United States District Court, S.D. California
LISA RAMIREZ, an individual, on behalf of herself and on behalf of all persons similarly situated, Plaintiff,
CAREFUSION RESOURCES, LLC, a Limited Liability Company; and DOES 1-50, Inclusive, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO REMAND [Doc. 9]
Roger T. Benitez United States District Judge.
before the Court is Plaintiffs motion to remand. For the
following reasons, the motion is DENIED.
Lisa Ramirez filed this action against her employer,
Defendant Carefusion Resources, LLC, in the California
Superior Court, County of San Diego, Plaintiff brings suit
for various California Labor Code violations, including (1)
failure to pay overtime wages in violation of Cal. Lab. Code
§ 510, (2) failure to provide required meal and rest
periods in violation of §§ 226.7 and 512, (3)
failure to provide accurate itemized wage statements in
violation of § 226, and (4) failure to provide wages
when due in violation of §§ 201, 202, and 203.
removed this action based on original jurisdiction under the
Class Action Fairness Act ("CAFA"), 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(d)(2). Plaintiff now moves to remand, arguing
that Defendant has not carried its burden to show either
minimal diversity or the requisite amount in controversy.
Plaintiff further contends that, even if the Court finds the
CAFA requirements are satisfied, both the "local
controversy" and "home-state controversy"
exceptions apply to deprive this Court of jurisdiction.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(3)-(4). As a threshold
matter, the Court first considers whether it has jurisdiction
Jurisdiction Under CAFA
removed this action under CAFA, which confers jurisdiction on
district courts in any civil action where three requirements
are met: "the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or
value of $5, 000, 000, exclusive of interests and costs, the
proposed class consists of more than 100 members, and any
member of the class of plaintiffs is a citizen of a State
different from any defendant." Fritsch v. Swift
Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC, 899 F.3d 785, 788
(9th Cir. 2018) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2))
(internal quotation marks omitted). As required, Defendant
filed a notice of removal "containing a short and plain
statement of the grounds for removal." 28 U.S.C. §
1146(a). Importantly, "no antiremoval presumption
attends cases invoking CAFA, which Congress enacted to
facilitate adjudication of certain class actions in federal
court." Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v.
Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 554 (2014). The parties appear to
agree, and the Court is satisfied by the evidence, that the
proposed class consists of more than 100 members. Thus, the
Court turns to Plaintiffs attack on both the minimal
diversity and amount in controversy requirements.
requires only "minimal diversity" between the
parties. Serrano v. 180 Connect, Inc., 478
F.3d 1018, 1021 (9th Cir. 2007). The minimal diversity
requirement is satisfied if "any member of a class of
plaintiffs is a citizen of a State different from any
defendant." 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2)(A). For purposes
of determining diversity, an individual person is deemed to
be a citizen of the state in which he or she is domiciled.
Kanter v. Warner-Lambert Co., 265 F.3d 853, 857 (9th
Cir. 2001). Defendant offers a declaration in support of its
assertion that at least one class member is domiciled in
Texas, which Defendant identifies by name. [Doc. 1-9 at
¶ 5.] Plaintiff does not dispute this fact or offer any
evidence to the contrary.
Defendant's citizenship, however, is a more complicated
matter, in part because of its status as a Limited Liability
Company ("LLC"). In traditional diversity cases,
LLCs are treated like partnerships for purposes of diversity
jurisdiction, meaning that an LLC is deemed a citizen of
every state of which its members are citizens.
Johnson v. Columbia Properties Anchorage, LP, 437
F.3d 894, 899 (9th Cir. 2006). In § 1332(d)(10),
however, CAFA seemingly carves out an exception to that rule,
Abrego Abrego v. The Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d 676,
684 (9th Cir. 2006), providing that "an unincorporated
association shall be deemed to be a citizen of the State
where it has its principal place of business and the State
under whose laws it is organized."
Ninth Circuit, whether an LLC is "an unincorporated
association" for CAFA purposes under § 1332(d)(10)
remains an open question. Nonetheless, the Fourth Circuit-
the only federal circuit to expressly resolve the
question-offers persuasive guidance. In Ferrell v.
