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Rangel v. Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC

United States District Court, C.D. California

August 4, 2016

GILBERT RANGEL
v.
BRIDGESTONE RETAIL OPERATIONS, LLC ET AL.

          Present: The Honorable BEVERLY REID O’CONNELL, United States District Judge.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO REMAND

          Honorable BEVERLY REID O’CONNELL, United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Gilbert Rangel’s (“Plaintiff”) Motion to Remand. (Dkt. No. 14 (hereinafter, “Mot.”).) After considering the papers filed in support of and in opposition to the instant Motion, the Court deems this matter appropriate for resolution without oral argument of counsel. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; C.D. Cal. L.R. 7-15. For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s Motion.

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         This lawsuit involves an employment dispute arising from Defendant Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC’s (“Defendant”) alleged wrongful termination of Plaintiff. (See Dkt. No. 1 (hereinafter, “Removal”), Ex. B (hereinafter, “Compl.”).)

         Plaintiff is, and at all relevant times was, a California resident. (Compl. ¶ 1.) Defendant is, and at all relevant times was, a privately held limited liability company whose sole member-Bridgestone Americas, Inc.-is incorporated in Nevada and has its principal place of business in Tennessee. (See Dkt. No. 12 at 2.) George Stylianoudakis[1] (“Individual Defendant Stylianoudakis”) is, and at all relevant times was, a California resident. (Compl. ¶ 2.)

         Plaintiff, a Hispanic male who is approximately forty-five years old, began working for Defendant as an automobile technician in November 2013. (Compl. ¶¶ 2, 4.) Plaintiff alleges that Individual Defendant Stylianoudakis became a store manager for Defendant in early 2014 and began mistreating Plaintiff shortly thereafter. (Compl. ¶ 11.) According to Plaintiff, Defendant terminated Plaintiffs employment on April 14, 2015, after a series of work-related conflicts. (Compl. ¶ 12.)

         B. Procedural History

         Plaintiff initiated this action on April 27, 2016, in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles (“Los Angeles Superior Court”), against Defendant and Individual Defendant Stylianoudakis (collectively, “Defendants”). (See generally Compl.) Plaintiff alleges the following thirteen causes of action against Defendant: (1) race discrimination; (2) race harassment; (3) retaliation for complaining of race discrimination; (4) age discrimination; (5) age harassment; (6) retaliation for complaining of age discrimination and/or harassment; (7) failure to promote because of discrimination on the basis of race and/or age; (8) failure to pay for rest breaks; (9) negligent hiring, supervision, and retention; (10) wrongful termination of employment in violation of public policy; (11) violations of Labor Code § 1102.5 et seq.; (12) defamation; and, (13) intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”). (Compl. ¶¶ 18-100.) Of these thirteen causes of action, Plaintiff alleges only the race harassment, age harassment, and IIED causes of action against Individual Defendant Stylianoudakis. (See Compl. ¶¶ 24-29, 48-53, 95-100.)

         On May 27, 2016, Defendants removed the action to this Court, based on diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.[2] (Removal at 1-4.) On June 6, 2016, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause as to why this case should not be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction as, on its face, diversity jurisdiction is lacking because Plaintiff and Individual Defendant Stylianoudakis are both California residents. (Dkt. No. 11.) On June 10, 2016, Defendants filed a response. (Dkt. No. 12 (hereinafter, “OSC Response”).) After finding Defendants’ OSC Response satisfactory, the Court discharged the Order to Show Cause on June 23, 2016. (See Dkt. No 13.) On June 24, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Remand, (see Dkt. No. 14), which Defendants timely opposed on July 18, 2016, [3] (see Opp’n).

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal courts are of limited jurisdiction and possess only that jurisdiction which is authorized by either the Constitution or federal statute. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am.,511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Pursuant to § 1332(a)(1), a federal district court has jurisdiction over “all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, ” and the dispute is between citizens of different states. The Supreme Court has interpreted § 1332 to require “complete ...


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