United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The James V. Selna, U.S. District Court Judge
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
Proceedings: [IN CHAMBERS] Order Regarding Motion for
Court, having been informed by the parties in this action
that they submit on the Court's tentative ruling
previously issued, hereby rules in accordance with the
tentative ruling as follows:
Christone Feltzs (“Feltzs”) moved to remand this
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1447(c). Mot., Dkt. No.
10. Defendants Cox Communications Cal., LLC and Cox
Communications, Inc. (“Cox”) opposed. Opp'n,
Dkt. No. 13. Feltzs replied. Reply, Dkt. No. 14.
following reasons, the Court DENIES the
26, 2019, Feltzs filed a Complaint against Cox in Orange
County Superior Court, asserting class claims for relief
arising out of Feltzs' employment. Complaint, Dkt. No.
1-1. The class claims alleged (1) failure to pay wages as a
result of “illegal rounding;” (2) failure to
provide meal periods; (3) failure to pay all wages due at
separation; (4) failure to provide accurate wage statements;
and (5) unfair competition. Id. ¶¶ 47-93.
October 16, 2019, before Cox responded to the Complaint,
Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint to add additional
derivative penalty claims under the California Labor Code
Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”). FAC, Dkt.
No. 1-1, Ex. C. Feltzs asserted his class claims on behalf of
“[a]ll current and former California hourly non-exempt
employees of Defendants for the period of July 25, 2015
through the date of class certification who provided
installation and maintenance services for Defendants as a
Universal Home Technician In-training, Universal Home
Technician (“UHT”), Field Service Technician,
Field Service Representative.” Id. ¶ 41.
The FAC also alleges three sub-classes. Id.
FAC, Feltzs alleges that Cox rounded all UHTs' time
entries in a way that systematically led to shorting
employees for their time worked, which resulted in the UHTs
being under compensated for their wages. Id.
¶¶ 30-33, 57. Further, he alleges that Cox
“consistently” failed to provide second meal
periods to UHTs who worked more than 10 hours per day and
failed to obtain proper waivers that would allow the UHTs to
waive their right to a second meal period. Id. 34,
67, 69. Third, he asserts that, derivative of the first two
claims, UHTs' wage statements were inaccurate in
violation of Labor Code section 226(a). Id. ¶
35. Fourth, he alleges that every UHT whose employment
terminated since July 26, 2016 is entitled to waiting time
penalties as a result of the rounding and second meal period
violations. Id. ¶ 36. Fifth, he recasts the
aforementioned Labor Code violations as unfair competition
under the Unfair Competition Law, which can be used to extend
the statute of limitations on certain Labor Code claims.
Id. ¶¶ 83-87. Finally, Feltzs asserts his
PAGA claim to obtain civil penalties for the alleged Labor
Code violations. Id. ¶ 103.
October 21, 2019, Cox filed its Notice of Removal pursuant to
28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441(a), and 1446. Not., Docket
No. 1. Cox stated that Class Action Fairness Act
(“CAFA”) jurisdiction exists because there is
minimal diversity between the parties, there are 520 putative
class members, and the amount in controversy exceeds $5
million based on timekeeping and payroll records, wage
statements, and attorneys' fees. Id.
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), a defendant may remove a civil
action from state court to federal court so long as original
jurisdiction would lie in the court to which the action is
removed. City of Chicago v. Int'l Coll. of
Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 163 (1997). According to the
Ninth Circuit, courts should generally “strictly
construe the removal statute against removal
jurisdiction.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d
564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). This “‘strong
presumption' against removal jurisdiction means that the
defendant always has the burden of establishing that removal
is proper.” Id. (quoting Nishimoto v.
Federman-Bachrach & Assocs., 903 F.2d 709, 712 n.3
(9th Cir. 1990)).
“no antiremoval presumption attends cases invoking
CAFA, which Congress enacted to facilitate adjudication of
certain class actions in federal court.” Dart
Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S.Ct.
547, 554 (2014). CAFA provides district courts with original
jurisdiction over any class action in which (1) the amount in
controversy exceeds $5, 000, 000, exclusive of interest and
costs, (2) any plaintiff class member is a citizen of a state
different from any defendant, (3) the primary defendants are
not states, state officials, or other government entities
against whom the district court may be foreclosed from
ordering relief, and (4) the number of plaintiffs in the
class is at least 100. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332(d)(2),