United States District Court, C.D. California
PRESENT HONORABLE S. JAMES OTERO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
(in chambers): ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
REMAND [Docket No. 22.]; ORDER DENYING AS
MOOT DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [Docket No.
11.]; ORDER DENYING AS MOOT PLAINTIFF'S MOTION
FOR RELIEF [Docket No. 27.]
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Cheylyn Ross's
("Plaintiff") Motion to Remand Case to State Court,
filed on May 24, 2019 ("Motion"). Defendants Stater
Bros. Markets et al ("Defendants") opposed the
Motion on June 3, 2019 ("Opposition"). Defendant
replied on June 10, 2019 ("Reply"). The Court found
the matter suitable for disposition without oral argument.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b). For the reasons stated
below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's
Motion in its entirety.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
was employed in an hourly, non-exempt customer service
position by 17 Defendants from May 2018 through July 2018.
(Id. at ¶ 26.) Defendants own and operate
supermarkets in Southern California. (Id. at ¶
16.) Cheylyn Ross is the named Plaintiff in the instant class
action wage and hour dispute. (See Notice of Removal
Ex. B, ECF No. 1-1). On April 3, 2019, Plaintiff filed a
First Amended Complaint against Defendants ("FAC")
in the Superior Court of the State of California County of
San Bernardino in a case captioned Cheylyn Ross v. Stater
Bros. Markets, et al., asserting the following causes of
(1) Failure To Pay All Wages Owed, Including Overtime
(2) Failure To Provide Second Meal Periods ("Meal Period
(3) Failure to Authorize and Permit Rest Periods ("Rest
(4) Failure to Timely Pay Wages Owed Upon Separation From
Employer ("Separation Claim");
(5) Failure to Reimburse Necessary Expenses;
(6) Knowing and Intentional Failure to Comply with Accurate
Itemized Wage Statement Provisions;
(7) Violation of the Unfair Competition Law; and
(8) Penalties under the Private Attorneys General Act, Labor
Code § 2698 Et. Seq.
(FAC ¶ 2.)
seeks to represent eight classes of similarly situated
current or former non-exempt employees of Defendant in
California (the "Class"). (Id. at ¶
5.) Plaintiff names the following eight subclasses:
(1) The Minimum Wage Subclass;
(2) The Overtime Subclass;
(3) The Meal Period Subclass;
(4) The Rest Period Subclass;
(5) The Indemnification Subclass;
(6) The Waiting Time Subclass;
(7) The Inaccurate Wage Statement Subclass;
(8) The Unfair Business Practices Subclass.
(Id. at ¶¶ 49-52.)
alleges that for at least four years prior to the filing of
this action (the "Class Period") Defendant
prohibited its employees from taking timely and proper meal
and rest breaks during work hours, and failed to furnish
accurate wage statements to Plaintiff and the Class.
(Id. at ¶ 31-33, 35-43.) Plaintiff also alleges
Defendant failed to pay for all hours worked upon
termination, in violation of various California laws.
(Id. at ¶ 44.) Specifically, Plaintiff claims
that "Plaintiff [was] not properly compensated for all
hours worked, in part because she was frequently required to
work off the clock [and] perform work duties and functions
either before or after shifts" for which she was not
compensated, in violation of various California laws
(Id. at ¶ 30). Plaintiff seeks recovery of
unpaid overtime wages, plus interest and penalties,
attorneys' fees, and costs. (Id. at ¶
66-69.) Although two separate collective-bargaining
agreements ("CBA") were in place during the Class
Period, Plaintiff's FAC makes no mention of them and
exclusively states alleged violations of California law.
(Id. at ¶ 13; But see Notice of
Removal at ¶ 17-18, ECF No. 1).
April 24, 2018, Defendants removed Plaintiff's action to
this Court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1441, and 1446.
(See Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1.) Specifically,
Defendants assert that (1) Plaintiff's Wage Claim, (2)
Plaintiff's Meal Period Claim, (3) Plaintiff's Rest
Period Claim, and (4) Plaintiff's Separation Claim are
preempted by federal law, Section 301 of the Labor Management
Relations Act (the "LMRA" or "Section
301"). (Id. (citing 29 U.S.C. § 185.))
Additionally, Defendants argue that this Court should
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
remaining claims. (Id. (citing 28 U.S.C. §
The Instant Motion
instant Motion, Plaintiff seeks to remand this action to San
Bernardino Superior Court. Plaintiff maintains that (1) her
FAC is governed by California law; and (2) that her claims
are not preempted by the LMRA. (See generally Mot.)
removal statute allows a defendant to remove a case
originally filed in state court into federal court if it
presents a federal question or is between citizens of
different states and involves an amount in controversy over
$75, 000. ee 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1441. A
"federal question" is presented if the claim arises
under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United
States. Id. Federal courts are well established to
be "courts of limited jurisdiction." Owen
Equip. & Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 374
(1978). As such, "a federal court is presumed to lack
jurisdiction in a particular case unless the contrary
affirmatively appears." Stock W., Inc. v.
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, 873
F.2d 1221, 1225 (9th Cir. 1989) (citation omitted).
Furthermore, a federal court's lack of subject matter
jurisdiction may be challenged by any party at any time, and
it is never waived. See United States v. Cotton, 535
U.S. 625, 630 (2002). If at any time before final judgment it
appears that the district court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, the case must be remanded.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
question jurisdiction typically exists only when a federal
question is presented on the face of the plaintiff's
properly pleaded complaint. Caterpillar, Inc. v.
Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). Thus, where a
plaintiff has both state and federal claims, she can prevent
removal by simply choosing not to address the latter in her
complaint. Rains v. Criterion Systems, Inc., 80 F.3d
339, 344 (9th Cir. 1996). Where there is "any doubt as
to the right of removal in the first instance," the
Ninth Circuit has held that courts must "strictly
construe the removal statute against removal
jurisdiction" and reject federal jurisdiction. Gaus
v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992)
301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"
or "Section 301") gives federal courts the
exclusive jurisdiction to hear "suits for violation of
contracts between an employer and a labor organization."
29 U.S.C. § 185(a). Section 301 governs claims that
involve right(s) granted to an employee solely based on a
collective bargaining agreement or right(s) that are
"substantially dependent" on a [collective
bargaining agreement]. Kobold v. Good Samaritan Reg'l
Med. Ctr., 832 F.3d 1024, 1033 (9th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 394
(1987). This is to "ensure uniform interpretation of
collective-bargaining agreements, and thus to promote the
peaceable, consistent resolution of labor-management
disputes." Lingle v. Norge Division of Magic Chef,
Inc.,486 U.S. 399, 404 (1988). A state law
claim is preempted if it is so ...