United States District Court, S.D. California
CHARLES KEE, Individually and On Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff,
HIOSSEN, INC., a Pennsylvania Corporation; and DOES 1 through 50, inclusive, Defendants.
William Q. Hayes United States District Judge.
matter before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Remand
to State Court (ECF No. 7).
3, 2019, Plaintiff initiated this action by filing a
Complaint in the Superior Court of California for the County
of San Diego, assigned case number
37-2019-00023035-CU-OE-CTL, against Defendant Hiossen, Inc.
(Ex. A, ECF No. 1 at 10).
18, 2019, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint
(“FAC”) in the Superior Court for the County of
San Diego. (Ex. B, ECF No. 1). Plaintiff alleges that he was
employed by Defendant as a sales representative from July
2017 to November 2018. (Ex. B, ECF No. 1 at 38). Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant (1) subjected Plaintiff and the Class
to unlawful non-compete agreements; (2) failed to pay accrued
and unused paid time off; (3) failed to provide accurate
itemized wage statements; (4) failed to pay earned wages and
overtime compensation; (5) failed to provide 30-minute
employee meal periods; (6) failed to authorize and permit
10-minute employee rest periods; (7) failed to reimburse
business expenses; (8) failed to pay compensation when due at
employment separation; (9) engaged in unlawful and unfair
business practices; and (10) violated the Labor Code Private
Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“Private Attorneys
General Act”). Id. at 35-36. Plaintiff alleges
that he is a citizen of California (Id. at 38) and
Defendant is a Pennsylvania corporation with its principal
place of business in New Jersey (Id. at 39).
Plaintiff seeks (1) an Order certifying the Class; (2)
compensatory damages; (3) prejudgment interest; (4) an Order
compelling Defendants to restore unpaid wages, expenditures,
losses, income, and other related benefits as well as to
reinstate any forfeited Paid Time Off; (5) an Order
compelling Defendants to disgorge and pay all profits and
savings resulting from Defendants' alleged unlawful and
unfair business practices; (6) a permanent injunction
enjoining Defendants from continuing to engage in unlawful
and unfair business practices; (7) attorneys' fees; (8)
wait time penalties; (9) civil penalties; and (10) underpaid
wages. Id. at 59-60.
31, 2019, Defendant removed the action to this Court pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(a), and 28 U.S.C. § 1446. (ECF No. 1). On
August 20, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Remand. (ECF No.
7). On September 9, 2019, Defendant filed a Response in
Opposition. (ECF No. 9). On September 16, 2019, Plaintiff
filed a Reply. (ECF No. 10). On October 11, 2019, Defendant
filed a Sur-Reply. (ECF No. 12). On October 15, 2019,
Plaintiff filed an Ex Parte Motion for Leave to File a
Response to Defendant's Surreply (ECF No. 13) and an
Objection (ECF No. 14). On October 28, 2019, this Court
granted Plaintiff's Ex Parte Motion for Leave to File a
Response to Defendant's Surreply. (ECF No. 15). On
October 30, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Response to
Defendant's Surreply. (ECF No. 16).
contends that Defendant failed to demonstrate that the amount
in controversy exceeds $75, 000. (ECF No. 7-1). Plaintiff
contends that the actual amount in controversy is $70,
731.38. (ECF No. 10 at 2).
asserts that Plaintiff's January 24, 2019 Demand Letter
alleged damages in excess of $200, 000. (ECF No. 9 at 2; ECF
No. 9-1). Defendant asserts that Plaintiff's Demand
Letter stated that Plaintiff “could prove to a San
Diego jury that Hiossen is liable to Kee for damages of at
least $139, 960 as a result of its violations of the
California Labor Code and other laws” and “an
additional $68, 600 in penalties and liquidated
damages.” (ECF No. 9 at 3 (quoting Ex. A, ECF No. 9-1
Reply, Plaintiff asserts that the Demand Letter is neither an
accurate nor reasonable assessment of Plaintiff's true
damages. (ECF No. 10 at 3).
defendant may remove an action from state court to a federal
district court when the district court would have had
original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. A federal
district court has original jurisdiction over an action
between citizens of different states where the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
determining the amount in controversy, the court first looks
to the plaintiff's complaint. Ibarra v. Manheim
Invs., Inc., 775 F.3d 1193, 1197 (9th Cir. 2014). Where
damages are unstated or ambiguous, the defendant seeking
removal bears the burden to show that the aggregate amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. See Id. If the
plaintiff contests the defendant's calculations, the
parties may submit evidence outside the complaint, including
affidavits, declarations, and “reasonable chain[s] of
logic” to substantiate their assertions of the amount
in controversy. LaCross v. Knight Transp. Inc., 775
F.3d 1200, 1201 (9th Cir. 2015). The court decides whether a
defendant has demonstrated that the aggregate value of the
amount in controversy meets the $75, 000 minimum by a
preponderance of the evidence. Dart Cherokee Basin
Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 554 (2014).
Where the evidence submitted by both sides is balanced or
“in equipose, ” the court will deny federal
jurisdiction. Ibarra, 775 F.3d at 1199.
is a strong presumption against removal, such that the
removing party bears the burden of establishing that the
statutory requirements of federal jurisdiction have been met.
Rodriguez v. AT & T Mobility Servs. LLC, 728
F.3d 975, 978 (9th Cir. 2013); Gaus v. Miles, Inc.,
980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). The court must remand the