United States District Court, C.D. California
ANA CISNEROS, ET AL.
LERNER NEW YORK, INC. d/b/a NEW YORK & CO., ET AL.
Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Amir Mostafavi.
Attorneys Present for Defendants:Alexis Gevanter Ellen
Bronchetti (By Telephone).
Present: The Honorable CHRISTINA A. SNYDER JUDGE.
PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO REMAND (DKT. 8, FILED MAY
HONORABLE CHRISTINA A. SNYDER JUDGE.
INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND
March 18, 2016, plaintiffs Ana Cisneros and Faranak Safa
(collectively, “plaintiffs”) filed this putative
class action in the Los Angeles County Superior Court against
defendants Lerner New York, Inc. (“Lerner”), and
Does 1-20, inclusive. Dkt. 1, Ex. A (“Compl.”).
The complaint alleges eight causes of action: (1) failure to
provide accurate wage statements; (2) failure to pay overtime
compensation; (3) failure to pay wages on regularly
established paydays; (4) failure to reimburse expenditures
incurred on behalf of employer; (5) conversion; (6) unfair
business practices; (7) failure to provide rest periods; and
(8) failure to pay timely earned wages during employment and
upon separation of employment. On April 20, 2016, defendants
removed this action to this Court asserting jurisdiction
under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005
(“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2). Dkt. 1,
Notice of Removal.
20, 2016, plaintiff filed a motion to remand this action to
California state court. Dkt. 8. On July 11, 2016, defendants
filed an opposition, Dkt. 13, and on July 17, 2016,
plaintiffs filed a reply, Dkt. 16. Having carefully
considered the parties’ arguments, the Court finds and
concludes as follows.
Lerner is a specialty manufacturer and retailer of
women’s fashion apparel and accessories. Compl. ¶
36. Plaintiff Ana Cisneros is an hourly employee at
Lerner’s retail store, located at the Westfield Topanga
Center in Canoga Park, California. Id. ¶¶
39, 41. Plaintiff Faranak Safa is a former employee who also
worked at Lerner’s retail store at the Westfield
Topanga Center from around May 7, 2012 to October 14, 2015.
Id. ¶ 40. Cisneros currently holds the title
“Store Sales Leader” while Safa was previously
employed as a store manager. Id. ¶¶ 39-40.
their complaint, plaintiffs allege that they were required to
make daily “off-the-clock” check deposits using
their personal vehicles. Id. ¶ 42. Plaintiffs
were allegedly instructed, as part of their employment
duties, to deliver and deposit checks with at least one other
employee . Id. ¶ 43. Plaintiffs maintain that
they drove many miles each week between the retail stores and
banks. Id. ¶ 47. Nonetheless, defendants
allegedly did not compensate or reimburse plaintiffs for the
time, mileage, and other actual expenses incurred while
making these “off-the-clock” check deposits.
Id. Plaintiffs now bring several claims against
defendants for violations of the California Labor Code.
instant motion to remand, plaintiffs contend that defendants
have not met the statutory requirements for federal
jurisdiction under CAFA. In particular, plaintiffs allege
that defendants have failed to demonstrate that (1) their
proposed class contains at least 100 members and (2) the
amount in controversy in this action exceeds $5, 000, 000.
Mot. at 1.
may be ordered either for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
or for any defect in removal procedure. See 28
U.S.C. § 1447(c). The Court strictly construes the
removal statutes against removal jurisdiction, and
jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the
right of removal. See Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d
564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992).
gives federal courts jurisdiction over certain class actions
if (1) “the class has more than 100 members”; (2)
“the parties are minimally diverse”; and (3)
“the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million.”
Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens,
___U.S.___, 135 S.Ct. 547, 552, (2014). There is no
presumption against removal jurisdiction in CAFA cases;
however, the defendant still bears the burden of establishing
removal jurisdiction. Id. at 554. CAFA’s
“minimal diversity” requirement means that
“a federal court may exercise jurisdiction over a class
action if ‘any member of a class of plaintiffs is a
citizen of a State different from any defendant.’
” Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics
Corp., ___U.S.___, 134 S.Ct. 736, 740, 187 L.Ed.2d 654
(2014) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2)(A)). Where, as
here, the amount in controversy is contested, and the
plaintiff does not plead a specific amount in controversy,
the proponent of federal jurisdiction must establish it by a
preponderance of the evidence. Rodriguez v. AT&T
Mobility Servs. LLC, 728 F.3d 975, 981 (9th Cir. 2013).
Under the preponderance of the evidence standard, the
removing party must “provide evidence establishing that
it is more likely than not that the amount in controversy
exceeds [the jurisdictional amount].” Sanchez v.
Monumental Life Ins. Co., 102 F.3d 398, 404 (9th Cir.
1996) (internal quotation omitted). In determining whether