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Davis v. Beam Team Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 22, 2018

Kendrall Davis, et al.
v.
Beam Team Inc.

          PRESENT: HONORABLE MICHAEL W. FITZGERALD, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

          CIVIL MINUTES-GENERAL

         PROCEEDINGS (IN CHAMBERS): ORDER RE: PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO REMAND [12]

         Before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand (the “Motion”), filed on April 5, 2018. (Docket No. 12). On April 23, 2018, Defendant Beam Team Inc. (“BTI”) filed an Opposition. (Docket No. 14). On April 30, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a Reply. (Docket No. 15). The Court held a hearing on May 21, 2018.

         For the reasons discussed below, the Motion is GRANTED. BTI has not plausibly established that the amount in controversy is more than the $5 million jurisdictional threshold under CAFA.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 4, 2018, Plaintiffs, former employees of BTI, a construction company that focuses on the development of retail stores, commenced a putative class action against BTI in San Bernardino County Superior Court asserting nine wage-and-hour-related claims for relief under California law: failure to pay minimum wages; failure to pay overtime; failure to provide accurate itemized wage statements; failure to pay all wages within the appropriate pay periods; waiting time penalties; failure to reimburse all business expenses; failure to provide meal periods; violation of California's Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), Cal. Bus. & Profs. Code § 17200 et seq.; and a claim for relief under California's Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”), Cal. Lab. Code § 2698 et seq.

         In their Complaint, Plaintiffs propose the following class definition:

All nonexempt hourly employees who worked for Defendants in California at any time within four (4) years prior to the filing of this Complaint until the final judgment (hereinafter “the Class Period”), in one of the following job positions: Site Representative, Site Lead, and Material Handler.

(Complaint ¶ 18). Plaintiffs allege that “[t]he membership of the entire class is greater than 50 individuals, but the identity of such membership is readily ascertainable via inspection of the personnel records and other documents maintained by Defendants.” (Id. ¶ 19).

         The primary focus of Plaintiffs' Complaint is BTI's treatment of the putative class members' travel time to and from projects: Plaintiffs allege that BTI did not pay putative class members for time spent driving to/from projects that were less than 100 miles from the putative class members' homes or hotels, and paid putative class members hourly, at the minimum wage rate, for travel beyond the first 100 miles. (See, e.g., Id. ¶¶ 27-28). Plaintiffs also allege that BTI's travel-time policy resulted in the under-provision of overtime wages and meal breaks, as travel time that should have counted towards the putative class members' overall hours worked was not. (Id. ¶¶ 37-38). Plaintiffs do not specify the amount of the putative class members' damages in their Complaint.

         On February 23, 2018, after filing an answer in Superior Court, BTI removed the action, invoking this Court's jurisdiction pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. §1332(d), Pub. L. No. 109-2. (Notice of Removal (“NoR”) (Docket No. 1) ¶ 7). This Motion followed.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Jurisdiction under CAFA

         Under CAFA, the Court has “original jurisdiction of any civil action in which the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $5, 000, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is a class action in ...


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