United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The BEVERLY REID O'CONNELL, United States
District Honorable Judge
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
DISCHARGING OSC , DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
REMAND , AND DENYING AS MOOT DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
before the Court are: (1) Plaintiff Aristides Francisco's
("Plaintiff or "Francisco") Motion to Remand,
(Dkt. No. 16 (hereinafter, "Motion" or
"Mot.")); (2) Plaintiffs Response to the
Court's Order to Show Cause, (Dkt. No. 24); and, (3)
Defendants Emeritus Corporation and Brookdale Senior Living
Communities, Inc.'s ("Defendants") Motion to
Dismiss, (Dkt. No. 11 ("MTD")). After consideration
of the papers filed in support of and in opposition to the
instant Motion, the Court deems these matters appropriate for
decision without oral argument of counsel. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 78; CD. Cal. L.R. 7-15. For the following reasons,
the Court DISCHARGES its Order to Show Cause, DENDZS
Plaintiffs Motion to Remand, and DENIES as moot
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.
a California resident, worked for Defendant Emeritus
Corporation ("Emeritus"), in a non-exempt,
hourly-paid position until the termination of his employment
on September 29, 2013. (Dkt. No. 1-2 ("Compl.")
¶ 9; Dkt. No. 1 ("Removal") ¶ 12.) On
July 31, 2014, Defendant Brookdale Senior Living Communities,
Inc. ("Brookdale"), acquired Emeritus. Emeritus and
Brookdale (collectively, "Defendants") are not
citizens of California. (Removal ¶*f 20-21.)
claims that "Defendants uniformly administered a
corporate policy, practice and/or procedure of (1) failing to
pay all meal period wages and rest break wages; (2) failing
to pay all minimum and overtime wages; (3) failing to provide
accurate wage statements; (4) to pay all wages due and owing
upon termination of employment; and, (5) engaging in unfair
business practices." (Compl. ¶ 18.)
to Plaintiff, Defendants have subjected other employees to
the same "systematic illegal practices." (Compl.
¶ 2.) Consequently, Plaintiff filed the instant class
action seeking to represent "[a]ll current and former
non-exempt employees of Defendants who worked in California
at any time from March 16, 2013, to the present."
March 16, 2017, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in the Superior
Court of California, County of Los Angeles. (Dkt. No. 1-1.)
Plaintiff s Complaint alleges five causes of action: (1)
violation of California Labor Code sections 226.7 and 512;
(2) violation of California Labor Code sections 510 and 1194;
(3) violation of California Labor Code section 226; (4)
violation of California Labor Code section 203; and, (5)
violation of California Business and Professions Code section
17200 et seq. (Compl. ¶¶ 28-49.)
April 14, 2017, Defendants filed their Notice of Removal,
alleging this Court's jurisdiction under the Class Action
Fairness Act of 2005, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)
("CAFA"). (See Removal.) Defendants
provided two declarations in support of their motion to
remove: Declaration of Brenda O'Keefe, the Lead Business
Systems Analyst for Brookdale Employee Services (Dkt. No. 1-5
(hereinafter, "O'Keefe Decl.")), and
Declaration of Liberty Stansberry, Brookdale's Senior
Vice President of Human Resources, (Dkt. No. 1-4
(hereinafter, "Stansberry Decl.")). On April 21,
2017, Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, a Motion for a More Definite Statement. (Dkt.
No. 11.) On May 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion.
Mot.) On May 22, 2017, Defendants opposed Plaintiffs
Motion. (Dkt. No. 17 (hereinafter, "Opp'n").)
On May 26, 2017, Plaintiff replied in support of his Motion
to Remand. (Dkt. No. 18 ("Reply").) Then, on June
1, 2017, Plaintiff filed a document entitled "First
Amended Complaint." (Dkt. No. 19.) On June 7, 2017, the
Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause as to why (1) the
proposed amended complaint was filed without a concurrent
motion for leave to amend, and, (2) the proposed amended
complaint should not be stricken from the docket. (Dkt. No.
