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Castle v. Laboratory Corp. of America

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 15, 2017


          Present: The Honorable BEVERLY RED) O'CONNELL, United States District Judge




         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Lisa Castle's ("Plaintiff) Motion to Remand. (Dkt. No. 10 (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; CD. Cal. L.R. 7-15. For the following reasons, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs Motion.


         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff, a resident of Los Angeles County, California, began working for Defendant Laboratory Corporation of America ("Defendant" or "LabCorp") on or about February 21, 2011. (See Dkt. No. 1-1 ("Compl.") ¶ 8.) Her duties and responsibilities included "checking patients in at the front desk, answering phones, drawing blood, employment screening, processing and transferring specimens, receiving drop-off orders, ordering and receiving supplies, cleaning, and stocking." (Id.) In November 2014, Plaintiff was "potentially exposed" to a patient with tuberculosis. (Id. ¶ 9.) This potential exposure allegedly caused Plaintiff to experience shock, despair, stress, depression, and anxiety. (Id. ¶¶ 9, 10.) Due to this experience. Plaintiff took six months' leave of absence and subsequently returned to work on or about August 10, 2015. (Id. ¶¶ 12, 13.)

         About a month after returning to work, Plaintiff gathered her personal belongings and placed them in an empty sharps container, which she allegedly intended to use to carry those belongings to her car so that she would not have to make two trips to her car. (Compl. ¶ 14.) On September 28, 2015, as a result of Plaintiff s removal of the sharps container from Defendant's premises. Defendant suspended Plaintiffs employment pending an investigation into her alleged theft of the sharps container. (Id. ¶ 15.) The next day, Plaintiffs supervisor, Erika Franco, called Plaintiff to inform her that she was terminated. (Id. ¶ 16.)

         B. Procedural History

         Based upon the foregoing factual allegations. Plaintiff initiated this Action on February 21, 2017, in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles ("Los Angeles Superior Court"). (See generally Compl.) Plaintiff brings the following causes of action against Defendant: (1) Retaliation in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"); (2) Wrongful termination in violation of public policy; and, (3) Failure to prevent retaliation in violation of FEHA. (See Compl.) On March 23, 2017, Defendant removed the Action to this Court, invoking this Court's diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Dkt. No. 1 ("Removal") ¶ 3.) On April 21, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Remand. (See Mot.) On May 1, 2017, Defendant timely opposed the Motion. (See Dkt. No. 11 ("Opp'n").) On May 8, 2017, Plaintiff replied in support of her Motion. (Dkt. No. 12 ("Reply").)


         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 Section 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 diversity of citizenship, " meaning each plaintiff must be diverse from each defendant. Caterpillar Inc. v. lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 67-68 (1996).

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), a civil action may be removed to the district court only if the plaintiff could have originally filed the action in federal court. This means removal is proper only if the district court has original jurisdiction over the issues alleged in the state court complaint. If a matter is removable solely on the basis of diversity jurisdiction under § 1332, it may not be removed if any properly joined and served defendant is a citizen of the forum state. See2SXJ.S.C. § 1441(b)(2).

         In determining whether removal in a given case is proper, a court should "strictly construe the removal statute against removal jurisdiction." Gaus v. Miles, Inc.,980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). "Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Id. The removing party, therefore, bears a heavy burden to rebut the presumption against removal. See Id. '[T]he court resolves all ambiguity in favor of remand to state ...

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