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Agredano v. Southwest Water Co.

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 30, 2017

Agredano
v.
Southwest Water Company

          PRESENT: HONORABLE S. JAMES OTERO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         PROCEEDINGS (in chambers): ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND TO STATE COURT AND ATTORNEY'S FEES [Docket No. 13]; DENYING AS MOOT DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, MOTION FOR A MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT; AND MOTION TO STRIKE [Docket No. 11]

         These matters are before the Court on (1) Plaintiff Luis Agredano's ("Plaintiff") Motion to Remand to State Court and Attorney's Fees ("Remand Motion"), filed May 8, 2017; and (2) Defendants Southwest Water Company ("SWWC") and Suburban Water Systems's ("Suburban") (together, "Defendants") Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for a More Definite Statement; and Motion to Strike ("Dismissal Motion"), filed April 13, 2017. Defendants opposed the Remand Motion ("Remand Opposition") on May 15, 2017, and Plaintiff replied ("Remand Reply") on May 22, 2017. Plaintiff opposed the Dismissal Motion ("Dismissal Opposition") on May 26, 2017. The Court found these matters suitable for disposition without oral argument and vacated the hearings set for June 5 and June 19, 2017. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b). For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS the Remand Motion and DENIES AS MOOT the Dismissal Motion.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Allegations in the Complaint and Procedural Posture

         Plaintiff filed the instant putative class action against Defendants on January 26, 2017 in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles. (See Notice of Removal, Ex. A ("Compl."), ECF No. 1-1.) The putative class, which Plaintiff believes to consist of "hundreds of individuals, " is defined to include:

All current and former non-exempt employees of [SWWC] and/or [Suburban] who work or have worked in California, in any of Defendants' construction department, and worked as utility workers, maintenance technicians, field workers or similar job title at any time from and after January 25, 2013.

(Compl. ¶¶ 51, 53.) Plaintiff also seeks to represent a subclass comprised of "[a]ll members of the [class above] who separated employment at any time from and after January 25, 2014." (Compl. ¶ 52.)

         Plaintiff asserts the following six (6) causes of action against Defendants:

(1) failure to provide uninterrupted, thirty-minute long meal periods in violation of California Labor Code §§ 226.7 and 512, (Compl. ¶¶ 63-80);
(2) failure to provide ten-minute rest periods for every four hours worked in violation of California Labor Code § 226.7, (Compl. ¶¶ 81-90);
(3) failure to pay minimum and regular wages in violation of California Labor Code §§ 1194, 1194.2, 1197, and 1198 and the "Minimum Wages" section of the applicable IWC Wage Order by recording an unpaid thirty-minute long meal period regardless of whether the employee took such a meal period, (Compl. ¶¶ 91-104);
(4) failure to pay all overtime wages due to them in violation of California Labor Code §§ 510, 1194, and 1198 and the "Hours and Days of Work" section of the applicable IWC Wage Order, (Compl. ¶¶ 105-120);
(5) failure to timely pay wages due upon separation of employment in violation of California Labor Code §§ 201 through 203, (Compl. ¶¶ 121-128); and
(6) violation of California Business & Professions Code § 17200 et seq., (Compl. ¶¶ 129-143).

         In his Prayer for Relief, Plaintiff requests (1) general and special damages, including premium, regular, and overtime wages; (2) liquidated damages in an amount equal to the wages unlawfully unpaid and interest thereon pursuant to California Labor Code § 1194.2; (3) reasonable attorneys' fees and costs; (4) restitution; (5) a constructive trust; (6) declaratory judgment; and (7) pre- and post-judgment interest. (Compl. at 23-24.)

         Defendants removed to this Court on April 6, 2017, asserting this Court has original jurisdiction over the action pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 ("CAFA") and that the requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1446 had been met. (See Notice of Removal ¶ 1.) Defendants submit that their counsel received both a copy of the Complaint and a Notice of Acknowledgment of Receipt-Civil in the mail on February 28, 2017 and that their counsel executed and mailed these forms to Plaintiff's counsel on March 7, 2017. (Notice of Removal ¶¶ 3, 8, Ex. B.)

         Included in the Notice of Removal are declarations from Kirk Michael ("Michael") and Jocelyn Padilla ("Padilla"). In his declaration, Michael avers he is the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of SWWC and further avers that SWWC is a Delaware corporation with its corporate headquarters in the State of Texas. (See Decl. Kirk Michael in Supp. Notice of Removal ("Michael Removal Decl.") ΒΆΒΆ 1-3.) Meanwhile, in her five-paragraph declaration, Padilla declares that she is the Regional Human Resources Manager of SWWC who "ha[s] access ...


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