United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez, United States
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
(In Chambers): Order GRANTING Plaintiff's motion to
the Court is a motion to remand action to state court filed
by Plaintiff Andrew Jackson (“Plaintiff”).
See Dkt. # 20 (“Mot.”).
Defendant Dollar Tree Distribution, Inc.
(“Defendant”) opposes the motion, see
Dkt. # 21 (“Opp.”), and Plaintiff
replied, see Dkt. # 26
(“Reply”). The Court finds the matter
appropriate for decision without oral argument. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15. Having considered the moving
papers, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's
motion to remand.
September 2014 until February 19, 2016, Plaintiff was
employed by Defendant as a fork-lift operator. See First
Amended Complaint, Dkt. # 8
(“FAC”), ¶ 4. He claims that
“[a]t all relevant times during his employment, ”
he was “an exceptional, dedicated, and loyal employee
who was reliable and performed excellent work.”
Id. ¶ 16. He alleges that, during his
employment with Defendant, he was “exposed to extreme
heat and a constant barrage of dust blown from the desert
into the warehouse” where he worked. Id.
¶ 19. After being forced to seek medical treatment due
to his severe symptoms, Plaintiff claims that he was
reprimanded by Defendant and admonished for missing work.
Id. ¶¶ 20-21. He alleges to have
eventually been diagnosed with pneumonia and Valley fever,
which caused him to request workplace accommodations that
were denied. Id. ¶¶ 24, 26. As both his
condition and Defendant's treatment of him worsened,
Plaintiff made complaints regarding unsafe working conditions
that Defendant ignored. Id. ¶¶ 27-33,
40-42. Ultimately, Plaintiff's employment with Defendant
was terminated-a decision that Plaintiff attributes to his
medical condition and his complaints regarding health and
safety violations. Id. ¶¶ 43-45.
initiated this action by filing a complaint in Los Angeles
County Superior Court on February 15, 2018. See Notice of
Removal, Dkt. # 1 (“NOR”), Ex. A.
Defendant removed the case to this Court on March 21, 2018,
asserting diversity jurisdiction because it is a citizen of
Virginia, Plaintiff is a citizen of California, and the
amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. See Id.
¶¶ 1, 9-40. Following removal, on April 6, 2018,
Plaintiff filed his first amended complaint
(“FAC”). In addition to Defendant, the FAC added
another party: Defendant “Ali, ” who was
allegedly “one of Plaintiff's supervisors”
who “held the position of ‘Assistant General
Manager.'” FAC ¶ 7. The FAC asserted
that Defendant “Ali” is a citizen of California.
Id. Of Plaintiff's nine causes of action, only
the final four are directed at “Ali”:
Sixth Cause of Action: Whistleblower retaliation in
violation of California Labor Code § 1102.5.
FAC ¶¶ 87-91.
Seventh Cause of Action: Defamation in violation of
California Civil Code § 46. FAC ¶¶
Eighth Cause of Action: Harassment based on medical
condition in violation of California Government Code §
12940(j). FAC ¶¶ 98-104.
Ninth Cause of Action: Intentional infliction of
emotional distress (“IIED”). Id.
now moves to remand the action to state court, arguing that
the addition of “Ali” destroys the complete
diversity of parties needed for the Court to exercise
diversity jurisdiction. See generally Mot.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing only
that power authorized by Constitution and statute.”
Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251, 256 (2013) (internal
quotation marks omitted). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1441, a
defendant may remove a civil action from state court to
federal district court only if the federal court has subject
matter jurisdiction over the case. See Chicago v.
Int'l Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 163 (1997)
(“The propriety of removal thus depends on whether the
case originally could have been filed in federal
court.”). The case shall be remanded to state court if
at any time before final judgment it appears a removing court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(c); Int'l Primate Prot. League v.
Adm'rs of Tulane Educ. Fund, 500 U.S. 72, 87 (1991).
Courts strictly construe the removal statute against removal
jurisdiction. See Provincial Gov't of Marinduque v.
Placer Dome, Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir. 2009);
Luther v. Countrywide Home Loans Servicing, LP, 533
F.3d 1031, 1034 (9th Cir. 2008). “A defendant seeking
removal has the burden to establish that removal is proper
and any doubt is resolved against removability.”
Luther, 533 F.3d at 1034; see also Moore-
Thomas v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., 553 F.3d 1241, 1244
(9th Cir. 2009) (“[A]ny doubt about the right of
removal requires resolution in favor of remand.”).
federal court to exercise diversity jurisdiction, there must
be complete diversity between the parties and the $75, 000
amount in controversy requirement must be met. See
Strawbridge v. Curtiss, 7 U.S. (3 Cranch) 267, 267
(1806); 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Complete diversity requires
that “each defendant is a citizen of a different State
from each plaintiff.” Owen Equip. & Erection
Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 373 (1978). Consequently,
if a non-diverse party is ...