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Hawkins v. Biotronik Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

March 3, 2017

JAMES BARRY HAWKINS
v.
BIOTRONIK, INC. ET AL.

          PRESENT: THE HONORABLE DAVID O. CARTER, JUDGE.

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         PROCEEDINGS (IN CHAMBERS): ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND [18]; DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO TRANSFER [20]

         Before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (“MTR”) (Dkt. 18) and Defendant's Motion to Transfer (“MTT”) (Dkt. 20). The Court finds these matters appropriate for resolution without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15. Having reviewed the moving papers and considered the parties arguments, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Remand and DENIES AS MOOT Defendant's Motion to Transfer.

         I. Background

         A. Facts

         The Court adopts the facts as set out in Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) (Dkt. 1-3).

         Plaintiff James “Barry” Hawkins (“Plaintiff”) is citizen of California and a former employee of Defendant Biotronik, Inc. (“Biotronik”). FAC ¶ 1. Biotronik is a corporation incorporated in Delaware with its principal place of business in Oregon. Id. ¶ 2. On July 31, 2013, Plaintiff relocated from Texas to California at the request of Biotronik for the position of Senior Sales Representative. Id. ¶¶ 7-8.

         In May 2014, Biotronik retained the services of Defendant Tyrone E. Myles (“Myles”) and his company, Keeping Pace, Inc. Id. ¶ 10. Myles is a citizen of California. Id. ¶ 3. In early 2015, “after the expiration of an initial 18 month commission guarantee, ” Myles, rather than Biotronik, began to pay Plaintiff's commission. Id. ¶¶ 11-12. However, Myles failed to pay Plaintiff the amount owed under Plaintiff's compensation plan. Id. ¶¶ 9, 11. Over the next year and a half, Plaintiff made multiple complaints regarding Biotronik and Myles' (collectively, “Defendants”) failure to pay all earned commissions owed to Plaintiff. Id. ¶ 12. Ultimately, Biotronik fired Plaintiff on September 23, 2016. Id. ¶ 14.

         B. Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed suit in the Superior Court for the County of Orange on October 6, 2016 against Biotronik. Not. of Removal (Dkt. 1) ¶ 2. Biotronik removed the action to federal court on November 7, 2016. Id. ¶ 4. Plaintiff dismissed the suit on November 17, 2016, see Not. of Dismissal (Dkt. 1-2), and refiled the suit in the Superior Court for the County of Orange on November 23, 2016, adding Myles as a defendant. See generally FAC. Biotronik again removed the action, invoking diversity jurisdiction, on December 20, 2016 (Dkt. 1).

         Plaintiff brings the following claims against Defendants: (1) violations of the California Labor Code § 200 et seq., (2) wrongful termination in violation of public policy, (3) interference with contract, (4) interference with prospective economic advantage, and (5) violation of the Business and Professions Code § 17200 et seq. (“UCL”). See generally FAC. Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Remand on January 19, 2017. Bioktronik opposed on February 13, 2017 (“MTR Opposition”) (Dkt. 25), and Plaintiff replied on February 17, 2017 (Dkt. 27).

         Biotronik filed the instant Motion to Transfer on February 6, 2017. Plaintiff opposed on February 13, 2017 (“MTT Opposition”) (Dkt. 24), and Biotronik replied on February 17, 2017 (Dkt. 28). Defendant Myles joined Biotronik's Motion to Transfer on February 16, 2017 (Dkt. 26).

         II. Legal Standard

         “If at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). Removal of a case from state court to federal court is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1441, which provides in pertinent part that “any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed . . . to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such ...


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