Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Francisco v. Emeritus Corp.

United States District Court, C.D. California

June 12, 2017

ARISTIDES FRANCISCO
v.
EMERITUS CORPORATION ET AL.

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

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         Proceedings: (IN CHAMBERS)

         ORDER DISCHARGING OSC [24], DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND [16], AND DENYING AS MOOT DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS [11]

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pending 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.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff, 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.)

         Plaintiff 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.)

         According 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." (Compl. ¶15(a)-(f).)

         B. Procedural History

         On 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.)

         On 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.

         (See 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.)

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

          "[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. § 1332(d)(2).

         Remand 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 566).

         A 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).

         To meet 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).

         Where 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.

         IV. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff 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 following ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.