21 ("OSC").) On June 7, 2017, Plaintiff moved ex
parte to continue the class certification filing deadline
imposed under Local Rule 23-3. (Dkt. No. 22.) On June 9,
2017, Plaintiff responded to the Court's OSC, attaching a
stipulation of the parties for amendment of the Complaint.
(See Dkt. No. 24.)
"[A] federal court generally may not rule on the merits
of a case without first determining that it has jurisdiction
over the category of a claim in suit (subject-matter
jurisdiction) and the parties (personal jurisdiction)."
Sinochem Int'l Co. v. Malaysia Int'l Shipping
Corp., 549 U.S. 422, 430-31 (2007) (citing Steel Co.
v. Citizens for Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 93-102
(1998)). Whether a defendant may rightfully remove a case
from a state court to a federal district court is entirely
governed by statutory authorization from Congress.
Libhart v. Santa Monica Dairy Co., 592 F.2d 1062,
1064 (9th Cir. 1979). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1441, a civil
action may be removed to the district court only if that
court has original jurisdiction over the issues alleged in
the state court action. See 28 U.S.C. §
1332(d). Original jurisdiction may be established pursuant to
CAFA. Id. Under CAFA, a federal district court has
jurisdiction over a civil class action in which the class has
minimum diversity and more than 100 members, and in which the
amount in controversy exceeds $5, 000, 000. 28 U.S.C. §
may be ordered for lack of subject matter jurisdiction or any
defect in the removal procedure. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
Upon a plaintiffs motion to remand, a defendant bears the
burden of establishing proper removal and federal
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. Id.
Where there is a doubt regarding the right to removal,
"a case should be remanded to state court."
Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins., 319 F.3d
1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003) (citing Gaus, 980 F.2d at
different standard applies for claims arising under CAFA,
however, "which Congress enacted to facilitate the
adjudication of certain class actions in federal court."
Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135
S.Ct. 547, 554 (2014); accord Jordan v. Nationstar
Mortg., 781 F.3d 1178, 1182-83 (9th Cir. 2015);
Ibarra v. Manheim Invs., Inc., 775 F.3d 1193, 1197
(9th Cir. 2015). Instead, "CAFA's provisions should
be read broadly, with a strong preference that interstate
class actions should be heard in a federal court if properly
removed by any defendant." Dart, 135 S.Ct. at
554 (quoting S. Rep. No. 109-14, at 43).
the amount in controversy requirement under CAFA, a removing
defendant must plausibly assert that the amount in
controversy exceeds $5, 000, 000. See Ibarra, 775
F.3d at 1197. This requires a "short and plain
statement" of the grounds for removal. 28 U.S.C. 1446;
Dart, 135 S.Ct. at 553-54. This language tracks that
of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), and courts have been
instructed to apply this same liberal pleading standard in
cases of removal involving CAFA. See Dart, 135 S.Ct.
at 553. "The 'short and plain statement'
language from § 1446(a) applies to the entire notice of
removal, and therefore would apply equally to all CAFA
allegations and not just the amount-in-controversy
requirement." Roa v. TS Staffing Sems., Inc.,
No. 2:14-cv-08424-ODW (MRW), 2015 WL 300413, at *2 (CD. Cal.
Jan. 22, 2015).
the amount in controversy is not contested, a defendant is
not required to submit evidence establishing the amount, and
the amount pleaded by the defendant should be generally
accepted if made in good faith. Dart, 135. S.Ct. at
553. Where "the plaintiff contests, or the court
questions, the defendant's allegation" in its notice
of removal, however, further evidence establishing that the
amount in controversy meets the jurisdictional threshold is
required. Id. at 554. Thus, in considering
Plaintiffs motion to remand, the Court must determine,
"by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the
amount-in-controversy requirement has been satisfied."
Id. "Under this system, CAFA's requirements
are to be tested by consideration of real evidence and the
reality of what is at stake in the litigation, using
reasonable assumptions underlying the defendant's theory
of damages exposure." Ibarra, 775 F.3d at 1198.
seeks to have the instant case remanded to state court.
Plaintiff claims that Defendants have failed to meet their
burden to prove jurisdiction under § 1332(d), and
therefore, removal was improper. (Mot. at 1-2.) For the