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Anguiano v. Mann Packing Co., Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

July 8, 2019

MANN PACKING CO., INC., Defendant.



         Plaintiff Maria Anguiano moves to remand this action on the ground that the Court lacks federal subject matter jurisdiction. Dkt. No. 17. The Court heard oral argument on Ms. Anguiano's motion on June 25, 2019. Dkt. No. 28.

         All parties have consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction. Dkt. Nos. 12, 13. Having considered the parties' moving papers and arguments made at the hearing, the Court grants Ms. Anguiano's motion to remand.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Ms. Anguiano works as a laborer in defendant Mann Packing Co., Inc.'s (“Mann Packing”) foodservice plant. Dkt. No. 1-1 ¶ 8. She has worked for Mann Packing since October 19, 1995. Id. Ms. Anguiano says that throughout her employment, Mann Packing often assigned her multiple job duties and paid her at different rates based on the tasks performed. Id. ¶ 22. When she worked overtime, Mann Packing did not correctly calculate her overtime wages, which should have been based on an average of the regular rates of pay that she received during that pay period. Id. As a result of that miscalculation, Ms. Anguiano was not paid overtime wages at the correct rate of pay, and her wage statements did not list the correct rate of pay for overtime wages. Id.

         Ms. Anguiano also says that she was required to pick up her paycheck and wage statements during her meal breaks, which deprived her of the full meal break period. Id. Additionally, she says she was not provided with a duty-free rest break of at least 10 minutes for shifts of 3.5 hours or longer. Id.

         On March 20, 2019, Ms. Anguiano filed a class action lawsuit in state court asserting the following claims: (1) failure to pay overtime wages for hours worked in violation of California Labor Code §§ 510 and 1194; (2) failure to provide off-duty meal periods in violation of California Labor Code §§ 226.7, 1174, 1198, and 1199; (3) failure to provide off-duty rest periods in violation of California Labor Code § 226.7; (4) failure to provide accurate itemized wage statements in violation of California Labor Code § 226; (5) unfair business practices in violation of California Business and Professions Code § 17200 et seq.; and (6) damages for the above violations of the California Labor Code under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, California Labor Code § 2698 et seq. Dkt. No. 1-1 ¶¶ 29-58.

         Mann Packing removed the action to federal court on April 19, 2019, asserting federal question jurisdiction based on preemption under section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”), 28 U.S.C. § 185. Dkt. No. 1. The LMRA provides for federal question jurisdiction over “[s]uits for violation of contracts between an employer and a labor organization” that represents certain eligible employees. 28 U.S.C. § 185(a). In its notice of removal, Mann Packing alleges that, during the relevant time period, Ms. Anguiano and Mann Packing's other non-exempt employees were subject to a valid collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) and that Ms. Anguiano's claims depend on an analysis of that CBA.[1] Dkt. No. 1 at 1-2; Dkt. No. 2, Ex. A.

         After removal, Ms. Anguiano filed an amended complaint. Dkt. No. 19. However, for purposes of this motion, the Court considers only the complaint as it existed at the time of removal. Wisconsin Dep't of Corr. v. Schacht, 524 U.S. 381, 390 (1998) (citing St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 291 (1938)).


         Removal is proper where the federal courts have original jurisdiction over an action brought in state court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Courts strictly construe the removal statute against removal. E.g., 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 (citation omitted); 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.”).

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, federal courts have original jurisdiction over civil actions “arising under the Constitution, laws, or treatises of the United States.” “In determining the existence of removal jurisdiction, based upon a federal question, the court must look to the complaint as of the time the removal petition was filed. Jurisdiction is based on the complaint as originally filed and not as amended.” Abada v. Charles Schwab & Co., 300 F.3d 1112, 1117 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting O'Halloran v. Univ. of Wash., 856 F.2d 1375, 1379 (9th Cir. 1988)) (emphasis original) (internal quotation marks omitted). Removal pursuant to section 1331 is governed by the “well-pleaded complaint rule, ” which provides that federal question jurisdiction “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). There exists, however, an “independent corollary” to the well-pleaded complaint rule, known as the doctrine of complete preemption. Id. at 393 (quoting Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Tr. for S. Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 22 (1983)). Through complete preemption, certain “extraordinary” federal statutes “convert[] an ordinary state common law complaint into one stating a federal claim for purposes of the well-pleaded complaint rule.” Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 481 U.S. 58, 65 (1987). LMRA section 301 is a federal statute with complete preemptive force: if the statutory criteria are met, section 301 will completely preempt claims that are pled exclusively as state law causes of action. See Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 393.


         The issue before this Court is whether LMRA section 301 preempts Ms. Anguiano's state law claims such that original federal question jurisdiction exists to support the removal of this case from state court.

         LMRA section 301 completely preempts only claims “founded directly on rights created by collective-bargaining agreements” or “‘substantially dependent on analysis of a collective-bargaining agreement.'” Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 395 (quoting Elec. Workers v. Hechler, 481 U.S. 851, 859 n.3 (1987)). It is not enough that the “state law cause of action is conditioned on some term or condition of employment that was collectively bargained.” Alaska Airlines, Inc. v. Schurke, 898 F.3d 904, 916 (9th Cir. ...

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