United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO REMAND  AND DENYING
MOTION TO DISMISS AS MOOT 
D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
16, 2019, Plaintiff Ruthie Martin (“Martin”)
filed this putative class action in Los Angeles Superior
Court against Chattem, Inc. (“Chattem”) and
Sanofi, Inc. (“Sanofi”) (collectively,
“Defendants”). (Not. of Removal, Ex. A
(“Compl.”), ECF No. 1-1.) On July 25, 2019,
Chattem removed the action pursuant to the Class Action
Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d) (“CAFA”).
(Notice of Removal (“Removal”) 1, ECF No. 1.)
Martin moved to remand this action for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction (“Motion”). (Mot. to Remand
(“Mot.”), ECF No. 11.) Chattem subsequently filed
a motion to dismiss. (Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 21.) For the
reasons discussed below, the Court finds that Chattem has not
met its evidentiary burden to establish that the amount in
controversy exceeds $5 million. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS
Martin's Motion to Remand and DENIES Chattem's Motion
to Dismiss as moot.
brings this class action against Defendants individually and
on behalf of all others similarly situated (collectively
“putative class”) for pain, burns, and
inflammation from use of the product, “Icy Hot
Applicator.” The putative class consists of “all
citizens of California who purchased the [d]effective
[p]roduct [but not] the Court and its personnel, Defendants
and their employees, and persons who purchased the
[d]effective [p]roduct for resale.” (Compl. ¶ 27.)
Martin is a citizen of California. (Compl. ¶ 11.)
Chattem is incorporated and has its principal place of
business in Tennessee. (Compl. ¶ 12.) Martin alleges
eight causes of action: (1) Consumer Legal Remedies Act
(“CLRA”); (2) False Advertising Law
(“FAL”); (3) Unfair Competition Law
(“UCL”); (4) Breach of Express Warranty; (5)
Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability; (6) Unjust
Enrichment; (7) Strict Products Liability; and (8)
Negligence. (Compl. ¶¶ 33-130.) Martin does not
allege a specific damages amount. (See Compl. at 23.)
removed the action to this Court on July 25, 2019, pursuant
to the CAFA. (Removal 2.) On August 26, 2019, Martin moved to
remand arguing that Chattem's removal relies on
speculative violation rates to calculate the amount in
controversy. (Mot. 1.) Martin contends that, as a result,
Chattem has not established that the amount in controversy is
met and, thus, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
(Mot. 1.) Chattem opposes the Motion and argues that the
amount in controversy is satisfied because Chattem calculated
the alleged violation rates based on reasonable assumptions
derived from the Complaint. (Opp'n to Mot.
(“Opp'n”) 1, ECF No. 14.)
allows for federal jurisdiction over a purported class action
when (1) the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million (2) at
least one putative class member is a citizen of a state
different from any defendant, and (3) the putative class
exceeds 100 members. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332(d)(2), (5).
“[T]he burden of establishing removal jurisdiction
remains . . . on the proponent of federal
jurisdiction.” Abrego Abrego v. Dow Chem. Co.,
443 F.3d 676, 685 (9th Cir. 2006). Generally, removal
statutes are strictly construed against removal jurisdiction.
Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir.
1992). However, “no antiremoval presumption attends
cases invoking CAFA.” Dart Cherokee Basin Operating
Co. v. Owens, 574 U.S. 81, 89 (2014).
defendant's notice of removal need include only a
plausible allegation that the amount in controversy exceeds
the jurisdictional threshold. Id. If the plaintiff
disputes the alleged amount in controversy, “both sides
submit proof and the court decides, by a preponderance of the
evidence, whether the amount-in-controversy requirement has
been satisfied.” Id. at 88. The parties may
submit evidence, “including affidavits or declarations,
or other summary-judgment-type evidence relevant to the
amount in controversy at the time of removal.”
Ibarra v. Manheim Investments, Inc., 775 F.3d 1197
(9th Cir. 2015) (quoting Singer v. State Farm Mut. Auto.
Ins. Co., 116 F.3d 373, 377 (9th Cir. 1997)). “[A]
defendant cannot establish removal jurisdiction by mere
speculation and conjecture, with unreasonable
assumptions.” Ibarra, 775 F.3d at 1197.
asserts that removal is proper because there are more than
100 putative class members, minimal diversity is satisfied,
and the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million. (Removal
3.) Martin does not dispute that the class is over 100
members or that the parties are minimally diverse; instead,
he argues that Chattem has not established the amount in
controversy. (Mot. 3-4.)
contends that the restitution damages alone exceeds $5
million. (Removal 4.) Alternatively, Chattem indicates that
the potential personal injury claims for class members would
exceed $5 million. (Opp'n to Mot. 10-11.) Martin counters
that Chattem has not provided sufficient evidence and relies
on speculation in its amount in controversy calculation. (See
whether the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million is
contingent upon whether Chattem's calculations are
reasonable. See Ibarra, 775 F.3d at 1197 (finding
assumptions of damages “cannot be pulled from thin air
but need some reasonable ground underlying them.”)
Chattem, as the removing party, bears the burden to establish
that its asserted amount in controversy relies on reasonable
assumptions. Id. at 1199. “Where the complaint
contains generalized allegations of illegal behavior, a
removing defendant must supply ‘real evidence'
grounding its ...