United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable JESUS G. BERNAL, UNITED STATES
Order (1) DENYING Plaintiff Travin Baker's Motion to
Remand (Dkt. No. 12); and (3) VACATING the September 9, 2019
Hearing (IN CHAMBERS)
the Court is Plaintiff Travin Baker's Motion to Remand.
(“Motion, ” Dkt. No. 12.) The Court finds this
matter appropriate for resolution without a hearing.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; L.R. 7-15. After consideration
of the papers filed in support of, and in opposition to the
Motion, the Court DENIES the Motion. The hearing scheduled
for September 9, 2019 is VACATED.
April 30, 2019, Plaintiff Travin Baker
(“Plaintiff”) filed this putative class action
complaint against Defendants Propak Logistics, Inc.
(“Defendant”) and Does 1 through 100
(collectively, “Defendants”) in the Superior
Court for the County of San Bernardino. (“Complaint,
” Dkt. No. 1-4.) Plaintiff brings this action on behalf
of himself and “[a]ll current and former hourly-paid
employees who worked for any of the Defendants within the
State of California at any time during the period from four
years preceding the filing of this Complaint to final
judgment.” (Complaint ¶ 13.) The Complaint
advances multiple claims under California law: (1) unpaid
overtime; (2) unpaid meal period premiums; (3) unpaid rest
period premiums; (4) unpaid minimum wages; (5) final wages
not timely paid; (6) wages not timely paid during employment;
(7) non-compliant wage statements; (8) failure to keep
requisite payroll records; (9) unreimbursed business
expenses; and (10) violation of the California Business and
Professions Code, §§ 17200, et seq.
(Complaint ¶¶ 47-117.)
asserts Defendant employed him as an hourly-paid, non-exempt
employee from approximately December 2017 through May 2018.
(Id. ¶¶ 17-18.) Plaintiff alleges that
during the time of his employment, Defendant failed to
compensate him and other similarly situated employees for all
hours worked, missed meal periods, and/or rest breaks.
(Id. ¶ 19.) Plaintiff claims Defendant is
engaged in a pattern and practice of wage abuse against its
hourly-paid or non-exempt employees in California.
(Id. ¶ 25.) Plaintiff further alleges he and
other putative class members were not provided complete and
accurate wage statements, were not paid minimum wages for all
hours worked, and were not paid all wages owed upon discharge
or resignation from Defendant. (Id. ¶¶
removed the action to this Court on July 3, 2019.
(“Notice of Removal, ” Dkt. No. 1.) Defendant
asserts jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act
(“CAFA”). Plaintiff then filed the Motion on
August 2, 2019. (Dkt. No. 12.) Defendant opposed the Motion
on August 19, 2019. (“Opposition, ” Dkt. No.
Plaintiff filed its reply memorandum on August 26, 2019.
(“Reply, ” Dkt. No. 18.)
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing only
that power authorized by the Constitution and statute.”
Gunn v. Minton, 133 S.Ct. 1059, 1064 (2013). CAFA
vests federal courts with original jurisdiction over class
actions involving at least 100 class members, minimal
diversity, and an amount in controversy that exceeds $5, 000,
000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d).
courts must “strictly construe the removal statute
against removal jurisdiction.” Gaus v. Miles,
Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). “However,
‘no anti-removal presumption attends cases invoking
CAFA . . . .'” Garcia v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 2016 WL 6068104, at *3 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 14, 2016)
(quoting Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v.
Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 553 (2014)). Instead, Congress
intended CAFA to be interpreted expansively. Ibarra v.
Manheim Investments, Inc., 775 F.3d 1193, 1197 (9th Cir.
defendant seeking removal of an action to federal district
court need only offer a “short and plain statement of
the grounds for removal” in its notice of removal. 28
U.S.C § 1446(a). To meet CAFA's diversity
requirement, a removing defendant must show “any member
of a class of plaintiffs is a citizen of a State different
from any defendant.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2)(A).
“Thus, under CAFA complete diversity is not required;
‘minimal diversity' suffices.” Serrano v.
180 Connect, Inc., 478 F.3d 1018, 1021 (9th Cir. 2007)
satisfy CAFA's amount-in-controversy requirement,
“a removing defendant must plausibly assert that the
amount in controversy exceeds $5, 000, 000.”
Garcia 2016 WL 6068104, at *3 (citing
Ibarra, 775 F.3d at 1197). A removing
“defendant's amount-in-controversy allegation
should be accepted when not contested by the plaintiff or
questioned by the court.” Dart Cherokee, 135
S.Ct. at 553. Where a plaintiff questions the amount in
controversy asserted, further evidence establishing that the
amount alleged meets the jurisdictional minimum is required.
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. at 554.
parties may submit evidence outside the complaint, including
affidavits or declarations, or other
‘summary-judgment-type evidence relevant to the amount
in controversy at the time of removal.'”
Ibarra, 775 F.3d at 1197 (quoting Singer v.
State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 116 F.3d 373, 377 (9th
Cir. 1997)). “Under this system, CAFA's
requirements are to be tested by consideration of real
evidence and the reality of what is at stake in the
litigation, using reasonable assumptions underlying the
defendant's theory of damages exposure.”
Id. at 1198.
seeks remand: he asserts that Defendant's amount in
controversy estimate of $10, 699, 528.75 is inaccurate and
unreliable. (See Notice of Removal at 13; Motion at
2, 4.) Plaintiff argues that (1) Defendant provides no
evidence to support the figures it uses in the calculation
(e.g., number of employees affected, number of pay stubs at
issue, average hourly rate of pay, etc.); (2) Defendant
relies on unreasonable estimates of the rate of the
violations (e.g., amount of unpaid overtime, number of missed
meal breaks, etc.); and (3) Defendant improperly includes a
25% attorneys' fees award. (See generally,