United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND ;
AND DENYING DEFENDANTS' PARTIAL MOTION TO DISMISS AS MOOT
D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES.DISTRICT JUDGE
December 28, 2018, Plaintiff Lawrence Lorenz filed this
disability discrimination action in the Superior Court of
California for the County of San Bernardino. (Notice of
Removal (“Notice”), Ex. A (“Compl.”),
ECF No. 1-1.) Defendants United Parcel Service, Inc. and UPS
Supply Chain Solutions, Inc. (collectively “UPS”)
removed this matter based on federal diversity jurisdiction.
(Notice, ECF No. 1.) Lorenz moves to remand
(“Motion”). (Mot. to Remand (“Mot.”),
ECF No. 12.) After reviewing the papers filed in connection
with the Motion and the Notice of Removal, the Court finds
that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Consequently, the
Court REMANDS this action to state court.
a disability discrimination lawsuit arising from UPS's
alleged wrongful termination of Lorenz's employment. As
alleged in the Complaint, in January of 2016, while working
for UPS, Lorenz sustained a work-related injury that required
medical treatment and modified work duty. (Compl.
¶¶ 20-21.) Lorenz then went on temporary disability
leave because UPS lacked available modified work
opportunities. (Compl. ¶¶ 20-22.)
following year, on or about January 5, 2017, Lorenz's
supervisor, Teresa Leon, offered Lorenz a lower-paying
position. (Compl. ¶ 23.) Lorenz interpreted Leon's
offer as a threat, that Lorenz must either accept the
lower-paying position or be terminated. (Compl. ¶ 23.)
Nevertheless, Lorenz declined Leon's offer. (Compl.
¶ 24.) UPS terminated Lorenz's employment shortly
thereafter while Lorenz was still on disability leave.
(Compl. ¶ 25.) Lorenz claims that UPS and Leon
discriminated against him, including by failing to provide a
reasonable accommodation for his work-related injury and
intentionally terminating his employment because of his
resulting physical disability. (See Compl.)
December 28, 2018, Lorenz filed this action in San Bernardino
Superior Court against Defendants UPS and Leon. (See Compl.)
Lorenz is a citizen of California. (Compl. ¶ 4; see Mot.
6.) The UPS Defendants are Ohio and Delaware corporations,
with principal places of business in Georgia, and thus
citizens of those three states. (Compl. ¶¶ 5-6;
Notice ¶ 9.) Leon is a citizen of California. (Compl.
¶ 7; see Mot. 6.) UPS subsequently removed the action to
this Court based on federal diversity jurisdiction. (See
Notice ¶ 7.) UPS also partially moved to dismiss for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
(Mot. to Dismiss 1, ECF No. 8.) Lorenz now moves to remand
for lack of federal diversity jurisdiction. (Mot. 3.)
courts have subject matter jurisdiction only as authorized by
the Constitution and Congress. U.S. Const. art. III, §
2, cl. 1; see also Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (“Federal courts are
courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only that power
authorized by Constitution and statute.”). A suit filed
in state court may be removed to federal court only if the
federal court would have had original jurisdiction over the
suit. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Federal courts have original
jurisdiction where an action arises under federal law or
where each plaintiff's citizenship is diverse from each
defendant's citizenship and the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. Id. §§ 1331, 1332(a).
removal statute is strictly construed against removal, and
“[f]ederal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is
any doubt as to the right of removal in the first
instance.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564,
566 (9th Cir. 1992). The party seeking removal bears the
burden of establishing federal jurisdiction. Id.
invokes diversity jurisdiction as grounds for this
Court's subject matter jurisdiction. (Notice ¶ 7.)
The Supreme Court “ha[s] consistently interpreted
§ 1332 as requiring complete diversity: In a case with
multiple plaintiffs and multiple defendants, the presence in
the action of a single plaintiff from the same State as a
single defendant deprives the district court of original
diversity jurisdiction over the entire action.”
Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545
U.S. 546, 553 (2005). The parties do not dispute the
requisite amount in controversy. Accordingly, this Motion
turns on whether complete diversity exists.
argues that complete diversity does not exist because both he
and Leon are citizens of California. (Mot. 1.) UPS does not
dispute that Leon is a citizen of California. (Opp'n to
Mot. (“Opp'n”) 7, ECF No. 13; see also Notice
¶ 3.) Thus, Leon's citizenship destroys complete
UPS argues that the Court should disregard Leon's
citizenship because she was fraudulently joined to the
Complaint and is, therefore, a “sham” defendant.
(Opp'n 7; Notice ¶¶ 10-12.) Complete diversity
of citizenship is required to remove an action to federal
court, except for “where a non-diverse defendant has
been ‘fraudulently joined.'” Morris v.
Princess Cruises, Inc., 236 F.3d 1061, 1067 (9th Cir.
2001). A non-diverse defendant is fraudulently joined
“[i]f the plaintiff fails to state a cause of action
against a resident defendant, and the failure is obvious
according to the settled rules of the state.”
McCabe v. Gen. Foods Corp., 811 F.2d 1336, 1339 (9th
Cir. 1987); see also Padilla v. AT & T Corp.,697 F.Supp.2d 1156, 1158 (C.D. Cal. 2009) (citing Kruso
v. Int'l Tel. & Tel. Corp., 872 F.2d 1416, 1426
(9th Cir. 1989) (“[A] non-diverse defendant is deemed a