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Diaz v. Carmax Auto Superstores California, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 16, 2015

MARIA ELENA DIAZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CARMAX AUTO SUPERSTORES CALIFORNIA, LLC, Defendant.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING THAT PLAITNIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND BE GRANTED ECF NO. 13 OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN FOURTEEN (14) DAYS

STANLEY A. BOONE, Magistrate Judge.

On April 20, 2015, Plaintiff Maria Elena Diaz ("Plaintiff") filed a motion to remand. (ECF No. 13.) Defendant CarMax Auto Superstores California, LLC ("Defendant") filed an opposition on May 27, 2015. (ECF No. 17.)

The matter was referred to the undersigned for Findings and Recommendations pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rule 72. (ECF No. 15.) The hearing on Plaintiff's motion took place on June 10, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 9 (SAB) before United States Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone. Gregory Babitt appeared on behalf of Plaintiff. Jamie Keeton and Edwin Essakhar appeared on behalf of Defendant.

For the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that Plaintiff's motion be granted and this action be remanded to state court.

I.

BACKGROUND

Defendant removed this action from the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Stanislaus on April 3, 2015. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff raised two causes of action against Defendant: 1) for violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, California Civil Code § 1750, et seq., and 2) for unfair business practices in violation of California Business & Professions Code § 17200.

Plaintiff alleges that she purchased a 2004 Volvo S60 ("the Subject Vehicle") from Defendant's car dealership in Modesto, California on February 21, 2012. Defendant advertised the Subject Vehicle as being "certified" and "CarMax Quality Certified." When Plaintiff asked Defendant's sales consultant, Alan Brima, about the Subject Vehicle's history, Mr. Brima falsely represented that the previous owner was "a rich person who got tired of it and wanted a new one." In actuality, the Subject Vehicle had been sold at auction twice in the preceding three months and had been registered to a corporate owner. Plaintiff also asked about the Subject Vehicle's mechanical condition, and Mr. Brima told Plaintiff that it was in sound mechanical condition. Plaintiff asked for a CarFax Vehicle History Report, but was never provided with one. Plaintiff was never shown a completed inspection report identifying the components CarMax inspected on the Subject Vehicle.

Approximately three weeks after purchasing the Subject Vehicle, Plaintiff attempted to fill the gas tank. However, the Subject Vehicle would not accept gasoline and gasoline spilled from the tank while it was filled.

Plaintiff contends that Defendant violated the California Legal Remedies Act by advertising and selling the Subject Vehicle as certified without providing Plaintiff with a completed inspection report. Plaintiff further contends that the Subject Vehicle was unmerchantable, in need of substantial repair, and that Defendant made misrepresentations regarding the Subject Vehicle's history and condition.

II.

LEGAL STANDARDS FOR MOTIONS TO REMAND

Removal of an action from state court to federal court is generally governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1441, which states, in pertinent part:

(a) Generally.-Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress, any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.

Motions to remand are governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), which states, in pertinent part:

If at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded. An order remanding the case may require payment of just costs and any actual expenses, including attorney fees, incurred as a result of the removal.

Removal statutes must be construed narrowly in favor of remand to protect the jurisdiction of state courts. Harris v. Bankers Life and Cas. Co., 425 F.3d 689, 698 (9th Cir. 2005). "Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th ...


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