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Hamid v. Nike Retail Services, Inc,

United States District Court, C.D. California

June 13, 2017





         Before the Court is Plaintiff Omran Hamid's (“Plaintiff”) Motion to Remand (“Motion”) (Dkt. 13). The Court finds this matter appropriate for resolution without oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; L.R. 7-15. Having reviewed the papers and considered the parties' arguments, the Court hereby DENIES Plaintiff's Motion.

         I. Background

         On February 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed this action in state court. See Notice of Removal (Dkt. 1) Ex. A at 1. In the operative complaint, the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff brings causes of action against Defendants Nike Retail Serivces, Inc. (“Nike”); R.J. Hill (“Hill”); and Rianna Marie Lopez (“Lopez”), (collectively, “Defendants”) for (1) unlawful collection or receipt of wages due under California Labor Code §§ 221, 224, 225; (2) failure to indemnify for expenditures incurred in discharge of duties under California Labor Code § 2802; (3) illegal terms of employment under California Labor Code § 432.5; (4) failure to pay all wages due to discharged or quitting employees under California Labor Code §§ 201-03; (5) failure to furnish itemized statements under California Labor Code §§ 226, 246(i); (6) failure to provide paid sick days under California Labor Code §§ 245.5-49; (7) failure to maintain records under California Labor Code §§ 558, 1174, 1174.5, 274.5(a); (8) failure to provide seats under California Labor Code § 1198, Industrial Welfare Commission Order No. 7 § 14; (9) failure to furnish safe and healthful employment and place of employment under California Labor Code §§ 6400, 6401, 6306, 6403, 6407; (10) failure to pay minimum wage under California Labor Code §§ 1197, 1194, 1194.2, 1197.1; and(11) coercion under California Labor Code § 450. Notice of Removal Ex. B (“FAC”). Plaintiff further seeks: (12) injunctive relief; (13) penalties under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) under California Labor Code § 2699 et seq.; and (14) penalties under California Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) under California Business & Professions Code § 17200 et seq. Notice of Removal Ex. B (“FAC”).

         On April 3, 2017, Defendant removed the case to this Court, invoking this Court's original jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). See Notice of Removal ¶ 9.

         Nike is an Oregon corporation, Hill is a Colorado resident, and Lopez is a California resident. FAC ¶¶ 4-6. Plaintiff is a California resident. Id. ¶ 2.

         Lopez is a “Retail District Director” employed by Nike, and Plaintiff contends that she directly oversaw, controlled, and managed multi-store operations and exerscised “significant control” over putative class members “overall working conditions.” Id. ¶ 6. Plaintiff further alleges that Lopez “permitted, authorized, approved, and ratified” the labor law violations that putative class members suffered. Id. Plaintiff also provides a job description for Lopez:

Nike's Retail District Directors are held by Nike to be “accountable for the overall leadership and people management of the district, including human resource planning, proactively recruiting and hiring top talent, training and development, managing performance, rewards and recognition programs, succession and career planning, coaching and counseling.” NIKE Stores - Retail District Director, Job Description, ID 822758.

Id. ¶ 8.

         Defendants filed the instant Motion on April 3, 2017. Plaintiffs opposed on April 22, 2017 (Dkt. 16), and Defendants replied on April 26, 2017 (Dkt. 17).

         II. Legal Standard

         “If at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). Removal of a case from state to federal court is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1441, which provides in pertinent part that “any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed . . . to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.” The removing defendant must file a notice of removal in the appropriate United States District Court, together with all process, pleadings, and orders served upon the defendant. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(a). Notice of removal must be filed within 30 days of receiving a copy of the original complaint, or “within 30 days after the service of summons upon the defendant, if such initial pleading has then been filed in court and is not required to be served on the defendant, whichever period is shorter.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b). Remand may be ordered for lack of subject matter jurisdiction or any defect in the removal procedure. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).

         CAFA applies to class action lawsuits in which the proposed class has at least 100 members and the primary defendants are not a “States, State officials, or other governmental entities against whom the district court may be foreclosed from ordering relief.” § 1332(d)(5). A federal district court has original jurisdiction over such class actions if the amount in controversy exceeds $5, 000, 000 and any plaintiff is diverse from any defendant. § 1332(d)(2), (5); Serrano v. 180 Connect, Inc., 478 F.3d 1018, 1021 (9th Cir. 2007). Under CAFA, “the burden of establishing removal jurisdiction remains . . . on the proponent of federal jurisdiction.” Abrego Abrego v. The Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d 676, 685 (9th Cir. 2006).

         By statute, there are two sets of circumstances under which a district court must decline to exercise jurisdiction over a class action it has CAFA jurisdiction over: the “local controversy” and “home-state controversy” exceptions. See § 1332(d)(3)-(4). Once it is established that a court has jurisdiction under CAFA, “the objecting party bears the burden of proof as to the applicability of any express statutory exception . . . .” Serrano, 478 F.3d at 1024.

         Usually, to protect the jurisdiction of state courts, removal jurisdiction should be strictly construed in favor of remand. Harris v. Bankers Life and Cas. Co., 425 F.3d 689, 698 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheet, 313 U.S. 100, 108-09 (1941)). However, “no antiremoval presumption attends cases invoking CAFA, which Congress enacted to facilitate adjudication of certain class actions in federal court.” Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 554 (2014); see also S. Rep. No. 109-14, p. 43 (2005) (noting 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.”).

         III. Discussion

         Here, Defendants argue that this Court has original jurisdiction under CAFA. See Notice of Removal ¶ 9. Plaintiff claims that Defendants have failed to show that this action meets CAFA's amount in controversy requirement. Mot. at 14. Further, Plaintiff argues that even if this Court has jurisdiction, it is required to decline to exercise it because of either the local controversy exception or the home state controversy exception. Mot. at 3, 13.

         A. CAFA Jurisdiction

         This is not a suit against a State, State official, or other governmental entity. Nike has offered evidence, and Plaintiffs do not appear to contest, that there are 10, 030 putative class members. See Declaration of Steven Nelson (“Nelson Decl.”) ¶ 6. Accordingly, CAFA is applicable here. See § 1332(d)(5).

         Before this Court can exercise original jurisdiction under CAFA, Defendants must demonstrate that CAFA's diversity and amount in controversy requirements are met. See Abrego Abrego, 443 F.3d at 685.

         For diversity jurisdiction purposes, a corporation is “deemed to be a citizen of every State and foreign state by which it has been incorporated and of the State or foreign state where it has its principal place of business.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1). The phrase “principal place of business” refers to the place where the corporation's high level officers direct, control, and coordinate the corporation's activities. Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 80-81 (2010). Nike is incorporated under the laws of Oregon and has ...

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