United States District Court, S.D. California
ELLA BROWN, an individual, on behalf of herself and on behalf of all persons similarly situated, Plaintiff,
UNITED AIRLINES, INC., an Illinois Corporation, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING PLANTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND [DOC.
MICHAEL M. ANELLO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Ella Brown (“Plaintiff”) filed this putative
class action against Defendant United Airlines, Inc.
(“Defendant”) in the Superior Court of
California, County of San Diego. See Doc. No. 1, Ex.
A (hereinafter “Compl.”). On March 21, 2019,
Defendant removed the action to this Court pursuant to the
Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(d). See Doc. No. 1. On April 19, 2019,
Plaintiff filed a motion to remand this action back to state
court. See Doc. No. 11. Defendant filed an
opposition, to which Plaintiff replied. See Doc.
Nos. 14, 15. The Court found the matter suitable for
determination on the papers and without oral argument
pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1.d.1. See Doc. No.
17. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
GRANTS Plaintiff's motion to remand.
a California resident, has been employed as a non-exempt ramp
agent by Defendant in California since September 2016.
See Compl. ¶ 3. Plaintiff claims she is
entitled to overtime pay and meal rest periods dating back to
the start of her employment. See Id. Plaintiff
alleges that the Class Period for this action is any time
during the four years prior to the filing of the Complaint
(February 14, 2019) “and ending on a date as determined
by the Court.” Id. ¶ 20.
February 14, 2019, Plaintiff filed this putative class action
in San Diego Superior Court on behalf of herself and all
other similarly situated California employees. See
Compl. Plaintiff alleges six claims for relief: (1) unlawful
business practices, in violation of Cal. Bus. & Prof.
Code § 17200, et seq.; (2) failure to pay
minimum wages, in violation of Cal. Lab. Code §§
1194, 1197, 1197.1; (3) failure to pay overtime compensation,
in violation of Cal. Lab. Code §§ 201, 510, 1194,
1198; (4) failure to provide required meal periods, in
violation of Cal. Lab. Code §§ 226.7, 512; (5)
failure to provide required rest periods, in violation of
Cal. Lab. Code §§ 226.7, 512; and (6) failure to
provide accurate itemized statements, in violation of Cal.
Lab. Code § 226. See id. Plaintiff defines the
proposed class as “all individuals who are or
previously were employed by Defendant in California and
classified as non-exempt employees.” Id.
¶ 20. Plaintiff excludes from the proposed class
“all persons that are or were employed by Defendant in
the position of Flight Attendant.” Id.
removed the action to this Court on March 21, 2019.
See Doc. No. 1. Plaintiff filed the instant motion
to remand on April 19, 2019. See Doc. No. 11.
a general matter, defendants may remove to the appropriate
federal district court ‘any civil action brought in a
State court of which the district courts of the United States
have original jurisdiction.' 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
The propriety of removal thus depends on whether the case
originally could have been filed in federal court.”
City of Chi. v. Int'l Coll. of Surgeons, 522
U.S. 156, 163 (1997). The “propriety of removal”
in this case arises under “CAFA[, which] gives federal
courts jurisdiction over certain class actions, defined in
§ 1332(d)(1), if the class has more than 100 members,
the parties are minimally diverse, and the amount in
controversy exceeds $5 million.” Dart Cherokee
Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 552
notice of removal must contain a “short and plain
statement of the grounds for removal.” 28 U.S.C. §
1446(a). There is no presumption against removal jurisdiction
in CAFA cases. Dart, 135 S.Ct. at 554 (noting
“CAFA's provisions should be read broadly, with a
strong preference that interstate class actions should be
heard in a federal court if properly removed by any
defendant”) (internal quotations omitted). The burden
of establishing removal jurisdiction under CAFA lies with the
proponent of federal jurisdiction. See Ibarra v. Manheim
Investments, Inc., 775 F.3d 1193, 1199 (9th Cir. 2015).
a defendant seeks federal-court adjudication, the
defendant's amount-in-controversy allegation should be
accepted when not contested by the plaintiff or questioned by
the court.” Dart, 135 S.Ct. at 553.
“Evidence establishing the amount is required”
where, as here, the plaintiff challenges the defendant's
amount in controversy assertion. Id. at 554.
“In such a case, both sides submit proof and the court
decides, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the
amount-in-controversy requirement has been satisfied.”
Id. (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(2)(B)).
“Under the preponderance of the evidence standard, a
defendant must establish ‘that the potential damage
could exceed the jurisdictional amount.'”
Bryant v. NCR Corp., 284 F.Supp.3d 1147, 1149 (S.D.
Cal. 2018) (quoting Rea v. Michaels Stores Inc., 742
F.3d 1234, 1239 (9th Cir. 2014)).
is no dispute that the proposed class includes more than 100
employees. Thus, the issues before the Court are: (1) whether
the parties are minimally diverse; and (2) whether Defendant
has shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the
amount in controversy exceeds $5 million.
Plaintiff's Request for Judicial Notice
initial matter, in her reply brief, Plaintiff requests that
the Court take judicial notice of a May 2019 opinion from the
Eastern District of California, Gonzalez v. Hub Int'l
Midwest Ltd., NO. ED CV 19-557 PA (ASx) 2019 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 79672 (C.D. Cal. May 10, 2019). See Doc. No.
15-1 at 2. However, Plaintiff asks the Court to judicially
notice the opinion not to establish the facts of the case,
but rather as supplemental authority for the Court to
consider. This request is misguided as “a request for
judicial notice is not a proper vehicle for legal
argument.” Garcia v. California Supreme Court,
No. CV 12-4504-DWM, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7363, at *1 (N.D.
Cal. Jan. 21, 2014); see, e.g., Ghalehtak v. FNBN I,
LLC, No. 15-CV-05821-LB, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61347, at
*3 (N.D. Cal. May 6, 2016); McVey v. McVey, 26
F.Supp.3d 980, 984 (C.D. Cal. 2014), appeal
dismissed (Apr. 22, 2015). Accordingly, the Court
DENIES Plaintiff's request for judicial