United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND (DOC.
January 10, 2017, plaintiff Robert Heffington filed this
action against defendant FCA U.S. LLC (“FCA”) in
the Sacramento County Superior Court, alleging state law
causes of action for breaches of express and implied
warranties under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act,
California Civil Code § 1790 et seq. (the
“Song-Beverly Act”), and fraudulent concealment.
(See Doc. No. 1-1.) Defendant removed the action to
this court on February 14, 2017, on the basis of diversity
jurisdiction. (Doc. No. 1.)
5, 2017, plaintiff filed the instant motion to remand the
case to state court, arguing that defendant FCA had failed to
establish both complete diversity of citizenship of the
parties and that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000,
as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Doc. No. 15.)
Defendant did not file an opposition to that motion. The
court heard oral argument on August 1, 2017. Attorney
Alastair F. Hamblin appeared telephonically on behalf of
plaintiff, and attorney Kristi Livedalen appeared
telephonically on behalf of defendant. At the hearing, the
court granted defendant leave to file an opposition within
two weeks, and granted plaintiff leave to file a reply one
week thereafter. On August 15, 2016, defendant filed its
opposition. (Doc. No. 19.) Plaintiff did not file a reply.
considered the parties' written submissions and oral
argument, and for the reasons set forth below,
plaintiff's motion to remand will be denied.
defendant in state court may remove a civil action to federal
court so long as that case could originally have been filed
in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a); City of
Chicago v. Int'l Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156,
163 (1997). Thus, removal of a state action may be based on
either diversity jurisdiction or federal question
jurisdiction. City of Chicago, 522 U.S. at 163;
Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392
(1987). Removal jurisdiction is based entirely on federal
statutory authority. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441 et
seq. These removal statutes are strictly construed, and
removal jurisdiction is to be rejected in favor of remand to
the state court if there are doubts as to the right of
removal. Nevada v. Bank of Am. Corp., 672 F.3d 661,
667 (9th Cir. 2012); Geographic Expeditions, Inc. v.
Estate of Lhotka, 599 F.3d 1102, 1107 (9th Cir. 2010);
Provincial Gov't of Marinduque v. Placer Dome,
Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir. 2009); Gaus v.
Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). The
defendant seeking removal of an action from state court bears
the burden of establishing grounds for federal jurisdiction,
by a preponderance of the evidence. Geographic
Expeditions, 599 F.3d at 1106-07; Hunter v. Philip
Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 2009);
Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566-67. The district court must
remand the case “[i]f at any time before final judgment
it appears that the district court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); see also
Smith v. Mylan, Inc., 761 F.3d 1042, 1044 (9th Cir.
2014); Bruns v. NCUA, 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir.
1997) (holding that remand for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction “is mandatory, not
contends that defendant FCA failed to establish facts
necessary to support diversity jurisdiction in the federal
courts. Diversity jurisdiction exists in actions between
citizens of different states where the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000 exclusive of interest and costs. 28 U.S.C.
Citizenship of Defendant FCA
1332 first requires complete diversity of citizenship, and
the presence “of a single plaintiff from the same State
as a single defendant deprives the district court of original
diversity jurisdiction over the entire action.”
Abrego Abrego v. Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d 676, 679
(9th Cir. 2006) (citations omitted). For purposes of
diversity jurisdiction, a natural person is a citizen of the
state in which she is domiciled, and she is presumptively
domiciled at her place of residence. See Kantor v.
Wellesley Galleries, Ltd., 704 F.2d 1088, 1090 (9th Cir.
1983); accord Naegele v. Tonius, 320 F. App'x
550, 551 (9th Cir. 2009). A corporation, including one
incorporated in a foreign country, is a citizen of its place
of incorporation and its principal place of business. 28
U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1); Nike, Inc. v. Comercial Iberica
de Exclusivas Deportivas, S.A., 20 F.3d 987, 990 (9th
Cir. 1994). A limited liability company is a citizen of all
the states of which its owners or members are citizens.
Johnson v. Columbia Props. Anchorage, LP, 437 F.3d
894, 899 (9th Cir. 2006).
plaintiff's citizenship, the only evidence now before the
court is the allegation in plaintiff's complaint that he
resides in California. (See Doc. No. 1-1 ¶ 2.)
On defendant's motion to remand, neither party disputes
that plaintiff is a citizen of California. Thus, absent any
countervailing evidence or argument, the court finds
plaintiff more likely than not to be a citizen of the state
notice of removal and accompanying declaration, defendant FCA
states that (1) FCA is a limited liability company organized
under the laws of the state of Delaware; (2) the sole member
of FCA is FCA North America Holding LLC (“FCA North
America”), a limited liability company organized under
the laws of the state of Delaware; and (3) the sole member of
FCA North America is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, N.V., a
publically traded company (naamloze vennootschap)
incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands, and with its
principal place of business in London, England. (Doc. No. 1
¶¶ 6, 9-11; Doc. No. 3 ¶¶ 2-4, 7-9.)
Because both defendant FCA and its sole member FCA North
America are limited liability companies, their citizenship
ultimately depends on the citizenship of Fiat Chrysler
Automobiles, N.V. Accordingly, based on the evidence
presented, defendant FCA is more likely than not a citizen of
the Netherlands and England, for purposes of diversity
jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1).
these reasons, the court concludes that this is an action
between citizens of different states or foreign
Amount in Controversy
addition to diversity of citizenship, the party asserting
diversity jurisdiction also bears the burden of proving by a
preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. Sanchez v. Monumental Life Ins.
Co., 102 F.3d 398, 404 (9th Cir. 1996). The amount in
controversy, which must be determined as of the date of
removal, see Conrad Assoc. v. Hartford Accident &
Indem. Co., 994 F.Supp. 1196, 1200 (N.D. Cal. 1998)
(citing Miranti v. Lee, 3 F.3d 925, 928 (5th Cir.
1993); and United Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Human
Relations Comm'n, 24 F.3d 1008, 1014 (7th Cir.
1994)), “is simply an estimate of the total amount in
dispute, not a prospective assessment of [the]
defendant's liability, ” Lewis v. Verizon Comm.
Inc., 627 F.3d 395, 400 (9th Cir. 2010). “In
calculating the amount in controversy, a court must assume
that the allegations in the complaint are true and that a
jury will return a verdict for plaintiffs on all claims
alleged.” Page v. Luxottica ...