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Guytan v. Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC

United States District Court, C.D. California

June 1, 2017

Anthony Guytan, Plaintiff,
v.
Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO DEFENDANTS' REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS [DOC. NO. 18]

          VIRGINIA A. PHILLIPS, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On April 28, 2017, Plaintiff Anthony Guytan filed a motion to remand to California Superior Court for the County of San Bernardino. (Doc. No. 14.) On May 15, 2017, Defendants Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC, Swift Transportation Services, LLC, Swift Transportation Co., Inc., and Swift Transportation Company filed an opposition and requested sanctions against Plaintiff. (Doc. No. 18.) On May 22, 2017, Plaintiff filed a reply. (Doc. No. 19.)

         This matter is appropriate for resolution without hearing pursuant to Local Rule 7-15 and will stand submitted on the papers timely filed. Having considered the papers filed in support of and in opposition to the motion, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's motion. In addition, the Court DENIES Defendants' request for sanctions.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On February 7, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint in California Superior Court for the County of San Bernardino against Defendants Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC, Swift Transportation Services, LLC, Swift Transportation Co., Inc., Swift Transportation Company, and Does 1 through 100. (Doc. No. 1-1.) The complaint alleges several claims against Defendants, including violations of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), Family Rights Act, Labor Code, public policy, and common law. (Id.)

         On March 31, 2017, Defendants filed a notice of removal, which asserted that this Court has diversity jurisdiction over this matter because (1) Plaintiff is a citizen of California, the named Defendants are citizens of Delaware and Arizona, and Courts should disregard the citizenship of fictitious Defendants pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a); and (2) the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. (Doc. No. 1.) Plaintiff filed the present motion to remand on April 28, 2017. (Doc. No. 14.)

         II. MOTION TO REMAND

         “A motion for remand lies where there is no diversity of citizenship, or the claim does not in fact ‘arise under' federal law.” Cal. Prac. Guide Fed. Civ. Pro. Before Trial Ch. 2D-10; Int'l Primate Prot. League v. Adm'rs of Tulane Ed. Fund, 500 U.S. 72, 87 (1991). “The ‘strong presumption' against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always has the burden of establishing that removal is proper.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992).

         “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, 1069 (9th Cir. 2005). The burden of establishing jurisdiction rests on the Plaintiff as the party asserting jurisdiction. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). A party may invoke the Court's diversity jurisdiction, under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, in “all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds . . . $75, 000 . . . and is between [c]itizens of different States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). Where subject-matter jurisdiction is based on 28 U.S.C. § 1332, complete diversity of citizenship is required. Owen Equip. & Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 373 (1978). In other words, a court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction “unless each defendant is a citizen of a different State from each plaintiff.” Id. For the purpose of establishing diversity jurisdiction, a corporation is a citizen of both the state in which it is incorporated and the state in which it maintains its principal place of business. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1).

         Courts should “strictly construe the removal statute against removal jurisdiction.” Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566. “Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance.” Id.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Violation of Local Rule 7-3

         Under Local Rule 7-3, “counsel contemplating the filing of any motion shall first contact opposing counsel to discuss thoroughly, preferably in person, the substance of the contemplated motion and any potential resolution.” L.R. 7-3 (emphasis in original). The conference “shall take place at least seven (7) days prior to the filing of the motion.” Id. If a resolution cannot be reached, the moving party shall state in its notice of motion the date on which the conference of counsel under Local Rule 7-3 took place. Id.

         Plaintiff's counsel did not meet and confer with defense counsel before filing his motion to remand. The Court could deny Plaintiff's motion for that reason alone. See, e.g., Singer v. Live Nation Worldwide, Inc., No. SACV 11-0427 DOC (MLGx), 2012 WL 123146, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 2012); Superbalife, Int'l v. Powerpay, No. CV 08-5099 PSG, 2008 WL 4559752, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 7, 2008). Even ...


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