United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER RE: MOTION TO REMAND
Fernando M. Olguin United States District Judge
reviewed and considered all the briefing filed with respect
to plaintiff Andy Ayala's (“plaintiff”)
Motion to Remand Case and to Stay Briefing/Decision on Motion
to Dismiss (Dkt. 34, “Motion”), the court finds
that oral argument is not necessary to resolve the Motion,
see Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; Local Rule 7-15; Willis v.
Pac. Mar. Ass'n, 244 F.3d 675, 684 n. 2 (9th Cir.
2001), and concludes as follows.
Sixt Rent a Car, LLC (“defendant”) is a car
rental company, (see Dkt. 1-1, Complaint at ¶
17), that utilizes electronic systems in its cars that allow
renters to interface their own devices with defendant's
systems. (See id. at ¶¶ 21-25). However,
defendant's systems copy and store some of the
renter's private data. (See id. at ¶ 27).
Plaintiff, who rented a vehicle in July 2016, (see
id. at ¶ 9), brings this lawsuit alleging that
defendant failed to delete his private data at the end of the
rental period. (See id. at ¶¶ 12-13).
Plaintiff alleges that defendant's failure to delete a
customer's private data renders him and other class
members vulnerable to identity thieves and other malefactors.
(See id. at ¶ 34).
January 28, 2019, plaintiff filed the instant action in the
Los Angeles County Superior Court on his own behalf and on
behalf of a class of individuals who had rented vehicles from
defendant during the relevant time period. (See Dkt.
1-1, Complaint at ECF 41 & 47). Plaintiff asserts two
causes of action for: (1) violation of Article I, § I of
the California Constitution, and (2) violation of Cal. Civ.
Code §§ 1939.01, et seq. (See id.
at ¶¶ 54-80). On March 1, 2019, defendant removed
the action to this court, invoking the Class Action Fairness
Act (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, et
seq. (See Dkt. 1, Notice of Removal
(“NOR”) at ¶ 9).
of a civil action from the state court where it was filed is
proper if the action might have originally been brought in
federal court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a)
(“Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of
Congress, any civil action brought in a State court of which
the district courts of the United States have original
jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the
defendants, to the district court[.]”). “CAFA
provides expanded original diversity jurisdiction for class
actions meeting the amount in controversy and minimal
diversity and numerosity requirements set forth in 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(d)(2).” United Steel, Paper &
Forestry, Rubber, Mfg., Energy, Allied Indus. & Serv.
Workers Int'l Union, AFL-CIO, CLC v. Shell Oil Co.,
602 F.3d 1087, 1090-91 (9th Cir. 2010); see Ibarra v.
Manheim Invs., Inc., 775 F.3d 1193, 1195 (9th Cir. 2015)
(“A CAFA-covered class action may be removed to federal
court, subject to more liberalized jurisdictional
requirements[.]”). Under CAFA, “district courts
shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action in which
the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $5,
000, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is a class
action in which . . . any member of a class of plaintiffs is
a citizen of a State different from any defendant[.]”
28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2).
antiremoval presumption attends cases invoking CAFA, which
Congress enacted to facilitate adjudication of certain class
actions in federal court.” Dart Cherokee Basin
Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 554 (2014).
However, “under CAFA the burden of establishing removal
jurisdiction remains, as before, on the proponent of federal
jurisdiction.” Abrego Abrego v. The Dow
Chemical Co., 443 F.3d 676, 685 (9th Cir. 2006) (per
curiam) (noting that Congress passed CAFA in the context
of a “longstanding, near-canonical rule that the burden
on removal rests with the removing defendant”).
“A defendant seeking removal of a putative class action
must demonstrate, by a preponderance of evidence, that the
aggregate amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional
minimum.” Rodriguez v. AT&T Mobility Servs.
