United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable STEPHEN V. WILSON, U.S. DISTRICT
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
IN CHAMBERS ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND
November 15, 2018, Plaintiff Clarence Bell, III filed this
putative class action against Defendant CEVA Logistics U.S.,
Inc. (“CEVA”) and Defendant Randstad Inhouse
Services, LLC (“Randstad”) in California state
court. Dkt. 1-1. Plaintiff asserts claims under California
law alleging: (1) failure to provide all paid rest periods;
(2) failure to provide all second meal periods; (3) failure
to pay all seventh day overtime wages; (4) failure to timely
furnish accurate itemized wage statements; (5) violations of
California Labor Code § 203; (6) penalties pursuant to
California Labor Code § 2699; and (7) unfair business
practices. Id. Plaintiff brings this case on behalf
of himself and “[a]ll California citizens employed by
Defendants as hourly-paid employees during the appropriate
time period who were subjected to Defendants'
policies and practices.” Id. ¶ 26.
February 22, 2019, CEVA removed the case, asserting
jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act
(“CAFA”). See Dkt. 1. On March 22, 2019,
Plaintiff filed a motion to remand the case. Dkt. 12.
alleges that he worked for Randstad as an hourly-paid
employee from approximately September 2017 to November 18,
2017 and that he worked for CEVA from approximately November
19, 2017 to October 26, 2018. Dkt. 1-1 ¶ 7. Plaintiff also
alleges that he is a citizen of the State of California and
that both CEVA and Randstad are Delaware corporations.
Id. ¶¶ 6, 9-10.
Plaintiff contends that, “as a matter of
Defendants' established company policy, ”
“[n]on-exempt employees [could] not leave work premises
during a rest break” in violation of California law and
that, pursuant to the policy, “the members of the Rest
Period Class were not allowed to leave Defendants'
premises for their rest breaks . . . as Defendants failed to
relinquish all control over how the members of the Rest
Period Class spent their rest breaks.” Id.
¶¶ 40-41. With respect to meal periods, Plaintiff
asserts that “[o]n one or more occasions, the members
of the Meal Period Class worked over ten (10) hours per shift
and therefore were entitled to a second meal period of not
less than 30 minutes” that they did not receive.
Id. ¶¶ 50-53. Plaintiff further alleges
that Defendants did not furnish each member of the putative
wage statement class with an accurate itemized wage statement
by not including the “beginning and ending of each work
period, meal periods, rest periods, the total daily hours
worked, the total hours worked per pay period, meal and rest
period premium payments and applicable rates of pay.”
Id. ¶ 70. Plaintiff also seeks derivative
waiting time penalties because “Defendants had a
consistent and uniform policy, practice and procedure of
willfully failing to pay the earned wages of Defendants'
former employees . . . at the time of their
termination.” Id. ¶¶ 81-82.
gives federal district courts original jurisdiction over
class actions involving at least 100 class members, minimal
diversity, and at least $5 million in controversy. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(d). In a notice of removal, a defendant need only
plausibly allege that these prerequisites are met. Dart
Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S.Ct.
547, 554 (2014). Once confronted with a motion to remand,
however, the defendant bears the burden of establishing
jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence. Id.
at 553-54. The parties may submit “evidence, including
affidavits or declarations, or other
‘summary-judgment-type evidence relevant to the amount
in controversy at the time of removal.'” Akana
v. Estee Lauder Inc., No. LA CV19-00806 JAK (PLAx), 2019
WL 2225231, at *3 (C.D. Cal. May 23, 2019) (quoting
Ibarra v. Manheim Invs., Inc., 775 F.3d 1193, 1197
(9th Cir. 2015)) (citation and quotation marks omitted). The
evidence must use “reasonable assumptions”; that
is, “a defendant cannot establish removal jurisdiction
by mere speculation and conjecture, with unreasonable
assumptions.” Ibarra, 775 F.3d at 1197-98.
There is no presumption against removal under CAFA. Dart
Cherokee, 135 S.Ct. at 554.
the complaint contains generalized allegations of illegal
behavior, a removing defendant must supply “real
evidence” grounding its calculations of the amount in
controversy. Ibarra, 775 F.3d at 1198-99. Therefore,
a defendant cannot assume a 100% violation rate based on the
plaintiff's general allegation of a “pattern and
practice” and “institutionalized unwritten policy
that mandates these unlawful practices.” Id.
at 1198-99. However, “courts have generally found the
amount in controversy satisfied where a defendant assumes a
100% violation rate based on allegations of a
‘uniform' illegal practice (or other similar
language) and where the plaintiff offers no evidence
rebutting this violation rate.” Duberry v. J. Crew
Grp., Inc., No. 2:14-cv-08810-SVW-MRW, 2015 WL 4575018,
at *3 (C.D. Cal. July 28, 2015); see also Ibarra,
775 F.3d at 1199 (suggesting that an allegation that a
defendant violated labor laws “universally, on each and
every shift” would suffice to assume a 100% violation
First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) does not allege a
specific amount in damages. Therefore, Defendants bear the
initial burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence
that the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million. Plaintiff
argues that Defendants fail to meet this burden because the
amount in controversy set forth by CEVA in its Notice of
Removal is based on speculation and conjecture. Dkt. 12-1 at
1. Plaintiff does not dispute that CAFA's jurisdictional
requirements of minimum diversity and class numerosity are
makes three primary arguments to attack CEVA's Notice of
Removal. First, it argues that the Notice was not supported
by concrete evidence and so was mere speculation. Second, it
contends that CEVA cannot assume 100% violation rates. And
third, it alleges that ...