United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable STEPHEN V. WILSON, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND AND DENYING
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE , 
August 15, 2019, Plaintiff Adrianna Martinez
(“Plaintiff”) filed this lawsuit in California
state court against FCA U.S. LLC (“FCA”). Dkt.
1-2. Plaintiff alleged numerous violations of
California's Song-Beverly Act (as well as a breach of the
implied warranty of merchantability) regarding a 2018 Dodge
Durango leased by Plaintiff on Aug. 25, 2018. Id. On
September 18, 2019 FCA filed a Notice of Removal with this
Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, asserting that
the parties are completely diverse, and that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. Dkt. 1. FCA then filed an
Answer on Sept. 25, 2019. Dkt. 11.
October 4, 2019 Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint
(“FAC”), which added a second defendant, Champion
Dodge, LLC (“Dealership”), who is alleged to be
an auto dealership operating in California. Dkt. 14 at 3.
Plaintiff includes a breach of the implied warranty of
merchantability against the Dealership. Id.
Plaintiff then moved to remand the case to state court,
arguing that complete diversity no longer exists. Dkt. 19.
FCA has filed a motion to strike, asserting that the
Dealership should be stricken from Plaintiff's First
Amended Complaint. Dkt. 22. For the reasons articulated
below, Plaintiff's motion to remand is GRANTED and
Defendant's motion to strike is DENIED.
Plaintiff's Motion to Remand to State
motion to remand this case asserts that because the
Dealership has been added to this action as a defendant and
is domiciled in California (like Plaintiff), complete
diversity under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) no longer exists,
depriving this Court of jurisdiction and requiring remand.
Dkt. 19-1 at 1. Plaintiff also asserts that her FAC was
properly filed because pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(B),
the FAC was filed within 21 days of service of a responsive
pleading (FCA's Answer here) by filing it Oct. 4, 2019
following FCA's Answer filed on Sept. 25, 2019. Dkt. 28
opposes Plaintiff's motion to remand, and argues that
because adding the Dealership as a non-diverse defendant
would destroy diversity jurisdiction, the appropriate
standard to evaluate Plaintiff's motion under is instead
28 U.S.C. § 1447(e), which provides that after an action
is removed, amd “the plaintiff seeks to join additional
defendants whose joinder would destroy subject matter
jurisdiction, the court may deny joinder, or permit joinder
and remand the action to the State court.” Dkt. 26 at
4. FCA then argues that Plaintiff's FAC included the
Dealership as a defendant solely to defeat diversity
jurisdiction, and that under the relevant legal standard for
considering joinder of non-diverse parties (the
Murphy factors commonly applied in the Central
District of California), joinder of the Dealership should be
denied along with the motion to remand. Id. at 4-7.
In response, Plaintiff argues that the Murphy
factors favor permitting joinder of the Dealership (and
remand to state court), and that prior to additional
investigation undertaken following the filing of this lawsuit
in preparation for initial disclosures, Plaintiff did not
realize that an implied warranty claim against the Dealership
was also warranted by the facts of the case. Dkt. 28 at 4.
Court agrees with the substantial weight of district court
opinions in the Ninth Circuit choosing to analyze joinder or
amendment of claims to add a non-diverse defendant under
§ 1447(e) as opposed to Rule 15(a)(1)'s amendment
as-of-right standard. See Marroquin v. Target Corp.,
2019 WL 2005793, at *4-5 (C.D. Cal. May 7, 2019) (collecting
cases); McGrath v. Home Depot USA, Inc., 298 F.R.D.
601, 606 (S.D. Cal. 2014). This approach is appropriate
because it permits courts to determine whether any amendment
“as of right” to add non-diverse defendants is
intended to destroy diversity jurisdiction or otherwise
thwart federal jurisdiction and allows courts to consider the
full context of the attempted joinder of a non-diverse
defendant. See Marroquin, 2019 WL 2005793, at *5.
the Court chooses to construe this motion to remand as a
motion for leave to amend subject to consideration of the
Murphy factors under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(e).
Murphy v. Am. Gen. Life Ins. Co., 74 F.Supp.3d 1267,
1278 (C.D. Cal. 2015). These factors include:
1. Whether the party sought to be joined is needed for just
adjudication and would be joined under Fed.R.Civ.P. 19(a)
2. Whether the statute of limitations would prevent the
filing of a new action against the new defendant should the
court deny joinder;
3. Whether there has been unexplained delay in seeking the
4. Whether the joinder is solely for the purpose of defeating