United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable MICHAEL W. FITZGERALD, U.S. District
(In Chambers): ORDER RE DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
; PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO REMAND 
the Court are two motions. Defendants filed a Motion to
Dismiss on April 3, 2017. (Docket No. 13). Plaintiff filed an
Opposition and Defendant filed a Reply. (Docket Nos. 15, 20).
filed a Motion to Remand on April 14, 2017. (Docket No. 18).
Defendants filed an Opposition and Plaintiffs filed a Reply.
(Docket Nos. 22, 25).
Court held a hearing on May 15, 2017. For the reasons stated
below the Motion to Remand is DENIED and the Motion to
Dismiss is GRANTED without leave to amend.
Plaintiffs' claims against Chris Ward are all
time-barred, and his citizenship will not be considered for
diversity purposes. Thus, the Court has proper jurisdiction
over the claims. In addition, Plaintiffs' claims against
all Defendants are time-barred and precluded by collateral
estoppel. Accordingly, the Court grants the Motion to
Complaint alleges various claims against Defendants,
including fraud, negligent misrepresentation, conspiracy,
breach of contract, defamation, and libel, among others, in
connection with Defendants' suspension of Plaintiff Gina
Bongiovanni's “Letter of Understanding” with
Defendants. (Complaint, Docket No. 1-1, ¶ 20).
Defendants are various branches of State Farm, including
State Farm Financial Services, State Farm Automobile
Insurance Company, and others. In addition, Plaintiffs have
named Chris Ward, an individual, as a Defendant.
not Plaintiffs' first time asserting these types of
claims against these Defendants. In August 2014, Plaintiffs
filed suit in Superior Court against Ward and other State
Farm defendants alleging the same thirteen causes of action
as in this action. (Request for Judicial Notice (Docket No.
14) Ex. 1). The parties refer to that prior case as
Bongiovanni I. In November 2014, the Superior Court
compelled the entire action to arbitration under the
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”)
in accordance with Bongiovanni's and Ward's
arbitration agreements. (Id., Exs. 2-4). In January
2015, Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the claims in
Bongiovanni I and chose not to arbitrate.
(Id., Ex. 5).
December 2014, Plaintiffs filed another suit in Superior
Court against State Farm Bank and various State Farm
employees alleging the same thirteen causes of action.
(Id., Exs. 6-7). The parties refer to that prior
case as Bongiovanni II. After Bongiovanni
II was removed to the Central District, this Court
granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on
August 1, 2016. (Id., Ex. 13). Ward was not a
defendant in that case.
January 17, 2017, Plaintiffs filed this current action in
Superior Court. (Complaint, Docket No. 1-1). The Court agrees
with Defendants that the precise nature of Plaintiffs'
claims is difficult to understand from the Complaint. Ward is
alleged to have told Bongiovanni that State Farm had
suspended the Letter of Understanding. (Id.
¶¶ 21, 38). In addition, Ward is alleged to have
stated to Bongiovanni that she had a “Department of
Insurance Complaint, ” which Bongiovanni alleges was
false. (Id. ¶ 42). Plaintiffs seem to allege
that the Letter of Understanding was suspended based on
Ward's recommendation. (Id. ¶ 78). Ward
allegedly concealed or misrepresented the nature of his
recommendation, which misled Plaintiffs. (Id.
¶¶ 50, 79).
assert that until a recent deposition of Stephanie Hahn,
another employee of State Farm, they did not know the
involvement of Ward in the decision made against Bongiovanni.
(Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand at 1 (“The
discrepancy that gave rise to this present lawsuit is stated
by Chris Ward (“Ward”) to the Plaintiff in his
4/27/16 Deposition verse the 6/23/16 Deposition of former
employee Stephanie Hahn.”)).
REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE
filed a Request for Judicial Notice. (Docket No. 14).
general rule, a district court may not consider any material
beyond the pleadings in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim. Skilstaf, Inc. v.
CVS Caremark Corp., 669 F.3d 1005, 1016 n.9 (9th Cir.
2012). The Court may, however, take judicial notice of
matters of public record outside the pleadings that are not
subject to reasonable dispute. Fed.R.Evid. 201(b); W.
Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n v. Heflin Corp., 797
F.Supp. 790, 792 (N.D. Cal. 1992) (taking judicial notice of
documents in a county public record, including deeds of
trust). The Ninth Circuit also permits district courts, on a
motion to dismiss, “to take into account documents
‘whose contents are alleged in a complaint and whose
authenticity no party questions, but which are not physically
attached to the [plaintiff's] pleading.'”
Knievel v. ESPN, 393 F.3d 1068, 1076 (9th Cir. 2005)
(quoting In re Silicon Graphics Inc. Sec. Litig.,
183 F.3d 970, 986 (9th Cir. 1999)).
Court may take judicial notice of court filings and other
matters of public record. Reyn's Pasta Bella, LLC v.
Visa USA, Inc., 442 F.3d 741, 746 n. 6 (9th Cir. 2006).
In addition, the Court may take judicial notice of documents
the complaint necessarily relies on. United States v.
Corinthian Colleges, 655 F.3d 984, 999 (9th Cir. 2011).
A complaint necessarily relies on documents when
““(1) the complaint refers to the document; (2)