United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO
AMEND; [DOC. NO. 14] DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND
[DOC. NO. 15]
MICHAEL M. ANELLO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
January 12, 2017, Defendant removed this action to this Court
from the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego.
Now, Plaintiff moves for leave to amend the pleadings, and
moves to remand this case to state court. See Doc.
Nos. 14, 15. The Court found the matters suitable for
determination on the papers and without oral argument
pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1). For the following
reasons, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's
motion for leave to amend, and DENIES
Plaintiff's motion to remand. See Doc. Nos. 14,
December 5, 2016, Plaintiff George Adams filed this action
against Defendant BMW of North America, LLC alleging causes
of action for violation of California's Song-Beverly
Consumer Warranty Act, California Commercial Code section
2313 et seq. See Doc. No. 1. Plaintiff
served Defendant on December 16, 2016. Specifically,
Plaintiff's Complaint alleges causes of action for breach
of the implied warranty of merchantability and breach of
express warranty under the Act. Plaintiff's claims arise
out of his purchase of a 2014 BMW Pathfinder vehicle
(“the subject vehicle”), which Plaintiff alleges
had “defects, malfunctions, misadjustments and/or
nonconformities.” See Compl., Doc. No. 1-2,
answering the Complaint on January 10, 2017, Defendant
removed this action to this Court on January 12, 2017. In
removing the action, Defendant invoked diversity jurisdiction
pursuant to Title 28 of the United States Code, sections
1332(a) and 1441(a). See Doc. No. 1.
this case was removed, the Parties have participated in an
Early Neutral Evaluation and a Case Management Conference
with the assigned magistrate judge, and have submitted a
joint discovery plan. Further, on June 9, 2017, the assigned
magistrate judge issued the Scheduling Order regulating
discovery and other pre-trial proceedings in this action.
Among other things, the Scheduling Order dictates that any
motion to join parties or amend the pleadings must be filed
on or before July 7, 2017. On July 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed
the instant motion to amend the pleadings and motion to
remand. See Doc. Nos. 14, 15.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Lowdermilk v.
U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n, 479 F.3d 994, 997 (9th
Cir. 2007). Federal courts possess only that power authorized
by the Constitution or a statute. See Bender v.
Williamsport Area Sch. Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986).
Pursuant to Title 28 of the United States Code, section
1332(a)(1), a federal district court has jurisdiction over
“all actions where the matter in controversy exceeds
the sum or value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and
costs, ” and the dispute is between citizens of
different states. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). The Supreme
Court has interpreted § 1332 to require “complete
diversity of citizenship, ” meaning each plaintiff must
be diverse from each defendant. Caterpillar Inc. v.
Lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 67-68 (1996). Title 28 of the United
States Code, section 1441(a), provides for removal of a civil
action from state to federal court if the case could have
originated in federal court. If a matter is removable solely
on the basis of diversity jurisdiction pursuant to §
1332, the action may not be removed if any properly joined
and served defendant is a citizen of the forum state.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2). If, after proper
removal, subject matter jurisdiction is destroyed, a
plaintiff may file a motion to remand or the court may raise
the jurisdictional issue sua sponte. See Steel
Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83,
93-94 (1998); see Indus. Tectonics, Inc. v. Aero
Alloy, 912 F.2d 1090, 1092 (9th Cir. 1990); Sabag v.
FCA US, LLC, No. 216CV06639CASRAOX, 2016 WL 6581154, at
*7 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 7, 2016).
moves for leave to amend the pleadings in order to add a
non-diverse defendant. See Doc. No. 14. Plaintiff
also moves to remand this action to state court on the
grounds that joinder of the non-diverse defendant destroys
the Court's jurisdiction over this action. See
Doc. No. 15. Because both motions depend on the propriety of
Plaintiff's request to add a diversity-destroying
defendant, the Court begins by addressing Plaintiff's
motion for leave to amend.
Motion for Leave to Amend
seeks leave to amend in order to add as a defendant GMG
Motors, Inc. d/b/a BMW of San Diego (“GMG
Motors”). Plaintiff wishes to assert a state law claim
of negligence against GMG Motors for allegedly negligent
repair of the subject vehicle. Plaintiff argues that joinder
of GMG Motors would be proper under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 20, and that pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 15, the Court should grant leave to amend with
“extreme liberality.” See Doc. No. 14.
as Defendant correctly points out, Rule 15 does not apply
where a plaintiff seeks to add a non-diverse defendant, as is
the case here. District courts in California agree that
where a party “seeks to join additional defendants
whose joinder would destroy subject matter jurisdiction,
” courts must consider whether to exercise their
discretion to allow joinder under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e),
rather than under the more liberal Rule 15(a) standard.
See, e.g., San Jose Neurospine v. Cigna Health
& Life Ins. Co., No. 16-CV-05061-LHK, 2016 WL
7242139, at *6-7 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 15, 2016); Clinco v.
Roberts, 41 F.Supp.2d 1080, 1087 (C.D. Cal. 1999).
Specifically, section 1447(e) states that “[i]f after
removal the plaintiff seeks to join additional defendants
whose joinder would destroy subject matter jurisdiction, the
court may deny joinder, or permit joinder and remand the
action to the State court.” See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(e). District courts in California generally
consider six factors in determining the “propriety and
fairness” of permitting joinder:
(1) [W]hether the party sought to be joined is needed for
just adjudication and would be joined under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 19(a); (2) whether the statute of limitations
would preclude an original action against the new defendant
in state court; (3) whether there has been unexplained delay
in requesting joinder; (4) whether joinder is intended solely
to defeat federal jurisdiction; (5) whether the claims
against the new defendant appear valid; and (6) whether
denial of joinder will prejudice the plaintiff.
See, e.g., Lara v. Bandit Indus., Inc., No.
2:12-CV-02459-MCE-AC, 2013 WL 1155523, at *1-2 (E.D. Cal.
Mar. 19, 2013) (quoting IBC Aviation Serv., Inc. v.
Compania Mexicana de Aviacion, S.A. de C.V., 125
F.Supp.2d 1008, 1011 (N.D. Cal. 2000)); Medina v. Oanda
Corp., No. 5:16-CV-02170-EJD, 2017 WL 1159572, at *3
(N.D. Cal. Mar. 29, 2017). However, many courts only analyze
the first five of the above factors. See Clinco, 41
F.Supp.2d at 1082. Further, other courts have considered
additional factors such as whether joinder will result in
prejudice to any of the parties, “the closeness of the
relationship between the new and the old parties, ” the
effect that joinder would have on the district court's
jurisdiction, and whether the new party had notice of the
pendency of the instant action. See Murphy v. Am. Gen.
Life Ins. Co., 74 F.Supp.3d 1267, 1278 (C.D. Cal. 2015).
Courts “look at the factors as a whole.” See
IBC Aviation Servs., Inc., 125 F.Supp.2d at 1013.
“Any of the factors might prove decisive, and none is
an absolutely necessary condition for joinder.”
Yang v. Swissport USA, Inc., No. C 09- 03823 SI,
2010 WL 2680800, at *3 (N.D. Cal. July 6, 2010).
Defendant's opposition brief, Defendant addresses all of
the factors listed above. In Plaintiff's reply brief, he
only addresses whether GMG Motors is needed for just
adjudication, the timeliness of his motion, and the validity
of his negligence claim. As such, the Court analyzes as many
of the ...