United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable DOLLY M. GEE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
IN CHAMBERS - ORDER RE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND AND
REQUEST FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS 
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Remand and Request for Attorneys' Fees and Costs. [Doc. #
15 (“MTR”).] For the reasons set forth below, the
Motion to Remand is GRANTED and the Request
for Attorneys' Fees and Costs is DENIED.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
April 11, 2019, Plaintiff Linda Hassler filed a Complaint in
Los Angeles County Superior Court against Defendants The
Talbots, Inc. (“Talbots”) and Wendy Gomez
(“Gomez”), a Talbots loss prevention manager.
[Doc. # 1, Ex. A (“Complaint”).] Hassler filed a
first amended complaint on June 24, 2019. [Doc. # 1, Ex. C
(“FAC”).] The FAC alleges causes of action for:
(1) disparate treatment in violation of the Fair Employment
and Housing Act (“FEHA”); (2) discrimination in
violation of FEHA California Government Code section
129040(j) based on race, color, national origin, and/or
ancestry; (3) retaliation for complaining of discrimination
in violation of FEHA; (4) failure to prevent discrimination
and retaliation in violation of FEHA, Government Code section
12940(k); (5) violation of California Labor Code section
1102.5; (6) wrongful termination in violation of public
policy; and (7) intentional infliction of emotional distress
brings claims one through six against Talbots, and claim
seven against all Defendants, including Gomez. Id.
The FAC alleges that Hassler resides in Los Angeles County,
Gomez resides in Los Angeles County, and Talbots is a citizen
of Massachusetts and Delaware. FAC at ¶¶ 5, 6, 8,
10, 11; Notice of Removal [Doc. # 1] at ¶ 2.
is Caucasian. Id. at ¶ 18. She alleges that
during her employment with Talbots, Kesha Bey, an
African-American subordinate employee, received preferential
treatment even though Bey “was often tardy for work,
took long breaks and lunches, and routinely failed to clock
in.” Id. at ¶ 21-24. In October and
November 2017, Hassler complained to Defendants of race
discrimination. Id. at ¶¶ 23-25. In
December 2017, Gomez and a Talbots Human Resources
representative accused Hassler “of using store funds to
buy potato chips; of bringing customers into the stockroom;
of failing to clock in and out for lunch; and of failing to
train her staff on clocking in and out.” Id.
at ¶ 27. Talbots then terminated Hassler's
employment. Hassler claims that it did so on the basis of her
race and in retaliation for making discrimination complaints.
Id. at ¶ 28.
3, 2019, Defendants removed this action from Los Angeles
County Superior Court on the ground that Hassler fraudulently
joined Gomez in order to defeat federal diversity
jurisdiction. See Notice of Removal. Hassler filed
the instant MTR on July 23, 2019.
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 requires that the
parties to a suit be of diverse citizenship. Diaz v.
Davis (In re Digimarc Corp. Derivative Litig.), 549 F.3d
1223, 1234 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Strawbridge v.
Curtiss, 7 U.S. (3 Cranch) 267, 267, 2 L.Ed. 435 (1806))
(“Diversity jurisdiction requires complete diversity
between the parties-each defendant must be a citizen of a
different state from each plaintiff.”). “A
defendant seeking removal has the burden to establish that
removal is proper and any doubt is resolved against
removability. However, a plaintiff seeking remand has the
burden to prove that an express exception to removal
exists.” Luther v. Countrywide Home Loans Servicing
LP, 533 F.3d 1031, 1034 (9th Cir. 2008) (internal
citations omitted.) “The burden of establishing federal
subject matter jurisdiction falls on the party invoking
removal.” Marin Gen. Hosp. v. Modesto & Empire
Traction Co., 581 F.3d 941, 944 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing
Toumajian v. Frailey, 135 F.3d 648, 652 (9th Cir.
1998)). There is a “strong presumption against removal
jurisdiction, ” and courts must reject it “if
there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first
instance.” Geographic Expeditions, Inc. v. Estate
of Lhotka ex rel. Lhotka, 599 F.3d 1102, 1107 (9th Cir.
2010) (quoting Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564,
566 (9th Cir. 1992) (per curiam)) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
of a non-diverse defendant is deemed fraudulent, and the
defendant's presence in the lawsuit is ignored for
purposes of determining diversity, ‘[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.'” Morris v.
Princess Cruises, Inc., 236 F.3d 1061, 1067 (9th Cir.
2001) (quoting McCabe v. General Foods Corp., 811
F.2d 1336, 1339 (9th Cir. 1987)).
defendant opposing remand may introduce evidence beyond the
pleadings to establish fraudulent joinder. Id.
(citing McCabe, 811 F.2d at 1339). But that
defendant must “show that there is no possibility that
the plaintiff could prevail on any cause of action it brought
against the non-diverse defendant. Remand must be granted
unless the defendant shows that the plaintiff would not be
afforded leave to amend his complaint to cure the purported
deficiency.” Padilla v. AT&T Corp., 697
F.Supp.2d 1156, 1159 (C.D. Cal. ...