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Dorame v. Sprint United Management Co.

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 4, 2018

Jannelle Dorame
v.
Sprint United Management Company et al.

          PRESENT: HONORABLE JOSEPHINE L. STATON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         PROCEEDINGS: (IN CHAMBERS) ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND (Doc. 18)

         Before the Court is a Motion to Remand filed by Plaintiff Jannelle Dorame. (Mot., Doc. 18.) Defendants Sprint/United Management Company and Teresa Lewis opposed, (Opp., Doc. 21), and Plaintiff replied, (Reply, Doc. 22). The Court finds this matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b); C.D. Cal. R. 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing set for April 6, 2018, at 2:30 p.m., is VACATED. For the following reasons, the Motion to Remand is GRANTED.

         I.BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Jannelle Dorame is a citizen of California. (Comp. ¶ 1, Doc. 3-1 at 4.) Defendant Sprint/United Management Company is a corporation that is both incorporated in and has its principal place of business in Kansas. (Notice of Removal ¶ 14, Doc. 1 at 5.) Defendant Teresa Lewis is a citizen of California. (Compl. ¶ 4; Notice of Removal ¶ 15.)

         Plaintiff worked at Sprint's Garden Grove location between approximately December 2012 and February 28, 2017; her final position was as Assistant Store Manager. (Compl. ¶¶ 12-13.) Plaintiff took maternity leave beginning in 2014, and returned in April 2015. (Id. ¶ 15.) When she returned from maternity leave, Lewis had become the District Manager for her store. (Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff understood from her previous District Manager that she would be promoted upon her return from maternity leave, so Lewis conducted an informal interview with Plaintiff. (Id.) During the interview, Lewis asked Plaintiff if she wanted to have more children. (Id.)

         In or around May or June 2015, Plaintiff was waiting for her promotion to become official when she was informed by Chris Montana, the Store Manager, that Regional Manager Jay Butt did not want her to be promoted. (Id. ¶ 17.) Plaintiff alleges that she believes Butt knew that she had recently returned from maternity leave. (Id.) Plaintiff became pregnant again in or around January 2016 and applied for leave on or about August 1, 2016; she was placed on maternity leave on or about August 9, 2016. (Id. ¶ 18.)

         While Plaintiff was on leave in or around November 2016, she received a message from Lewis forwarded from Montana stating that Lewis expected her back from leave. (Id. ¶ 19.) Plaintiff responded that her case manager told her that she was qualified for extended leave. (Id.) Soon after, Montana was replaced at the Garden Grove location by Kemal Ibrahim. (Id. ¶ 20.) Ibrahim told Plaintiff that Lewis had told him that Plaintiff's paid leave would expire at the end of November. (Id.) On or about November 14, 2016, Plaintiff's extension for baby bonding leave was approved through approximately January 9, 2017, which she passed on to Ibrahim. (Id. ¶ 21.)

         Plaintiff alleges that in December 2016, Lewis promoted three Assistant Store Managers to Store Manager within the district and failed to promote Plaintiff despite her seniority and “higher composite score.” (Id. ¶ 22.)

         After Plaintiff returned from maternity leave in early January 2017, she alleges that she experienced retaliation. (Id. ¶ 23.) For example, in February 2017, Ibrahim sent Plaintiff a series of emails regarding her work performance. (Id. ¶ 24.) Plaintiff requested a meeting with Ibrahim, during which he informed her that Lewis had instructed him to email Plaintiff about the concerns and to copy Lewis on the emails. (Id.) Plaintiff also learned that Lewis had initiated an investigation of Plaintiff's time records, even though Plaintiff was a salaried employee. (Id. ¶ 25.)

         On February 28, 2017, Plaintiff met with Lewis and District Manager Eddie Cisneros. (Id. ¶ 26.) They told Plaintiff that she was being terminated due to her clock-in times. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that this reason is pretext for discrimination based on sex (pregnancy) and retaliation for requesting and taking medical leave. (Id. 27.)

         Plaintiff brought suit in Orange County Superior Court on August 21, 2017, alleging: (1) discrimination based on sex in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, California Government Code section 12940(a); (2) harassment based on sex in violation of FEHA, California Government Code section 12940(k); (3) failure to prevent discrimination and harassment based on sex in violation of FEHA, California Government Code section 12940(k); (4) interference with California Family Rights Act leave California Government Code section 12945.2(a), (t); (5) retaliation in violation of FEHA and CFRA, California Government Code sections 12940(b), 12945.2(1); (6) wrongful termination in violation of public policy; and (7) unfair business practices pursuant to California Business and Professions Code section 17200. She also brought three claims for wage and hour violations for failure to provide meal and rest breaks, failure to provide accurate wage statements, and waiting time penalties in violation of California Labor Code sections 203, 226(a), and 512. The sole claim brought against Lewis is the second cause of action for harassment.

         On October 2, 2017, Defendants removed the case to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. (Notice of Removal ¶ 10.) Defendants alleged that Lewis' California citizenship did not affect the Court's jurisdiction because she was a “sham defendant.” (Id. ¶ 16.) On February 23, 2018, Plaintiff filed her Motion to Remand, asserting a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (Mot. at 2.)

         II.LEGAL ...


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