The MFS contends the Notice of Removal was frivolous as it was not warranted under existing law. (MFS at 1.) Defendant opposed on April 27, 2015. ("Opp'n MFS, " Doc. No 24.) Plaintiffs replied on May 4, 2015. ("Reply MFS, " Doc. No. 25.)
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). A suit filed in state court may be removed to federal court if the federal court would have had original jurisdiction over the suit. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). A removed action must be remanded to state court if the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
A. CAFA Jurisdiction
The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 ("CAFA") gives the district courts original jurisdiction in any civil action where: (1) "the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $5, 000, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, " (2) the action is pled as a class action involving more than 100 putative class members, and (3) "any member of a ...