United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER REMANDING ACTION RE: DKT. NOS. 15 &
PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON United States District Judge
Joann Bradford, Liza Mosqueriola, Jason Rohrbach, and Brian
White's motion to remand came on for hearing before this
court on October 30, 2019. Defendant Chevron USA Inc.'s
(“Chevron”) motion to dismiss came on for hearing
before this court on the same date. Plaintiffs appeared
through their counsel, Alexander Nazarov. Defendant appeared
through its counsel, Douglas Hart and Marina Gruber. Having
read the papers filed by the parties and carefully considered
their arguments and the relevant legal authority, and good
cause appearing, the court hereby GRANTS plaintiffs'
motion to remand and DENIES defendant's motion to
dismiss, for the following reasons.
7, 2019, plaintiffs commenced a putative class action against
Chevron in the Superior Court of the State of California,
County of Contra Costa. See Compl., Dkt. 1 at ECF p.
31. Plaintiffs' complaint alleges four causes of action:
(1) failure to pay reporting-time pay pursuant to Industrial
Welfare Commission Wage Order 1-2001, Cal. Code Regs. tit. 8,
§ 11010(5)(A) (“Wage Order 1-2001”); (2)
failure to pay all wages earned at termination pursuant to
Labor Code §§ 200-203; (3) failure to provide
accurate itemized wage statements pursuant to Labor Code
§§ 226-226.3; and (4) violation of Business and
Professions Code §§ 17200, et seq. All of
plaintiffs' claims are based on their contention that
Chevron failed to compensate certain employees for
reporting-time relating to “standby shifts” and
standby time. Compl. ¶¶1-5, 7, 22. As such, the
parties agree that the second, third, and fourth causes of
action are derivative of the first cause of action, in that
those claims seek penalties and other relief for
Chevron's alleged failure to pay wages disputed under the
first cause of action. See Mot. at 2 (“The
remaining claims are derivative from the reporting time pay
claim.”); Opp. at 9 (because the second, third, and
fourth claims are derivate of the first, “preemption of
Plaintiffs' claim for reporting time pay will result in
preemption and ultimate dismissal of their remaining claims
15, 2019, Chevron removed the action to this court. Dkt. 1.
On August 14, 2019, plaintiffs filed the present motion to
remand the action to state court. Dkt. 16. On August 21,
2019, defendant filed the present motion to dismiss the
action. Dkt. 21.
owns and operates an oil refinery in Richmond, California.
Plaintiffs are current and former operator employees
(employees in that role are referred to as
“Operators”) who have worked at the Richmond
refinery. The dispute centers around Chevron's policy of
assigning Operators to “on-call” (also called
“standby”) shifts. (Operators are also assigned
regular shifts, which are not challenged in this action.)
Plaintiffs' essential contention is that Wage Order
1-2001 requires Chevron to pay Operators for shifts when they
are required to be available and “on-call” to
work, even when Chevron does not ultimately require the
Operators to physically appear at its facility to work.
plaintiffs' allegations and defendant's submission of
undisputed collective bargaining agreements, the relevant
features of the Operators' standby shifts are not
materially disputed, although there are minor discrepancies
between the allegations and the collective bargaining
agreements. See Leger Decl., Dkt. 1-1, Exs. A
(2015-2019 Articles of Agreement), B (the “12-Hour
Shift Agreement”) (together, the
allege that Chevron requires Operators to work regular
12-hour shifts, scheduled in advance. Operators can generally
be confident that they will be required to physically appear
at Chevron's facility to work these shifts, and that they
will be paid for their time. Chevron separately requires
Operators to be available for 12-hour standby shifts, also
scheduled in advance. Operators may or may not be required to
physically appear at Chevron's facility to work standby
allege that Chevron requires Operators to be available to
receive a call from Chevron either 30 minutes or 1 hour prior
to the start of each assigned standby shift, and either 30
minutes or 1 hour after the start of the shift, during which
time Operators may be told that they must travel to
Chevron's facility to work. Cf. Compl.
¶¶ 3, 23.Plaintiffs allege that they must arrive at
work within 2 hours of being contacted. Id.
¶¶ 3, 23. If an Operator fails to answer a
supervisor's telephone call during the designated time
period, the Operator is considered absent without leave and
subject to discipline. Id. ¶ 3. If the Operator
is not contacted during the designated 1.5-hour time period,
Chevron does not compensate the Operator. Id.
12-Hour Shift Agreement largely aligns with plaintiffs'
relevant allegations about how standby shifts operate:
• For every 12-hour shift, there is also a
“standby” crew “in the event short notice
overtime (less than 12 hours notice) is required and no
volunteers are available.” 12-Hour Shift Agreement at
• “Standby personnel must be available . . .
during the period extending from 2 hours prior to shift
change and 1/2 hour after shift change” and “will
receive no standby pay allowance.” Id.;
see also id. at p. III-7 ¶ 2. As such, on-call
Operators need to make themselves available to work their
scheduled 12-hour on-call shifts, and must also be accessible
to speak by telephone from 4 AM to 6:30 AM. Id. at
pp. I-5, III-7 ¶ 3.
• “Standby personnel must give a number where they
can be reached during standby periods.” Id. at
p. III-7 ¶ 4. Standby Operators must be available to be
spoken with “directly.” Id. ¶ 5.
Answering machines and beepers are not sufficient.
• Employees scheduled to work standby for a given shift
who “are not personally contactable during the standby
period will be considered AWOL and subject to disciplinary
action. (Discipline will follow the established practice for
absenteeism).” Id. ¶ 6.
• “Standby personnel must be able to get to work
in a reasonable time period after being contacted.”
Id. ¶ 7.
jurisdiction is based entirely on federal statutory
authority. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441-55. A
defendant may remove “any civil action brought in a
State court of which the district courts . . . have original
jurisdiction[.]” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
remove a case from a state court to a federal court, a
defendant must file in the federal forum a notice of removal
‘containing a short and plain statement of the grounds
for removal.'” Dart Cherokee Basin Operating
Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 551 (2014) (quoting 28
U.S.C. § 1446(a)). The ...