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Sanabria v. TGF Management Group Holdco, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 8, 2018

Sandra Sanabria
v.
TGF Management Group Holdco, inc., et al.

          Present: The Honorable Fernando M. Olguin, United States District Judge

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         Proceedings: (In Chambers) Order Remanding Action

         On February 13, 2018, Sandra Sanabria ("plaintiff") filed a Complaint in the Los Angeles County Superior Court against TGF Management Group Holdco Inc. ("TFG"), Insperity Peo Services, L.P., Toll Global Forwarding (Americas), Inc., Toll Global Forwarding SCS (USA), Inc, Maria Diaz ("Diaz") and Hector Valentin ("Valentin" and together with Diaz, "Individual Defendants"). (See Dkt. 1, Notice of Removal ("NOR") at ¶ 1; Dkt. 1-1, Complaint). Among other claims, plaintiff asserted a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress ("MED") against the Individual Defendants. (See Dkt. 1 -1, Complaint at ¶¶ 76-80). On April 11, 2018, TFG removed that action on diversity jurisdiction grounds pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (See NOR at ¶ 9). However, the jurisdictional allegations are defective for the reason opposite the box(es) checked:

[ ] Removal is on the basis of federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, but it appears that the claims may not "arise under" federal law.
[ ] Removal is on the basis offederal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 on grounds of the artful pleading doctrine, but the claims do not appear to be completely preempted.
[X] Removal is on the basis of diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), but all plaintiffs are not diverse from all defendants. See Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 553, 125 S.Ct. 2611, 2617 (2005) ("In a case with multiple plaintiffs and multiple defendants, the presence in the action of a single plaintiff from the same State as a single defendant deprives the district court of original diversity jurisdiction[.]"). The Individual Defendants apparently are California citizens, like plaintiff, but who TFG contends have been fraudulently joined. (See Dkt. 1, NOR at ¶¶ 20-37). However, TFG has failed to meet its heavy burden of showing by clear and convincing evidence that plaintiff does not have a colorable claim against the Individual Defendants. See Padilla v. AT & T Corp., 697 F.Supp.2d 1156, 1159 (CD. Cal. 2009) ("[A] defendant seeking removal based on an alleged fraudulent joinder must do more than show that the complaint at the time of removal fails to state a claim against the non-diverse defendant."); Munoz v. Laboratory Corp. of Am., 2015 WL 4507104, *1 (CD. Cal. 2015) ("Even where presently deficiently pled, where Plaintiffs may amend [the] claim to cure any arguable defects, it may not be said that it is impossible for them to state a claim against [the defendant].") (emphasis in original); Gebran v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2016 WL 7471292, *5 (C. D. Cal. 2016) (explaining that a court must look at whether plaintiff has a cause of action against an alleged defendant "rather than inquire whether [the] defendant[] could propound defenses to an otherwise valid cause of action"). At this juncture, it cannot be said that the state court would find the claim to be inadequately pled or that plaintiff would be unable to amend the Complaint to the state court's satisfaction. See Hunter v. Philip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1046 (9th Cir. 2009) ("[l]f there is a possibility that a state court would find that the complaint states a cause of action against any of the resident defendants, the federal court must find that the joinder was proper and remand the case to the state court."); Allen. 784 F.3d at 634 (same); Martinez v. Michaels, 2015 WL 4337059, *9 (CD. Cal. 2015) ("[C]ourts ordinarily find MED claims based on workplace harassment or discrimination viable even where asserted against individual supervisors."); Rangel v. Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, 200 F.Supp.3d 1024, 1034 (CD. Cal. 2016) (remanding action because although "Plaintiff's operative complaint [did] not adequately allege a cause of action against [the] Individual Defendant... for NED, Defendants [did] not m[e]et their burden of establishing that Plaintiff [was] incapable of amending his complaint to state a valid MED claim"). As such, TFG cannot show that it is "obvious according to the well-settled [law of California]" that plaintiff cannot state a claim against the Individual Defendants.[1] See United Computer Sys., Inc., 298 F.3d at 761; Allen. 784 F.3d at 634 ("[J]oinder is fraudulent when a plaintiffs failure to state a cause of action against the resident defendant is obvious according to the applicable state law.").
[ ] Removal is on the basis of diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 1332, but the pleadings set forth the residence, rather than the citizenship, of some of the parties. Diversity is based on citizenship.
[ ] Jurisdiction is asserted on the basis of diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, but the pleadings fail to allege the citizenship of some or all of the:
[ ] plaintiff(s).
[ ] defendant(s).
[ ] Removal is on the basis of diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. A partnership, limited liability company, or other unincorporated association is joined as a party. The court must consider the citizenship of each of the partners, including limited partners, or members. The citizenship of each of the entity's partners or members must therefore be alleged. See Grupo Dataflux v. Atlas Global Grp., L. P., 541 U.S. 567, 569, 124 S.Ct. 1920, 1923 (2004) ("[A] partnership ... is a citizen of each State or foreign country of which any of its partners is a citizen."); Carden v. Arkoma Assocs., 494 U.S. 185, 195, 110 S.Ct. 1015, 1021 (1990) (diversity jurisdiction depends on the citizenship of all members of an artificial entity); Johnson v. Columbia Props. Anchorage. LP, 437 F.3d 894, 899 (9th Cir. 2006) ("[A]n unincorporated association such as a partnership has the citizenships of all of its members.").
[ ] Removal is on the basis of diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Some of the parties are corporations. The notice of removal is deficient because:
[ ] the notice of removal does not state both the respective state(s) of incorporation and principal place of business. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c).
[ ] the jurisdiction averment by the defendants is patently insufficient under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c). Defendant(s) fail(s) to offer adequate facts to support the assertion that the principal place of business stated in the complaint is the corporate party's principal place of business. For diversity purposes, the principal place of business is "the place where a corporation's officers direct, control, and coordinate the corporation's activities." Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 130 S.Ct. 1181, 1192 (2010); see also Harris v. Rand, 682 F.3d 846, 851 (9th Cir. 2012) (if allegations of a corporation's principal place of ...

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