Express Check Advance of S.C. LLC, 591 F.3d 698 (4th
Cir. 2010), the Fourth Circuit expressly held that an LLC is
properly considered an "unincorporated association"
within the meaning of § 1332(d)(10) "and therefore
is a citizen of the State under whose laws it is organized
and the State where it has its principal place of
business." Id. at 700. Likewise, most courts to
consider the issue have reached the same conclusion, finding
that § 1332(d)(10) applies to all types of non-corporate
business entities. See, e.g., Marroquin v. Wells Fargo,
LLC, 2011 WL 476540, at *2 (S.D. Cal. Feb. 3, 2011)
(treating an LLC as an unincorporated association under
CAFA); Davis v. HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., 557 F.3d
1026, 1032, n. 13 (9th Cir. 2009) (applying §
1332(d)(10) to a limited partnership); Harvey v. Grey
Wolf Drilling Co., 542 F.3d 1077, 1080 (5th Cir. 2008)
(recognizing that an LLC is a type of "unincorporated
association" and that "in the limited context of
class actions, Congress has created a statutory exception to
[the traditional] rule of citizenship for unincorporated
the Court finds that for purposes of CAFA, Defendant is
"a citizen of the State where it has its principal place
of business and the State under whose laws it is
organized." § 1332(d)(10); see also Abrego
Abrego v. The Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d 676, 684 (9th Cir.
2006) ("§ 1332(d)(10) . . . departs from the rule
that frequently destroys diversity jurisdiction, that a
limited partnership's or unincorporated association's
citizenship for diversity purposes can be determined only by
reference to all of the entity's members.").
Plaintiffs reliance on non-CAFA case law does not require a
different conclusion. See, e.g., Johnson, ATI F.3d
at 899 (9th Cir. 2006) (explaining in non-CAFA case
that LLCs are treated like partnerships for purposes of
diversity jurisdiction, meaning that an LLC is a citizen of
every state of which its members are citizens). Moreover, to
apply the traditional diversity rule holding that LLCs are
citizens of every state in which their members are domiciled
would likely undermine Congress's intent "to
facilitate adjudication of certain class actions in federal
court" by excluding from federal adjudication the vast
majority of class actions brought against LLCs. See Dart
Cherokee, 135 S.Ct. at 554.
the § 1332(d)(10) citizenship test to Defendant, then,
the Court must determine (1) the state under whose laws it is
organized and (2) where it maintains its principal place of
business. There is no dispute that Defendant is a citizen of
Delaware under whose laws it is organized. The parties
dispute, however, where Defendant holds its principal place
of business. In Hertz Corp. v. Friend, the Supreme
Court held that a corporation's principal place of
business "refer[s] to the place where a
corporation's officers direct, control, and coordinate
the corporation's activities." 559 U.S. 77, 92-93
(2010). This place "should normally be the place where
the corporation maintains its headquarters - provided that
the headquarters is the actual center of direction, control,
and coordination, i.e., the 'nerve
center."' Id. at 93.
Defendant's notice of removal did not identify its
principal place of business, it did assert that "its
principal place of business is not in Texas." [Doc. 1-9
at ¶ 5.] In opposition to remand, Defendant now, for the
first time, contends its principal place of business is in
New Jersey. In support, Defendant provides a declaration
stating that its officers "are primarily located in New
Jersey, including the Corporate Secretary and Vice President
of Tax, who are generally responsible for CareFusion's
corporate and administrative activities." [Doc. 10-1 at
¶ 2.] For the first time in her reply, Plaintiff
attaches evidence suggesting that Defendant's principal
place of business is actually in California. [Doc. 11-1.] For
example, Plaintiff attaches a Statement of Information filed
with the California Secretary of State, which lists a
California address as Defendant's "principal
office" and "mailing address." Defendant's
Notice and Acknowledgment of Pay Rate and Payday lists a
California address as Defendant's "Main Office"