United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND (DOC.
September 21, 2018, plaintiff Juan Lopez filed this action
against defendant FCA U.S. LLC (“FCA”) in the
Fresno County Superior Court, alleging state law causes of
action for breaches of express and implied warranties under
the Song-Beverly Consumer Protection Act, California Civil
Code § 1790 et seq. (the “Song-Beverly
Act”). (See Doc. No. 1 at 13-19.) Defendant
removed the action to this court on October 26, 2018, on the
basis of diversity jurisdiction. (Id. at 1-8.)
November 13, 2018, plaintiff filed the instant motion to
remand the case to state court, arguing that defendant had
failed to establish both complete diversity of citizenship
between the parties or that the amount in controversy exceeds
$75, 000, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Doc. No.
10.) Defendant filed its opposition on December 20, 2018.
(Doc. No. 13.) Plaintiff filed his reply on January 2, 2019.
(Doc. No. 14.) A hearing on this matter was held on January
8, 2019. Attorney Alicia Hinton appeared on behalf of
plaintiff, and attorney Rachel Kashani appeared on behalf of
considered the parties' written submissions and heard
oral argument, and for the reasons set forth below,
plaintiff's motion to remand will be denied.
defendant in state court may remove a civil action to federal
court so long as that case could originally have been filed
in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a); City of
Chicago v. Int'l Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156,
163 (1997). Thus, removal of a state action may be based on
either diversity jurisdiction or federal question
jurisdiction. City of Chicago, 522 U.S. at 163;
Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392
(1987). Removal jurisdiction is based entirely on federal
statutory authority. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441 et
seq. These removal statutes are strictly construed, and
removal jurisdiction is to be rejected in favor of remand to
the state court if there are doubts as to the right of
removal. Nevada v. Bank of Am. Corp., 672 F.3d 661,
667 (9th Cir. 2012); Geographic Expeditions, Inc. v.
Estate of Lhotka, 599 F.3d 1102, 1107 (9th Cir. 2010);
Provincial Gov't of Marinduque v. Placer Dome,
Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir. 2009); Gaus v.
Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). The
defendant seeking removal of an action from state court bears
the burden of establishing grounds for federal jurisdiction,
by a preponderance of the evidence. Geographic
Expeditions, 599 F.3d at 1106-07; Hunter v. Philip
Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 2009);
Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566-67. The district court must
remand the case “[i]f at any time before final judgment
it appears that the district court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); see also
Smith v. Mylan, Inc., 761 F.3d 1042, 1044 (9th Cir.
2014); Bruns v. NCUA, 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir.
1997) (holding that remand for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction “is mandatory, not
contends that defendant failed to establish the necessary
facts to establish the diversity jurisdiction of this federal
court. Diversity jurisdiction exists in actions between
citizens of different states where the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000 exclusive of interest and costs. 28 U.S.C.
Citizenship of Defendant
1332 first requires complete diversity of citizenship, and
the presence “of a single plaintiff from the same State
as a single defendant deprives the district court of original
diversity jurisdiction over the entire action.”
Abrego v. Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir.
2006) (citations omitted). For purposes of diversity
jurisdiction, a natural person is a citizen of the state in
which she is domiciled, and she is presumptively domiciled at
her place of residence. See Kantor v. Wellesley
Galleries, Ltd., 704 F.2d 1088, 1090 (9th Cir. 1983);
accord Naegele v. Tonius, 320 Fed.Appx. 550, 551
(9th Cir. 2009). A corporation, including one incorporated
in a foreign country, is a citizen of its place of
incorporation and its principal place of business. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(c)(1); Nike, Inc. v. Comercial Iberica de
Exclusivas Deportivas, S.A., 20 F.3d 987, 990 (9th Cir.
1994). A limited liability company is a citizen of all the
states of which its owners or members are citizens.
Johnson v. Columbia Props. Anchorage, LP, 437 F.3d
894, 899 (9th Cir. 2006).
plaintiff's citizenship, plaintiff's complaint
alleges that he resides in California. (See Doc. No.
1 at 13.) On defendant's motion to remand, neither party
disputes that plaintiff is a citizen of California. Absent
any countervailing evidence or argument, the court finds
plaintiff is a citizen of California.
notice of removal and accompanying declaration, defendant
states that: (1) FCA is a limited liability company organized
under the laws of the state of Delaware; (2) the sole member
of FCA is FCA North America Holding, LLC (“FCA North
America”), a limited liability company organized under
the laws of the state of Delaware; and (3) the sole member of
FCA North America is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, N.V., a
publicly traded company (naamloze vennootschap)
incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands, and with its
principal place of business in London, England. (Id.
at 3; Doc. No. 1-2 at 1-2.) Because both defendant and its
sole member FCA North America are limited liability
companies, their citizenship ultimately depends on the
citizenship of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, N.V. Accordingly,
based on the evidence presented, the court finds that
defendant is a citizen of the Netherlands and England, for
purposes of diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(c)(1); see also Johnson v. Columbia
Properties Anchorage, LP, 437 F.3d 894, 899 (9th Cir.
2006) (“[A]n LLC is a citizen of every state of which
its owners/members are citizens.”).
these reasons, the court concludes that this is an action
between citizens of different states or foreign states.
Amount in Controversy
addition to diversity of citizenship, the party asserting
diversity jurisdiction also bears the burden of proving by a
preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. Sanchez v. Monumental Life Ins.
Co., 102 F.3d 398, 404 (9th Cir. 1996). The amount in
controversy, which must be determined as of the date of
removal, see Conrad Assoc. v. Hartford Accident &
Indem. Co., 994 F.Supp. 1196, 1200 (N.D. Cal. 1998)
(citing Miranti v. Lee, 3 F.3d 925, 928 (5th Cir.
1993) and United Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Human
Relations Comm'n, 24 F.3d 1008, 1014 (7th Cir.
1994)), “is simply an estimate of the total amount in
dispute, not a prospective assessment of [the]
defendant's liability, ” Lewis v. Verizon Comm.
Inc., 627 F.3d 395, 400 (9th Cir. 2010). “In
calculating the amount in controversy, a court must assume
that the allegations in the complaint are true and that a
jury will return a verdict for plaintiffs on all claims
alleged.” Page v. Luxottica ...