United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable PERCY ANDERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
IN CHAMBERS - COURT ORDER
the Court is a Notice of Removal filed by defendant Ashley
Furniture Industries, Inc. (“Ashley Furniture”).
Ashley Furniture asserts that this Court has jurisdiction
over the action brought against it by plaintiff Manuel
Calderon (“Plaintiff”) based on the Court's
diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject
matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the
Constitution and Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen
v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct.
1673, 1675, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). A suit filed in state
court may be removed to federal court if the federal court
would have had original jurisdiction over the suit. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(a). A removed action must be remanded to state
court if the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). “The burden of establishing
federal jurisdiction is on the party seeking removal, and the
removal statute is strictly construed against removal
jurisdiction.” Prize Frize, Inc. v. Matrix (U.S.)
Inc., 167 F.3d 1261, 1265 (9th Cir. 1999).
“Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any
doubt as to the right of removal in the first
instance.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564,
566 (9th Cir. 1992).
attempting to invoke this Court's diversity jurisdiction,
Defendant must prove that there is complete diversity of
citizenship between the parties and that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. To
establish citizenship for diversity purposes, a natural
person must be a citizen of the United States and be
domiciled in a particular state. Kantor v. Wellesley
Galleries, Ltd., 704 F.2d 1088, 1090 (9th Cir. 1983).
Persons are domiciled in the places they reside with the
intent to remain or to which they intend to return. See
Kanter v. Warner-Lambert Co., 265 F.3d 853, 857 (9th
Cir. 2001). “A person residing in a given state is not
necessarily domiciled there, and thus is not necessarily a
citizen of that state.” Id. For the purposes
of diversity jurisdiction, a corporation is a citizen of any
state where it is incorporated and of the state where it has
its principal place of business. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c);
see also Indus. Tectonics, Inc. v. Aero Alloy, 912
F.2d 1090, 1092 (9th Cir. 1990).
Notice of Removal alleges that there is complete diversity of
citizenship between Ashley Furniture and Plaintiff. (Notice
of Removal, ¶¶ 13-17.) However, Plaintiff has filed
a Motion for Leave to Amend (Docket No. 18) which represents
that he inadvertently omitted Marco Rodriguez
(“Rodriguez”) from the Complaint's caption,
and therefore requests leave to amend the caption to include
Rodriguez as a defendant.
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “[e]very pleading
must have a caption with the court's name, a title, a
file number, and a Rule 7(a) designation. The title of the
complaint must name all the parties. . . .”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(a). However, in the Ninth Circuit, “the
question of whether a defendant is properly in a case is not
resolved by merely reading the caption of a complaint.
Rather, a party may be properly in a case if the allegations
in the body of the complaint make it plain that the party is
intended as a defendant.” Rice v. Hamilton Air
Force Base Commissary, 720 F.2d 1082, 1085 (9th Cir.
1983); cf. Butler v. Nat'l Cmty. Renaissance of
California, 766 F.3d 1191, 1198 (9th Cir. 2014).
review of the body of Plaintiff's Complaint amply
demonstrates that Plaintiff intended to name Rodriguez as a
defendant. The first paragraph of the Complaint asserts that
“Plaintiff . . . complains of . . . Marco
Rodriguez.” (Notice of Removal, Ex. A at 1
(capitalization omitted).) The Complaint specifically refers
to Rodriguez as a “Defendant.” (See id.
¶ 3.) Approximately half of the Complaint's
“factual summary” section describes
Rodriguez's actions. (See id. ¶¶
16-20.) Finally, Plaintiff's first through seventh causes
of action each complain of Rodriguez's conduct, and
Plaintiff's seventh cause of action for harassment is
specifically asserted against Rodriguez. (See id.
¶¶ 33, 36, 54-55, 58-59, 76-78, 92-95, 107, 118,
132-33, 136-38, 140.) As such, the Court concludes that
Rodriguez is a defendant in this action despite
Plaintiff's failure to include him in the Complaint's
caption. See Rice, 720 F.2d at 1085.
party attempting to invoke the Court's diversity
jurisdiction, Ashley Furniture has the burden to establish
complete diversity among the parties by affirmatively
alleging each party's citizenship. See Kanter,
265 F.3d at 857. Neither the Notice of Removal nor
Plaintiff's Complaint or Proposed Amended Complaint
allege Rodriguez's citizenship. As a result, the Notice
of Removal's allegations are insufficient to invoke the
Court's diversity jurisdiction. Moreover, it appears that
the parties agree that Plaintiff and Rodriguez are not
diverse from one another. (See Declaration of Inna
Kaminer in Support of Motion for Leave to Amend, ¶ 15
(“Defendant took advantage of Plaintiff's
inadvertent error to remove the case knowing that there is no
diversity of jurisdiction . . . .”); id., Ex.
7 (“Defendant cannot stipulate to Plaintiff's
filing of his proposed first amended complaint. As a
diversity-destroying amendment, it would be analyzed with
of the foregoing reasons, Ashley Furniture has failed to meet
its burden to demonstrate the Court's diversity
jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court remands this action to
San Bernardino County Superior Court, Case No. CIVDS1619534,
for lack for subject matter jurisdiction. See 28
U.S.C. § 1447(c).
Court denies Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend
(Docket No. 18) as moot. The Court vacates the Scheduling