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Penetrante v. Jaguar Land Rover NA, LLC

United States District Court, C.D. California

June 24, 2016

Desiree A. Penetrante et al.
v.
Jaguar Land Rover NA, LLC et al.

          Present: The Honorable MICHAEL W. FITZGERALD, U.S. District Judge

          ORDER RE DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO TRANSFER CASE TO SOUTHERN DISTRICT [12]; PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO REMAND CASE TO SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT [13]

          Honorable MICHAEL W. FITZGERALD, U.S. District Judge

         Before the Court are Defendant Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC’s (“JLRNA”) Motion to Transfer Case to Southern District (“Motion to Transfer”) filed on May 11, 2016, as well as Plaintiffs Desiree and Greg Penetrante’s Motion to Remand Case to San Diego Superior Court (“Motion to Remand”) filed on May 13, 2016. (Docket Nos. 12-13). Plaintiffs filed an Opposition to the Motion to Transfer on May 20, 2016, and Defendant filed an Opposition to the Motion to Remand on May 23, 2016. (Docket Nos. 15-16). Each moving party’s Reply followed on May 27, 2016. (Docket Nos. 18, 20).

         The Court has read and considered the papers filed on the Motion to Transfer and Motion to Remand, and held a hearing on June 20, 2016.

         For the reasons discussed below, the Court RESERVES its ruling on the Motion to Remand and Motion to Transfer. Defendant is ORDERED TO SHOW CAUSE as to why the Court should not remand this action for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. If the Court is satisfied with Defendant’s showing that complete diversity exists between the parties, the Court will DENY the Motion to Remand and will TRANSFER the action under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) to cure the improper removal in the interests of judicial economy and efficiency.

         I.BACKGROUND

         On March 14, 2016, Plaintiffs initiated this action in San Diego County Superior Court for alleged violations of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. (Notice of Removal Ex. A (Docket No. 1-1)). Plaintiffs allege that the vehicle they purchased from JLRNA in January 2012 contained serious defects and nonconformities to warranty, for which JLRNA wrongfully denied warranty coverage. (Id. ¶¶ 8, 15).

         On April 29, 2016, JLRNA removed the action to this District on the basis of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Notice of Removal ¶ 2).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A defendant seeking to remove an action grounded in state law bears the burden to show that “the complaint . . . is within the original jurisdiction of the district court.” Ansley v. Ameriquest Mortgage Co., 340 F.3d 858, 861 (9th Cir. 2003). In most circumstances, “federal district courts have jurisdiction over suits for more than $75, 000 where the citizenship of each plaintiff is different from that of each defendant.” Hunter v. Philip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1043 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1)).

         In addition to satisfying these jurisdictional requirements, the defendant must also follow procedural rules established by the removal statute. One such rule provides that removal must be to the federal district and division “embracing” the state court in which the action was filed. 28 U.S.C. § 1441.

         Here, Plaintiffs argue that the Notice of Removal neither establishes that Plaintiffs are completely diverse from Defendant nor demonstrates that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. (Motion to Remand at 4-8). Plaintiffs also argue that Defendant’s removal is plagued with procedural deficiencies, including (1) Defendant removed to the wrong federal district; (2) Defendant failed to file a proof of service along with the Notice of Removal; and (3) Defendant improperly completed the civil cover sheet required in this District. (Motion to Remand at 3-4, 8-10).

         Plaintiffs filed suit in San Diego County Superior Court. Therefore, under 28 U.S.C. § 1441, Defendant should have removed this action to the Southern District, rather than Central District, of California. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (“[A]ny 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.”).

         There is no doubt that this action does not belong before this Court. Kerobo v. Sw. Clean Fuels, Corp., 285 F.3d 531, 535 (6th Cir. 2002) (“There is only one federal venue into which a state court action may be removed, and that is in the statutorily dictated ‘district court . . . for the district and division embracing the place where [the state court] action [was] pending.’” (citations omitted)). Therefore, as to venue, the only question before the Court is whether the Court should remand the action because of the procedural defect or transfer the action to cure the procedural defect.

         Ordinarily, in the interests of judicial economy and efficiency, the Court would be inclined to transfer the action to cure the improper removal under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). But the Court reaches, as it must, the issue of subject-matter jurisdiction first, and concludes that Defendant has ...


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