DeGuzman et al v. Crane Co. et al

Filing 130

ORDER by Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton denying 88 Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand. (pjhlc2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/31/2017)

Download PDF
1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 JAIME DEGUZMAN, et al., 5 6 7 Case No. 17-cv-02228-PJH Plaintiffs, 4 v. ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO REMAND CRANE CO., et al., Re: Dkt. No. 88 Defendants. 8 9 Plaintiffs’ motion to remand came on for hearing before this court on May 31, 2017. Plaintiffs appeared through their counsel, Mahzad Hite. Defendant Crane Co. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 (“Crane”) appeared through its counsel, Matthew G. Ball. The appearances of other 12 defendants are noted in the court’s minute order. See Dkt. 128. Having read the papers 13 filed by the parties and carefully considered their arguments and the relevant legal 14 authority, and good cause appearing, the court hereby DENIES the motion to remand, for 15 the reasons stated on the record at the hearing. 16 A civil action that “is against or directed to . . . any [United States] officer (or any 17 person acting under that officer) . . . for or relating to any act under color of such office” is 18 removable to federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1). A party seeking removal under the 19 federal officer removal statute must demonstrate that “[1] it is a ‘person’ within the 20 meaning of the statute; [2] there is a causal nexus between its actions, taken pursuant to 21 a federal officer’s directions, and plaintiff’s claims; and [3] it can assert a ‘colorable’ 22 federal defense.” Durham v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 445 F.3d 1247, 1251 (9th Cir. 2006) 23 (citations omitted); see also Leite v. Crane Co., 749 F.3d 1117, 1122–24 (9th Cir. 2014). 24 To establish the third element, Crane relies on the government contractor defense, 25 which applies if “(1) the United States approved reasonably precise specifications; (2) the 26 equipment conformed to those specifications; and (3) the supplier warned the United 27 States about the dangers in the use of the equipment that were known to the supplier but 28 not to the United States.” Boyle v. United Techs. Corp., 487 U.S. 500, 512 (1988). 1 There is no dispute that Crane is a “person” under the removal statute. See Fung 2 v. Abex Corp., 816 F. Supp. 569, 572 (N.D. Cal. 1992). The notice of removal alleges a 3 causal nexus between plaintiffs’ claims and the actions allegedly taken at the behest of a 4 federal officer. See Notice of Removal ¶¶ 9–14. Specifically, Crane submits a number of 5 declarations averring that it acted under the direction of the Navy in the design and 6 manufacture of the allegedly-defective valves, which the Navy supervised by mandating 7 conformity with detailed specifications, which required asbestos. 8 Thus, as plaintiffs conceded at the hearing, Crane has a colorable federal defense to plaintiffs’ design defect claim. “It is well settled that if one claim cognizable under 10 Section 1442 is present, the entire action is removed, regardless of the relationship 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 9 between the Section 1442 claim and the non-removable claims.” Nat’l Audubon Soc. v. 12 Dep’t of Water & Power of City of Los Angeles, 496 F. Supp. 499, 509 (E.D. Cal. 1980) 13 (citing Murphy v. Kodz, 351 F.2d 163 (9th Cir. 1965)). Thus, removal of the entire case 14 was proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1). 15 Plaintiffs’ representation, made for the first time in its reply brief, that “Plaintiffs will 16 waive their design-defect claims against Crane so that this case can be remanded” does 17 not change the analysis. See Reply at 8. The design defect theory against Crane is 18 pleaded in the complaint, and Crane has asserted a colorable federal defense to that 19 claim to support removal. If plaintiffs choose to amend their complaint and/or stipulate to 20 dismissal of claims against Crane, the court will reconsider the possibility of remand upon 21 plaintiffs’ motion. However, as a general matter, “jurisdiction must be analyzed on the 22 basis of the pleadings filed at the time of removal without reference to subsequent 23 amendments.” Sparta Surgical Corp. v. Nat’l Ass’n of Sec. Dealers, Inc., 159 F.3d 1209, 24 1213 (9th Cir. 1998). 25 26 27 28 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: May 31, 2017 __________________________________ PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON United States District Judge 2

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?