Carmen Roa v. TS Staffing Services, Inc.

Filing 25

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO REMAND 10 by Judge Otis D. Wright, II. (lc) Modified on 1/22/2015. (lc).

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O 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 United States District Court Central District of California 8 9 10 11 CARMEN ROA, on behalf of herself, and 12 Case No. 2:14-cv-08424-ODW (MRW) all others similarly situated, ORDER DENYING MOTION TO Plaintiff, 13 REMAND [10] v. 14 15 TS STAFFING SERVICES, INC.; T.S. 16 EMPLOYMENT, INC.; and DOES 1 17 through 100, inclusive, Defendants. 18 I. 19 INTRODUCTION 20 On August 5, 2014, Plaintiff Carmen Roa filed a putative class action complaint 21 in California state court against her former employers, Defendants TS Staffing 22 Services, Inc. and T.S. Employment, Inc. (collectively “TS Staffing”). (ECF No. 1.) 23 The Complaint alleges numerous wage and hour violations against TS Staffing, and 24 Roa seeks to represent all similarly situated, non-exempt employees during a four-year 25 period. (Id.) On October 30, 2014, TS Staffing removed the case pursuant to the 26 Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441 (“CAFA”). (Id.) Pending before 27 the Court is Roa’s Motion to Remand. (ECF No. 10.) For the reasons discussed 28 /// 1 below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand.1 (ECF No. 10.) II. 2 LEGAL STANDARD 3 A suit filed in state court may be removed to federal court if the federal court 4 has original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). A defendant seeking to remove a case 5 must file in the district court a notice of removal “containing a short and plain 6 statement of the grounds for removal[.]” Id. § 1446(a). CAFA grants federal courts 7 original jurisdiction over class action cases that meet the following requirements: (1) 8 the proposed class contains more than 100 members; (2) minimal diversity exists 9 between the parties (i.e., at least one plaintiff and one defendant are from different 10 states); (3) the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000,000; and (4) the primary 11 defendants are not states, state officials, or other governmental entities. 12 §§ 1332(d)(2), (5). “Congress designed the terms of CAFA specifically to permit a 13 defendant to remove certain class or mass actions into federal court.” Ibarra v. 14 Manheim Invs., Inc., No. 14-56779, slip op. at *2 (9th Cir. Dec. 8, 2014). The party 15 seeking removal bears the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction. Durham v. 16 Lockheed Martin Corp., 445 F.3d 1247, 1252 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing Gaus v. Miles, 17 Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992)). III. 18 Id. DISCUSSION 19 In its Notice of Removal, TS Staffing alleged that this Court has original 20 jurisdiction over Roa’s eleven-count complaint pursuant to CAFA. (ECF No. 1.) In 21 addition to specifically alleging that each requirement of CAFA is satisfied, TS 22 Staffing included a declaration from Leo Camacho, a TS Staffing regional vice 23 president, to support its Notice of Removal. (Id.) 24 In her Motion to Dismiss, Roa claims that removal was improper under CAFA. 25 (ECF No. 10.) Roa makes only one argument as to why removal is improper: “As 26 Plaintiff objects to the Declaration [of Leo Camacho] on several evidentiary grounds 27 28 1 After carefully considering the papers filed in support of and in opposition to the Motion, the Court deems the matter appropriate for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15. 2 1 and requests that the Court strike most portions of the Declaration, no proper evidence 2 is offered by Defendants for their basis of removal, and jurisdiction under CAFA must 3 be denied.” (Id. at 3.) 4 A recent Supreme Court opinion is directly on point. In Dart Cherokee Basin 5 Operating Co. v. Owens, the high court decided what evidentiary support is necessary 6 to remove a case under CAFA. 135 S. Ct. 547, 551 (2014). The defendant in Dart 7 removed a class action complaint under CAFA, and in doing so alleged, without 8 evidentiary support, that the amount in controversy requirement was satisfied. Id. at 9 551–52. The district court remanded the matter holding that that proof of the amount 10 in controversy was required in the notice of removal itself. Id. at 552. 11 Relying on the parallel language in § 1446(a) and Federal Rule of Civil 12 Procedure 8(a), the Supreme Court reversed, concluding that “when a defendant seeks 13 federal-court adjudication, the defendant’s amount-in-controversy allegation should be 14 accepted when not contested by the plaintiff or questioned by the court.” Id. at 553. 15 The Court explained that when a plaintiff contests an allegation in the notice of 16 removal, “both sides submit proof and the court decides, by a preponderance of the 17 evidence, whether the amount-in-controversy requirement has been satisfied.” Id. at 18 554. Importantly, the Court instructed “that no antiremoval presumption attends cases 19 invoking CAFA[.]” Id. 20 Here, TS Staffing specifically alleged that each element of CAFA is satisfied. 21 The Court must accept these allegations as true unless “contested by the plaintiff or 22 questioned by the court.” Id. at 553. Roa, however, does not contest the allegations 23 themselves, but instead contests TS Staffing’s evidence in support of the allegations. 24 If TS Staffing was not required to submit evidence in support of its allegations, as 25 Dart Cherokee teaches, then Roa’s attack on the evidence is fallacious. In light of the 26 “no antiremoval presumption” from Dart Cherokee, the Court has no reason to sua 27 sponte question TS Staffing’s allegations. Id. at 554. Furthermore, Roa submitted no 28 independent evidence for the Court to consider. While Dart Cherokee focused only 3 1 on the amount-in-controversy requirement, the Court finds that the rationale behind 2 Dart Cherokee applies equally to the other CAFA requirements. The “short and plain 3 statement” language from § 1446(a) applies to the entire notice of removal, and 4 therefore would apply equally to all CAFA allegations and not just the amount-in- 5 controversy requirement. IV. 6 7 8 9 CONCLUSION Because Roa’s only argument is foreclosed by Supreme Court precedent, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand. (ECF No. 10.) IT IS SO ORDERED. 10 11 January 22, 2015 12 13 14 ____________________________________ OTIS D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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