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Camacho v. JLG Industries, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

September 6, 2017

RAUL CAMACHO, ET AL.
v.
JLG INDUSTRIES, INC., ET AL.

          PRESENT: HONORABLE DAVID O. CARTER, JUDGE

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         PROCEEDINGS (IN CHAMBERS): ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO REMAND [14]

         Before the Court is Plaintiffs Raul Camacho (“Camacho”) and Lucia R. Materrano's (“Materrano”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) Motion to Remand Case to the Superior Court of California, County of Orange (“Motion”) (Dkt. 14). Materrano is representing Camacho as his guardian ad litem and is also a plaintiff in this action, seeking damages for loss of consortium. The Court finds this matter appropriate for resolution without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15. Having reviewed the moving papers and considered the parties' arguments, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs' Motion.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         The Court adopts the facts as set out in Plaintiffs' Complaint (“Compl.”) (Dkt. 1) and JLG Industries, Inc.'s (“JLG”) Notice of Removal (Dkt. 1).

         On or about December 8, 2015, Plaintiff Camacho was installing glass in a hotel while standing on a scissor lift. Compl. ¶ 9. While bending over to lift the glass, he slipped and fell to the concrete below. Id. ¶ 11. Plaintiffs allege that Camacho suffered traumatic brain injury, among other severe injuries, as a direct result of the fall. Id. ¶ 12.

         On February 9, 2017, Plaintiffs brought this action in the Superior Court of California, County of Orange. Notice of Removal ¶ 1. They allege that a defective condition existed in equipment manufactured by JLG and rented out by Sunbelt Rentals, Inc. (“Sunbelt”) (collectively, “Defendants”) and seek damages for product liability, negligence, and loss of consortium. Id. ¶ 3.

         On July 5, 2017, Plaintiffs' Workmen's Compensation Carrier, National Security Insurance Company (“NSIC”) filed a motion to intervene as a subrogee pursuant to California Labor Code §§ 3852-3. Mot. at 1. The Superior Court scheduled a hearing on NSIC's motion for July 17, 2017. On July 12, 2017, a week after NSIC filed its motion to intervene, Defendant JLG removed the case based on diversity jurisdiction. Id. Plaintiffs do not contest that diversity jurisdiction exists in this matter.

         On August 9, 2017, Plaintiffs filed the instant Motion, arguing that removal while the motion to intervene was pending in state court is barred by 28 U.S.C. § 1445(c). Id. at 2. On August 21, 2017, Defendant Sunbelt filed its Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion (“Sunbelt Opp'n”) (Dkt. 15). Also on August 21, 2017, Defendant JLG joined in Sunbelt's Opposition (Dkt. 16) and filed its own Opposition (“JLG Opp'n”) (Dkt. 17).

         II. Legal Standard

         Removal of a case from state to federal court is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1441, which provides in pertinent part that “[e]xcept as otherwise expressly provided by an act of Congress, 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 thirty 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).

         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)). If there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance, remand must be ordered. See Ethridge v. Harbor House Rest., 861 F.2d 1389, 1393 (9th Cir. 1988).

         III. Discussion

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1445(c), Congress expressly prohibits removal of “[a] civil action in any State court arising under the workmen's compensation laws of such State . . . .” Claims under California Labor Code § 3852 arise under California's workers' compensation laws and therefore may not be removed from state court. Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. Gen. Motors Corp., 242 F.Supp.2d 736, 739 (E.D. Cal. 2003). Plaintiffs argue that removing their claim while a motion to intervene under California Labor Code § 3852 was pending in state court violated 28 U.S.C. § 1445(c). Mot. at 2. In response, Defendants argue that § 1445(c) was not implicated, because only NSIC's subrogation claim-not Plaintiffs' claims ...


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