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Ramirez v. Quemetco, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

July 11, 2017

Salvador C. Ramirez
v.
Quemetco, Inc.,

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

          S. JAMES OTERO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         PROCEEDINGS (in chambers): ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND [Docket No. 16]

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Salvador Ramirez's ("Ramirez" or "Plaintiff") Motion for Order Remanding Case to State Court ("Motion"), filed June 1, 2017. Defendant Quemetco, Inc. ("Quemetco" or "Defendant") filed its Opposition to the Motion ("Opposition") on June 12, 2017. Plaintiff filed a Reply in Support of the Motion ("Reply") on June 19, 2017. The Court found this matter suitable for disposition without oral argument and vacated the hearing scheduled for July 3, 2017. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b). For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion to Remand is GRANTED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Salvador Ramirez ("Ramirez" or Plaintiff") is the named plaintiff in the instant class action wage and hour dispute. (See generally Notice of Removal ("Removal"), Ex. A, Class Action Complaint ("Compl."), ECF No. 1-1.) On March 2, 2017, Ramirez filed the Class Action Complaint in the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, asserting claims under California law for:

(1) Failure to pay overtime wages ("Overtime Claim")
(2) Failure to pay minimum wages; ("Minimum Wage Claim")
(3) Failure to provide meal periods;
(4) Failure to provide rest periods; ("Rest Period Claim")
(5) Failure to pay all wages upon termination;
(6) Failure to provide accurate wage statements; and
(7) Unfair competition.

(See generally Compl.) Plaintiff seeks to represent five classes of similarly situated current or former employees of Quemetco and its subsidiaries or related companies. (See generally Compl. ¶¶ 1, 20.) Plaintiff alleges that, for at least four years prior to the filing of the instant action, Quemetco had a "consistent policy" of failing to pay employee wages, including overtime wages as a consequence of both (1) unevenly rounding time worked by its employees and (2) failing to include all forms of remuneration in determining employees' regular rate of pay. (See Compl. ¶¶ 2-3.) Plaintiff also alleges that Quemetco had a consistent policy of failing to provide its employees the meal and rest periods required under California law, and for failing to provide compensation for time worked during such periods. (See Compl. ¶¶ 4-5.) Plaintiff seeks recovery of unpaid overtime and minimum wages, plus interest and penalties, attorneys' fees, and costs. (See Compl. ¶¶ 35, 40.)

         On May 4, 2017, Quemetco removed to this Court on the basis of federal preemption pursuant to § 301 ("Section 301") of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 185[1]and supplemental jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. (See Removal ¶ 1, ECF No. 1). Specifically, Quemetco argues that Ramirez's Overtime Claim and Minimum Wage Claim are preempted.[2] (See generally Removal; Opp'n, ECF No. 18.) Plaintiff grounds his claims in California's Labor Code, Sections 201-203, 226, 226.7, 510, 512, 1194, 1994.2, 1197, the Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 11070, and the Business & Professional Code, Sections 17200-17208. (See Compl. ¶¶ 7-8.) Nonetheless, Quemetco argues that LMRA jurisdiction is proper because Ramirez's claims "necessitate the interpretation of various provisions of the collective bargaining agreement which governed his employment by Quemetco." (Removal ¶ 1.) Specifically, Quemetco argues that Ramirez's Overtime Claim and Minimum Wage Claim are preempted. (See generally Removal, Opp'n.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         Quemetco asserts that Ramirez, as a member of the Teamsters Union, Local 986 ("Local 986"), is subject to the collective bargaining agreements ("CBAs") between Local 986 and Quemetco. (See Removal ¶ 10.) Ramirez does not dispute that he is subject to the CBAs, but maintains that his wage and hour claims are based on rights conferred by "non-negotiable" California law, arising independently of the CBAs between Local 986 and Quemetco. (See Mot. 4, ECF. No. 16.)

         A. Legal Standards

         1. Remand Based on Lack of Federal Question Jurisdiction

         As courts of limited jurisdiction, federal courts are "presumed to lack jurisdiction in a particular case unless the contrary affirmatively appears." See Stock W., Inc. v. Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, 873 F.2d 1221, 1225 (9th Cir. 1989) (citation omitted). Lack of subject matter jurisdiction is never waived, and may be raised by any party at any time. See United States v. Cotton, 535 U.S. 625, 630 (2002); Miguel v. Country Funding Corp., 309 F.3d 1161, 1163-64 (9th Cir. 2002). If at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). When a case is removed to federal court, the removing defendant bears the burden of showing that removal is proper. See Valdez v. Allstate Ins. ...


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