Becerra et al v. RadioShack Corp.

Filing 27

ORDER by Judge Hamilton Denying 16 Motion to Remand; Denying in part and Granting in part 8 Motion to Dismiss; Denying Motion to Strike (pjhlc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/7/2011)

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 6 7 MARCUS BECERRA, et al., Plaintiff(s), 8 9 v. ORDER DENYING MOTION TO REMAND; DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART MOTION TO DISMISS; DENYING MOTION TO STRIKE 10 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court No. C 11-3586 PJH RADIOSHACK CORP., 12 Defendant(s). _______________________________/ 13 14 Plaintiffs’ motion to remand and defendant’s motion to dismiss and to strike came on 15 for hearing on December 7, 2011. Plaintiffs appeared through counsel Robert Spencer and 16 defendant appeared through counsel Jim McNeil. Having read the parties’ papers and 17 considered their arguments made at the hearing and the relevant legal authority, the court 18 hereby DENIES plaintiffs’ motion to remand and DENIES in part and GRANTS in part 19 defendant’s motion to dismiss and to strike, for the reasons stated at the hearing and 20 summarized as follows. 21 1. Plaintiffs’ motion to remand, premised on their argument that the state of 22 California is the real party in interest because at least 75% of the penalties they seek for 23 two of their four causes of action will inure to the benefit of California’s Labor & Workforce 24 Development Agency, must be and is DENIED. Plaintiffs’ argument is foreclosed by the 25 decision in Dep’t of Fair Employment & Housing v. Lucent Techs., 642 F.3d 728 (9th Cir. 26 2011), which held that the relief sought is that which inures to the state alone. Given that 27 individuals acting as private attorneys general act on their own behalf and on behalf of 28 other employees and given that they will receive 25% of the civil penalties, coupled with the 1 fact that the other two causes of action do not implicate state interests at all, the court finds 2 that the relief sought by plaintiffs will not inure to the state alone and consequently the state 3 is not the real party in interest and diversity jurisdiction remains a valid basis for diversity 4 jurisdiction. 5 2. Defendant’s motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim is 6 DENIED. The court finds the allegations of the complaint sufficient to put defendant on 7 notice as to the claims and contains more than the simple formulaic elements of the claims. 8 9 3. With regard to defendant’s motion to strike, most of defendant’s objections go to the adequacy of the class allegations and plaintiffs’ ability to satisfy the requirements of 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a), arguments which the court believes are better addressed in an 12 opposition to a motion for class certification. However, the court agrees with defendant that 13 plaintiffs have defined the class with reference to one of the ultimate liability issues such 14 that it would be impossible to ascertain class members until the liability issue is tried and 15 resolved. Because the court finds that a motion to strike is not the appropriate vehicle for 16 making this argument, See Whittlestone, Inc. v. Handi-Craft Co., 618 F.3d 970, 973 (9th 17 Cir. 2010), and because the parties have fully addressed this issue, the court construes the 18 motion as one brought under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b) and GRANTS the motion to dismiss the 19 complaint with respect to the class definition. Because this defect can be easily cured, 20 leave to amend is granted. 21 The amended complaint, amending only the class definition, shall be filed no later 22 than 14 days from the date of the hearing and the response shall be filed no later than 21 23 days thereafter. 24 25 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: December 7, 2011 ______________________________ PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON United States District Judge 26 27 28 2

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