United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND RE:
DKT. NO. 13
PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the court is plaintiff Marco Garay's
(“plaintiff”) motion to remand. Dkt.13. The
matter is fully briefed and suitable for decision without
oral argument. Having read the parties' papers and
carefully considered their arguments and the relevant legal
authority, and good cause appearing, the court hereby GRANTS
plaintiff's motion for the following reasons.
October 25, 2018, plaintiff filed his complaint alleging a
putative employment-related class action against defendant
Southwest Airlines Co. (“defendant”) in Alameda
county. Dkt. 1, Ex. A (Compl.). Based on that complaint,
defendant removed plaintiff's action to this court on
December 14, 2018, thereby giving rise to the related case
Garay v. Southwest Airlines Co., 18-cv-07538-PJH
(“Southwest I”). On February 28, 2019,
this court granted plaintiff's first motion to remand.
Southwest I, Dkt. 17.
filed its second notice of removal of plaintiff's action
to this court on August 29, 2019. Dkt. 1. Defendant bases its
subsequent removal on the same complaint and expressly
acknowledges that “no further process, pleadings, or
orders related to this case have been filed in the Superior
Court action or served by any party.” Id.
¶ 9. On September 28, 2019, plaintiff filed the instant
motion to remand challenging defendant's subsequent
notice of removal. Dkt. 13.
complaint, plaintiff alleges six claims on behalf of all
persons employed by defendant in California four years prior
to plaintiff's action. Compl. ¶ 11. Such claims
include the following:
1. Failure to provide meal periods, Compl. ¶¶
2. Failure to provide rest periods, id. ¶¶
3. Failure to pay hourly and overtime wages, id.
4. Failure to provide accurate written wage statements,
id. ¶¶ 93-99;
5. Failure to timely pay all final wages (“waiting time
penalties”), id. ¶¶ 100-110; and
6. Unfair competition (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code
§17200), id. ¶¶ 111-127. In his
complaint, plaintiff does not specify the amount in damages
support of its first removal, defendant asserted federal
jurisdiction under CAFA, as well as Title 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1332(d), 1441(a) and 1446. Southwest I,
Dkt. 1. Plaintiff subsequently moved to remand the action to
Alameda County Superior Court. The parties disputed only
whether defendant satisfied its burden of showing CAFA's
$5 million amount in controversy requirement had been met.
Southwest I, Dkt. 17 (February 28, 2019 Order
Remanding Action) at 2. To do so, defendant relied only on
plaintiff's second through fifth claims. Id.
Defendant ultimately contended that, based on those four
claims (plus attorneys' fees), the amount in controversy
totaled $134 million. Id.
evidentiary support for that contention, defendant offered
only the declaration of Senior Manager of Engagement and
Administration Michelle Inlow (“Inlow”).
Southwest I, Dkt. 1-2. As further shown below, a
description of this declaration is significant. In her
declaration, Inlow provided only the following concerning the
amount in controversy:
• Defendant employed approximately 2, 475 individuals as
hourly, nonexempt employees in California at any given time
in 2014. Such employees had an average hourly rate of $22.12.
Dkt. 1-2 ¶ 4;
• Defendant employed approximately 2, 704 hourly,
nonexempt employees in California at any given time in 2015.
Such employees had an average hourly rate of $21.45.
• Defendant employed approximately 3, 003 hourly,
nonexempt employees in California at any given time in 2016.
Such employees had an average hourly rate of $22.55.
• Defendant employed approximately 3, 254 hourly,
nonexempt employees in California at any given time in 2017.
Such employees had an average hourly rate of $22.29.
• Defendant employed approximately 3, 667 hourly,
nonexempt employees in California at any given time in 2018.
Such employees had an ...