LLC, 728 F.3d 975, 981 (9th Cir. 2013). “When
plaintiffs favor state court and have prepared a complaint
that does not assert the amount in controversy, or that
affirmatively states that the amount in controversy does not
exceed $5 million, if a defendant wants to pursue a federal
forum under CAFA, that defendant in a jurisdictional dispute
has the burden to put forward evidence showing that the
amount in controversy exceeds $5 million, to satisfy other
requirements of CAFA, and to persuade the court that the
estimate of damages in controversy is a reasonable
one.” I barr a, 775 F.3d at 1197. “The
parties may submit evidence outside the complaint, including
affidavits or declarations, or other summary-judgment-type
evidence relevant to the amount in controversy at the time of
removal.” Id. (internal quotation marks
omitted). “CAFA's requirements are to be tested by
consideration of real evidence and the reality of what is at
stake in the litigation, using reasonable assumptions
underlying the defendant's theory of damages
exposure.” Id. at 1198.
removed the instant action on the ground that the court
“has subject matter jurisdiction” over the case.
(Dkt. 1, NOR at 3) (formatting omitted). However, a couple
months after removing the action to this court, defendant
filed a motion to dismiss arguing that plaintiff's claims
“should be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction.” (Dkt. 30-1,
Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss (“MTD Mem.”) at 1). Specifically,
defendant argues that plaintiff lacks Article III standing
because he has not suffered an injury in fact. (See
id. at 1-2). Thus, “defendant [is trying] to have
it both ways by asserting, then immediately disavowing,
federal jurisdiction, apparently in hopes of achieving
outright dismissal, with prejudice, rather than the remand
required by § 1447(c).” Mocek v. Allsaints USA
Ltd., 220 F.Supp.3d 910, 914 (N.D. Ill. 2016).
Mocek, the court addressed a situation very similar
to the instant one. There, as here, a plaintiff filed a class
action complaint in state court. See Mocek, 220
F.Supp.3d at 911. Defendant removed the action to federal
court, “asserting federal subject matter and diversity
jurisdiction.” Id. Then, a “month later,
without alleging any change in circumstances bearing on
jurisdiction, defendant moved to dismiss the case for lack of
federal jurisdiction.” Id. (footnote omitted).
“Specifically, defendant asserted that plaintiff lacks
Mocek, defendant now asks the court to pass upon the
merits of its motion to dismiss, arguing that if the court
determines plaintiff lacks standing, remand would be rendered
“futile.” (See Dkt. 35, Opposition to
Motion to Remand Case (“Opp.”) at 5). However,
because “the parties are aligned in the view that
[the court] lack[s] subject-matter jurisdiction” the
court concludes “that remand is required.”
Mocek, 220 F.Supp.3d at 912; see,
e.g., Soto v. Great America LLC, 2018 WL
2364916, *2-3 (N.D. Ill. 2018) (remanding case where
“[n]either party disputes that federal jurisdiction is
lacking[, ]” and rejecting defendant's argument
that remand would be futile because “Illinois is not
bound to follow Article III's requirements in the same
way that federal courts are”); Akin v. Ashland
Chemical Co., 156 F.3d 1030, 1036 (10th Cir. 1998)
(“This court holds that plaintiffs cannot voluntarily
invoke, and then disavow, federal jurisdiction.”);
Direct Mortgage Corp. v. Keirtec, Inc., 478
F.Supp.2d 1339, 1340-41 (D. Utah 2007) (applying
Akin's reasoning to a defendant who removed to
federal court, because a party may not “simultaneously
try to reap benefits from both state and federal
jurisdiction, rather than wholly committing to one”).
when defects in a court's subject matter jurisdiction
exist, a “district court generally must remand
the case to state court, rather than dismiss it.”
Polo v. Innoventions Int'l, LLC, 833 F.3d 1193,
1196 (9th Cir. 2016) (emphasis in original). This is
“because a failure of federal subject-matter
jurisdiction means only that the federal courts have no power
to adjudicate the matter. State courts are not bound by the
constraints of Article III.” Id.; see
Miranda v. Magic Mountain LLC, 2018 WL 571914, *3 (C.D.
Cal. 2018) (“So long as there is no disabling
incompatibility or ...