United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
HONORABLE ANDRÉ BIROTTE JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT
before the Court is Plaintiff Adenike Joseph's
(“Plaintiff”) Motion to Remand. (“Motion,
” Dkt. No. 7). Defendants VITAS Healthcare Corporation
of California (“Defendant”) filed an opposition,
and Plaintiff filed a reply. (Dkt. Nos. 9, 12.) For the
reasons set forth below the Court
GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion.
filed the Complaint in this action in Los Angeles County
Superior Court and Defendant removed it on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction. See Notice of Removal (Dkt.
No. 1), Compl. (Dkt. No. 1-3). The Complaint asserts eight
state claims arising out of alleged racial discrimination,
retaliation, wrongful termination and related wrongdoing that
Plaintiff experienced while employed as a Registered Nurse
Supervisor at VITAS Healthcare of California, a hospice care
provider, from about July 3, 2017 to about April 17, 2018.
See Compl. ¶ 12.
alleges several instances of discrimination starting on or
about September 2017 when a racist comment was directed at
her by a VITAS human resources employee. See Compl.
¶ 14. Plaintiff alleges several additional instances of
discrimination/retaliation, and asserts she was eventually
terminated because “she no longer felt comfortable
working for VITAS.” Compl. ¶ 20.
now seeks to remand the case back to state court. Plaintiff
argues that Defendant has not established that its principal
place of business is not California-a fact necessary to
establish diversity of citizenship between the parties.
Plaintiff further argues that she directed all of her
complaints to supervisors and managers of VITAS Healthcare of
California and the Human Resources Department was located in
the Encino Office in California. Plaintiff had no contact
with any supervisors, directors or human resources staff
outside of California.
defendant may remove a civil action filed in state court to
federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). The removal statute
is strictly construed against removal. Takeda v. Nw. Nat.
Life Ins. Co., 765 F.2d 815, 818 (9th Cir. 1985). If any
doubt exists as to the right of removal, federal jurisdiction
must be rejected. Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d.
564, 566-67 (9th Cir. 1992).
action based on diversity of citizenship, the parties must be
citizens of different states and involves an amount in
controversy over $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). A
corporation is a citizen of both (1) the State where it is
incorporated, and (2) the State where it has its principal
place of business. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1). As a rule,
the parent company and its subsidiary are treated as distinct
entities. Thus, in a suit involving a subsidiary, the Court
will look to the state of incorporation and principal place
of business of the subsidiary, and not its parent.
Danjaq, S.A. v. Pathe Communications Corp., 979 F.2d
772, 775 (9th Cir. 1992).
Supreme Court in Hertz Corp. v. Friend adopted the
“nerve center” test to determine where the
principal place of business is located. “Principal
place of business” means “the place where a
corporation's high-level officers direct, control, and
coordinate the corporation's activities” or
“the nerve center.” Hertz Corp. v.
Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 78 (2010). The Court added that a
corporation's “nerve center” usually will be
the corporation's headquarters. Id. However, the
nerve center is the headquarters provided that the
headquarters is “the actual center of direction,
control and coordination… and not simply an office
where the corporation holds its board meetings.”
Id. The Court further clarifies that jurisdictional
manipulation will not be tolerated. The Court stated that if
the alleged nerve center turns out to be “nothing more
than a mail drop box, a bare office with a computer, or the
location of an annual executive retreat - the court should
instead take as the ‘nerve center' the place of
actual direction, control, and coordination, in the absence
of such manipulation.” Id.
burden for establishing diversity of jurisdiction remains
with the Defendant. Hertz., at 96. “Competent
proof” must be provided to support their allegations.
“[T]he mere filling of a form” for example,
“the Securities and Exchange Commission's Form 10-K
listing a corporation's principal executive offices
without more would not be sufficient proof to establish a
corporation's nerve center.” Id. at 97.
case, it is undisputed that Plaintiff is a citizen of
California and that VITAS Healthcare of California is
incorporated in Delaware. But the parties disagree on where
Defendant's principal place of business is located.
Plaintiff argues that Defendant's principal place of
business is in California - not where its headquarters is
located. (Mot. 1:9-12). Defendant claims that its principal
place of business is the ...