United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO REMAND RE: DKT. NO.
H. KOH United States District Judge.
Siamak Bastami (“Plaintiff) brings this suit against
Defendant Semiconductor Components Industries, LLC
(“Defendant”) for employment discrimination.
Before the Court is Plaintiffs Motion to Remand. ECF No. 10
(“Mot.”). Having considered the parties'
briefing, the relevant law, and the record in this case, the
Court GRANTS Plaintiffs Motion to Remand.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
January 14, 2016, Defendant sent Plaintiff a written offer of
employment. ECF No. 10-1, Declaration of Scardigli
(“Scardigli Decl.”) Ex. A. Plaintiff accepted the
offer, and was employed by Defendant as a System
Applications, Senior Manager from January 25, 2016 to May 27,
2016. Complaint, ECF No. 1-1 (“Compl.”) ¶ 8.
Plaintiff alleges that he was disabled because he suffered
from kidney failure, which required weekly dialysis.
Id. ¶ 9. Plaintiff alleges that, on May 27,
2016, Defendant terminated Plaintiff because of
Plaintiff's disability. Id. Moreover, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant “refused to provide reasonable
accommodation for [Plaintiff's] disability in the form
of, for instance, a sufficient leave of absence.”
Id. ¶ 10. Defendant's leave policy allowed
30 days of medical leave, and Plaintiff took medical leave
from April 27, 2016 to May 27, 2016. Id. When
Plaintiff allegedly requested a “brief extension,
” Defendant refused, and instead, terminated Plaintiff.
8, 2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the California
Department of Fair Employment and Housing
(“DFEH”). Id. ¶ 12. The DFEH issued
Plaintiff a right-to-sue notice.
November 14, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant suit in the
Superior Court of California for the County of Santa Clara.
See Compl. Defendant alleged three causes of action
for violation of California's Fair Employment and Housing
Act (the “FEHA”): (1) disability discrimination,
(2) failure to accommodate, and (3) failure to prevent
January 26, 2017, Defendant removed the instant suit to
federal court based on diversity jurisdiction. ECF No. 1
(“Notice of Removal”). Plaintiff is a California
resident, and Defendant is a corporation incorporated in
Delaware with its primary place of business in Arizona.
Id. Defendant asserts that the amount in controversy
is at least $117, 000. Id.
February 9, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant motion to
remand. See Mot. Plaintiff's motion for remand
is based on a forum selection clause in the January 14, 2016
written offer of employment sent from Defendant to Plaintiff.
Scardigli Decl. Ex. A. On February 23, 2017, Defendant filed
an opposition to Plaintiff's motion to remand, ECF No. 18
(“Opp'n”), and on March 2, 2017, Plaintiff
filed a reply, ECF No. 19 (“Reply”).
may be removed from state court to federal court only if the
federal court would have had subject matter jurisdiction over
the case. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a); see Caterpillar Inc.
v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987) (“Only
state-court actions that originally could have been filed in
federal court may be removed to federal court by the
defendant.”). “In civil cases, subject matter
jurisdiction is generally conferred upon federal district
courts either through diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332, or federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331.” Peralta v. Hispanic Bus., Inc.,
419 F.3d 1064, 1068 (9th Cir. 2005). If it appears at any
time before final judgment that the federal court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction, the federal court must remand
the action to state court. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
party seeking removal bears the burden of establishing
federal jurisdiction. Provincial Gov't of Marinduque
v. Placer Dome, Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir.
2009). “The removal statute is strictly construed, and
any doubt about the right of removal requires resolution in
favor of remand.” Moore-Thomas v. Alaska Airlines,
Inc., 553 F.3d 1241, 1244 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing
Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir.
a Court has subject matter jurisdiction over a suit that has
been removed, a suit may be remanded based on a forum
selection clause. See Kamm v. ITEX Corp., 568 F.3d
752, 756 (9th Cir. 2009) (“[A] forum selection clause
is similar to other grounds for not exercising jurisdiction
over a case, such as abstention in favor of state court
jurisdiction under Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37
(1971), and related abstention cases, or a refusal to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction and a resulting remand to
state court under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)); QSR Mgmt.,
Inc. v. Dunkin Brands, Inc., 2008 WL 2856456, at *1 (CD.
Cal. Mar. 23, 2008) (“A court has inherent authority to
remand an action to state court to enforce a forum selection
agreement” (citation omitted)); Comerica Bank v.
Whitehall Specialties, Inc., 352 F.Supp.2d 1077, 1079-80
(CD. Cal. 2004) (“The enforcement of a forum selection
clause is a proper basis for remanding a removed case to
state court”); Pelleport Investors, Inc. v. Budco
Quality Theatres, Inc., 741 F.2d 273, 275, 280 (9th Cir.
1984) (affirming the district court's remand of an action
to state court on grounds that a valid and enforceable forum
selection clause governed).
cases based on diversity jurisdiction, federal law governs
the interpretation and enforceability of forum selection
clauses. Manetti-Farrow, Inc. v. Gucci Am., Inc.,
858 F.2d 509, 513 (9th Cir. 1988) (“We conclude that
the federal procedural issues raised by forum selection
clauses significantly outweigh the state interests, and the
federal rule announced in [M/S Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore
Co., 407 U.S. 1, 12 (1972)] controls enforcement of
forum clauses in diversity cases . . . . Moreover, because
enforcement of a forum clause necessarily entails
interpretation of the clause before it can be enforced,
federal law also applies to interpretation of forum selection
clauses.” (citation omitted)).
Ninth Circuit and United States Supreme Court precedent,
forum selection clauses are presumptively valid and
enforceable “‘absent some compelling and
countervailing reason.'” Murphy v. Schneider
Nat l, Inc., 362 F.3d 1133, 1140 (9th Cir. 2004)
(quoting Bremen, 407 U.S. at 12). The Ninth Circuit
has identified three “compelling” reasons that
would permit a court to disregard a forum selection clause:
“(1) ‘if the inclusion of the clause in the
agreement was the product of fraud or overreaching'; (2)
‘if the party wishing to repudiate the clause would
effectively be deprived of his day in court were the clause
enforced'; and (3) ‘if enforcement would contravene
a strong public policy of the forum in which suit is
brought.'” Id. (quoting Richards v.
Lloyd's of London, 135 F.3d 1289, 1294 (9th Cir.
parties do not dispute that this Court has subject matter
jurisdiction over this case based on diversity jurisdiction.
The Court agrees. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, diversity
jurisdiction exists if the Plaintiff and Defendant are
citizens of different states and the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. Here, Plaintiff is a resident of
California; Defendant is a company incorporated in Delaware
with its primary place of business in Arizona; and the amount
in controversy exceeds $75, 000. Notice of Removal ¶ 18.
Accordingly, the Court has diversity jurisdiction.
Plaintiff argues that the instant suit should be remanded to
the California Superior Court for the County of Santa Clara
based on the forum selection clause in Defendant's
January 14, 2016 written offer of employment to Defendant.
The forum selection clause states the following:
Governing Law and Venue
. . . .
Except for actions for injunctive or other equitable relief,
which may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction,
any legal suit, action or proceeding arising out of or
relating to this offer letter shall be commenced in a federal
court in the District of California or in state court in the
County of Santa Clara, California, and each party hereto
irrevocably submits to ...