Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Brown v. United Airlines, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. California

July 9, 2019

ELLA BROWN, an individual, on behalf of herself and on behalf of all persons similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED AIRLINES, INC., an Illinois Corporation, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLANTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND [DOC. NO. 11]

          HON. MICHAEL M. ANELLO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff 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.

         Background

         Plaintiff, 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.

         On 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.

         Defendant 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.

         Legal Standard

         “As 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 (2014).

         A 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).

         “[W]hen 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)).

         Discussion

         There 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.

         1. Plaintiff's Request for Judicial Notice

         As an 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 notice.

         2. Diversity ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.