United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO REMAND RE: DKT. NO.
HAYWOOD S GILLIAM JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is a motion to remand filed by Plaintiff
Beth Mangiapane. See Dkt. No. 11. The Court finds
this matter appropriate for disposition without oral argument
and the matter is deemed submitted. See Civil L.R.
7-1(b). For the reasons discussed below, the Court
GRANTS the motion to remand.
filed this action in Santa Clara County Superior Court on
March 12, 2019. See Dkt. No. 1-1, Ex. A
(“Compl.”). Plaintiff alleges that on January 30,
2011, she purchased a vehicle manufactured by Defendant Ford
Motor Company (“Ford”) from Defendant
Tuttle-Click Ford Lincoln Mercury, Inc.
(“Tuttle-Click”), a Ford dealership. Id.
at ¶¶ 8-9. The vehicle was covered by an express
3-year/36, 000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a
5-year/60, 000-mile powertrain warranty from Ford.
Id. at ¶ 9. Under the warranty, Ford undertook
to maintain the utility and performance of the vehicle or to
provide compensation in the event of a failure in utility or
performance. Id. Accordingly, Plaintiff could
deliver the vehicle to Ford's representative for repair
in the event of a defect. Id.
identifies several defects that developed during the warranty
period that impaired the use, value, or safety of the
vehicle. See Id. at ¶ 10. However, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendants did not cure these defects, replace
the vehicle, or make other restitution, despite having
several opportunities to do so. Id. ¶¶ 11,
26. Based on these allegations, Plaintiff asserts several
causes of action, including for breach of express and implied
warranties under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, Cal.
Civ. Code §§ 1790 et seq.
(“Song-Beverly”). See Id. at
¶¶ 8-46. Plaintiff's only cause of action
against Tuttle-Click is Count Five, for breach of the implied
warranty of merchantability. See Id. ¶¶
removed this action on April 15, 2019, asserting diversity
jurisdiction. See Dkt. No. 1. Plaintiff now seeks to
remand the action back to state court. See Dkt. No.
as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress, any civil
action brought in a State court of which the district courts
of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be
removed” to federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
District courts have original jurisdiction over civil actions
between citizens of different states in which the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a)(1). To properly invoke diversity jurisdiction, the
defendant bears the burden of proving that the parties in the
action are completely diverse, meaning that “each
plaintiff [is] of a different citizenship from each
defendant.” Grancare, LLC v. Thrower by &
through Mills, 889 F.3d 543, 548 (9th Cir. 2018).
district court lacks jurisdiction over an action, a plaintiff
may seek remand to state court. See 28 U.S.C. §
1447(c). There is a “strong presumption” in favor
of remand, and “[f]ederal jurisdiction must be rejected
if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first
instance.” Guas v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564,
566 (9th Cir. 1992). Accordingly, “[t]he strong
presumption against removal jurisdiction means that the
defendant always has the burden of establishing that removal
is proper . . . .” Hunter v. Philip Morris
USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 2009).
Defendants' notice of removal states that there is
complete diversity because Plaintiff is a citizen of
California and Ford is a citizen of Michigan and
Delaware. See Id. at ¶¶ 19, 36. Defendants
further assert that the only claim against Tuttle-Click, the
non-diverse Defendant, is barred by the statute of
limitations. See Id. at ¶ 2. As such,
Defendants state that Tuttle-Click was fraudulently joined,
and its California citizenship should not defeat federal
diversity jurisdiction. Id. at ¶ 36.
Alternatively, Defendants request that the Court exercise its
discretion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21 to sever
Tuttle-Click from this action. See Id. at
¶¶ 34-36. The Court addresses each argument in
as a corporation organized under the laws of California,
would ordinarily defeat federal diversity jurisdiction
because Plaintiff is also a citizen of California.
See Compl. ¶¶ 2, 5. Although the removing
party must establish complete diversity, “[i]n
determining whether there is complete diversity, district
courts may disregard the citizenship of a non-diverse
defendant who has been fraudulently joined.”
Grancare, 889 F.3d at 548. The Ninth Circuit has
clarified that there are two ways to establish fraudulent
(1) actual fraud in the pleading of jurisdictional facts, or
(2) inability of the plaintiff to establish a cause of action
against the ...