Cervantes v. RGW Construction, Inc.

Filing 27

ORDER Granting 23 Motion to Remand. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 01/09/17. (tehlc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/9/2017)

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1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 4 ARTURO CERVANTES, Plaintiff, 5 6 7 8 v. RGW CONSTRUCTION, INC., Case No. 16-cv-05460-TEH ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR REMAND Defendant. 9 10 This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff’s motion to remand. Pursuant to United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and now VACATES 12 the January 23, 2017 hearing. After carefully considering the parties’ written arguments, 13 Plaintiff’s motion to remand is GRANTED for the reasons discussed below. 14 15 16 BACKGROUND On August 10, 2016, Plaintiff Arturo Cervantes commenced a civil action against 17 his former employer, RGW Construction Inc., in Alameda County Superior Court. He 18 brought five causes of action under state law on behalf of himself and other similarly 19 situated individuals. On September 23, 2016, Defendant timely removed the case to this 20 Court because Plaintiff’s claims involved interpretation of a collective bargaining 21 agreement and thus implicated questions of federal law under the Labor Management 22 Relations Act (“LMRA”). 23 In response to Defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint, Plaintiff agreed to 24 dismiss four out of five claims, submitting them instead to a grievance procedure outlined 25 in the collective bargaining agreement. The only remaining claim is Plaintiff’s Third Cause 26 of Action, in which Plaintiff alleges that wage statements issued by Defendant failed to 27 include a “start date for the applicable pay period” in violation of California Labor Code 28 1 Section 226(a). Opp’n at 2. Shortly after an initial Case Management Conference held 2 before this Court on December 12, 2016, Plaintiff filed the present motion for remand. 3 4 DISCUSSION 5 Upon removal of a case to federal court, a district court has discretion to remand a 6 case once federal claims are eliminated. Acri v. Varian Assocs., Inc., 114 F.3d 999, 1000 7 (9th Cir. 1997). In determining whether to remand, “the balance of factors to be 8 considered” are “judicial economy, convenience, fairness and comity.” Carnegie-Mellon 9 Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 357 (1988). A court may also consider “whether the plaintiff has engaged in any manipulative tactics” in order to inappropriately secure a particular 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 forum. Id. The Supreme Court has noted that when all federal claims are eliminated early 12 on, a district court has “a powerful reason to choose not to continue to exercise 13 jurisdiction.” Id. at 350-51. 14 Defendant is correct that remand is not mandatory. Remand, however, “is generally 15 preferable” when, as here, the sole remaining claim is a state law claim. Harrell v. 20th 16 Century Ins. Co., 934 F.2d 203, 205 (9th Cir. 1991). This is especially true when the 17 “federal-law claims have dropped out of the lawsuit in its early stages.” Carnegie-Mellon 18 Univ., 484 U.S. at 350 (citing Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726-27 (1966)). 19 Plaintiff agreed to dismiss the four claims that implicated federal law less than a month 20 after the case was removed to federal court. There has been an initial Case Management 21 Conference held but the parties have yet not begun discovery or engaged in the Alternative 22 Dispute Resolution process. Given that remand is sought early in the proceedings, 23 Defendant fails to convince this Court that it should retain jurisdiction over the sole 24 remaining state law claim. 25 The balance of the factors of judicial economy, convenience, fairness and comity 26 further tips the scale in favor of remand. The Court has yet to delve into the merits of 27 Plaintiff’s complaint; thus, there would be no duplication of efforts or resulting waste of 28 judicial resources in remanding this action back to state court. Although Defendant lists 2 1 fairness as a factor opposing remand, Defendant does not explain its reasoning and the 2 Court is unpersuaded. As neither the Alameda Superior Court nor this Court appear more 3 convenient to the parties, the Court finds the convenience factor neutral. Lastly, comity 4 weighs in favor of remand since the sole remaining claim arises under state law. 5 Defendant’s primary argument against remand is that Plaintiff acted manipulatively when he sought to compel remand by dismissing the federal question claims. The Court 7 finds nothing manipulative about responding to a motion to dismiss by dismissing claims 8 that fall within the purview of the collective bargaining agreement and should thus be 9 addressed through the agreement’s grievance procedure. There is no evidence here that 10 Plaintiff’s actions constitute an effort at manipulative forum shopping. It is simply more 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 6 appropriate for the state court to resolve Plaintiff’s remaining claim. 12 13 14 CONCLUSION With good cause appearing, the Court exercises its discretion and GRANTS 15 Plaintiff’s motion to remand. This matter is hereby remanded to the Superior Court of 16 California for the County of Alameda. The Clerk shall close the file. 17 18 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. 20 21 22 Dated: 01/09/17 _____________________________________ THELTON E. HENDERSON United States District Judge 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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