Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Guatemala v. Regus Management Group, LLC

United States District Court, C.D. California

November 8, 2019

Viviriana Guatemala
v.
Regus Management Group, LLC, et al.

          Present: The Honorable GEORGE H. WU, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         PROCEEDINGS: IN CHAMBERS - FINAL RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND [29]

         Attached hereto is the Court's Final Ruling. The Court GRANTS the Motion and remands this case to the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, for further proceedings.

         Guatemala v. Regus Management Grp., LLC et al.; No. 2:19-cv-4243-GW-(ASx) Final Ruling on Motion to Remand

         I. Introduction

         On February 28, 2019, Plaintiff Viviriana Guatemala filed the present lawsuit in state court against Regus Management Group, LLC (“Regus”), Erika Deras[1] (“Deras”), and Does 1-100 (collectively “Defendants”) alleging: (1) actual/perceived disability harassment in violation of Cal. Gov. Code § 12940, et seq.; (2) actual/perceived disability discrimination in violation Cal. Gov. Code § 12940, et seq.; (3) actual/perceived disability retaliation in violation of Cal. Gov. Code § 12940 et seq.; (4) failure to engage in the mandatory good-faith interactive process in violation of Cal. Gov. Code § 12940, et seq.; (5) failure to accommodate in violation of Cal. Gov. Code § 12940, et seq.; (6) violation of the California Family Rights Act, Cal. Gov. Code § 12945.2 et seq.; (7) whistleblower violation, Cal. Labor Code § 1102.5; and (8) wrongful termination and retaliation in violation of public policy. See First Amended Complaint (“FAC”), attached as Exhibit B to Notice of Removal, Docket No. 1-3.

         Deras filed a notice of removal on May 16, 2019. See NOR, Docket No. 1. Regus filed a notice of consent to removal. See Consent by Defendant Regus Management Group, LLC to Removal of Action by Defendant Erika Deras, Docket No. 5. Deras removed the case to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441. The sole member of Regus Management is Regus Corporation, a Delaware Corporation with its principal place of business located in Addison, Texas. See Declaration of Sharon Edmondson in Support of Defendant Erika Deras' Notice of Removal (“Edmondson Decl.”), Docket No. 1-1, ¶4. Plaintiff claims to be an individual residing in Los Angeles, and therefore, Deras is informed and believes that Plaintiff is a citizen of California. See NOR ¶ 2. Deras is an individual residing in California. See Id. ¶ 4.

         Plaintiff previously filed a motion to remand because Deras' presence in this case as a defendant destroys complete diversity. See Plaintiff's Motion to Remand and Request for Attorney Fees and Sanctions in the Amount of $2, 313.56 (“MTR I”), Docket No. 17. Deras argued that her citizenship should not be considered by the Court for purposes of determining diversity jurisdiction because she is a “sham defendant.” See generally NOR. The Court found that the claims against Deras in the FAC were time barred, but allowed Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint based on her assertion that she could assert alternative causes of action against Deras that would not be time barred. See Minutes of Plaintiff's Motion to Remand and Request for Attorney Fees and Sanctions in the Amount of $2, 313.56, Docket No. 22. Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint which includes a claim against Deras for intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”). See Second Amended Complaint, Docket No. 23 at 52 et seq.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's second motion to remand. See Plaintiff's Notice of Motion and Motion to Remand (“MTR II”), Docket No. 29. Defendants filed an opposition. See Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Remand and Request for Attorney Fees and Sanctions (“Opp.”) Docket No. 33. Plaintiff filed a reply. See Reply in Support of Plaintiff's Motion to Remand (“Reply”), Docket No. 35.

         II. Applicable Law

         Federal courts possess limited jurisdiction, having subject matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and Congressional statute. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Federal courts operate under the presumption that they do not have jurisdiction over state causes of action, and the party claiming federal jurisdiction must prove otherwise. See id. (citing Turner v. Bank of N. Am., 4 U.S. 8, 11 (1799); McNutt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 182-83 (1936)). Additionally, “[t]he defendant bears the burden of establishing that removal is proper” and removal statutes are “strictly construed against removal jurisdiction.” Provincial Gov't of Marinduque v. Placer Dome, Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir. 2009); see also Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (“[J]urisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal.”).

         Subject-matter jurisdiction exists over claims that: (1) are between citizens of different states, and (2) have an amount in controversy greater than $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Although diversity jurisdiction requires complete diversity of citizenship, there is an exception to the complete diversity requirement “where a non-diverse defendant has been fraudulently joined.” Hunter v. Philip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1043 (9th Cir. 2009). “Joinder is fraudulent ‘if 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.'” Id. (quoting Hamilton Materials, Inc. v. Dow Chem. Corp., 494 F.3d 1203, 1206 (9th Cir. 2007)). Conversely, “if there is any possibility that the state law might impose liability on a resident defendant under the circumstances alleged in the complaint, the federal court cannot find that joinder of the resident defendant was fraudulent, and remand is necessary.” Id. at 1044 (emphasis added). Additionally, “[t]he burden of proving a fraudulent joinder is a heavy one. The removing party must prove that there is absolutely no possibility that the plaintiff will be able to establish a cause of action against the in-state defendant in state court . . . . [citations omitted, emphasis added]” Green v. Amerada Hess Corp., 707 F.2d 201, 205 (5th Cir. 1983). See also Esperanza v. Shanklin Corp., No. 5:17-cv-2456-CAS-KK, 2017 WL 6520465, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 19, 2017); GranCare, LLC v. Thrower, 889 F.3d 543, 548 (9th Cir. 2018) (“A defendant invoking federal court diversity jurisdiction on the basis of fraudulent joinder bears a ‘heavy burden' since there is a ‘general presumption against [finding] fraudulent joinder.' [citation omitted]”.). “[T]he relevant inquiry is only whether plaintiff could state a claim against [the in-state defendant] on any legal theory.” Lytle v. Ford Motor Co., No. 2:18-cv-1628-WBC (EFBx), 2018 WL 4793800, at *5 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 2, 2018).

         III. Discussion

         Defendants do not dispute that both Deras and Plaintiff are citizens of California. See generally NOR. Instead, Defendants argue that Deras has been fraudulently joined and therefore her citizenship should be ignored for purposes of determining diversity. See NOR ΒΆΒΆ13-15. In order for this Court to find that Deras is a sham defendant, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.