Van Horn v. General Motors, LLC

Filing 35

ORDER Granting Leave to File Amended Complaint; denying as moot 11 Motion to Dismiss; denying 18 Motion to Remand. Amended Complaint due by 4/17/2024. Signed by Judge P. Casey Pitts on 3/27/2024.(nmc, COURT USER) (Filed on 3/27/2024)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 STACY WINTER VAN HORN, 7 Plaintiff, 8 v. 9 GENERAL MOTORS, LLC, 10 Defendant. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No. 23-cv-04320-PCP ORDER GRANTING LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT AND DENYING MOTION TO REMAND Re: Dkt. Nos. 11, 18 12 Plaintiff Stacy Van Horn purchased an electric Chevrolet Bolt from defendant General 13 14 Motors LLC (GM) in October 2020. In her complaint, she makes identical allegations against GM 15 as plaintiff Corey Ching in Ching v. General Motors LLC, No. 23-cv-04442. GM again moves to 16 dismiss two claims in the complaint for failing to plead fraud with particularity under Federal Rule 17 of Civil Procedure 9(b), and Van Horn requests leave to amend her complaint in response. For the 18 same reasons discussed in Ching, Dkt. No. 33 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2024), the Court grants Van 19 Horn’s request for leave to file an amended complaint, which must be filed within 21 days of this 20 Order.1 The sufficiency of Van Horn’s allegations of fraud will best be addressed after Van Horn 21 has filed an amended complaint. Accordingly, GM’s motion to dismiss is denied as moot without 22 prejudice to its arguments in any subsequent motion to dismiss Van Horn’s amended complaint. Van Horn separately moves to remand the case to state court, arguing that this Court does 23 24 not have subject matter jurisdiction over the lawsuit. “If at any time before final judgment it 25 26 27 28 1 In granting leave to amend, the Court orders Van Horn to address the deficiencies identified by Judge Chhabria in an order dismissing three nearly identical cases against GM in this District. Singh et al. v. General Motors LLC, No. 23-cv-06702, Dkt. No. 24 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 26, 2024); Nieuwboer v. General Motors LLC, No. 24-cv-00137, Dkt. No. 17 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 26, 2024); Jackson v. General Motors LLC, No. 24-cv-00229, Dkt. No. 18 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 26, 2024). 1 appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded.” 28 2 U.S.C. § 1447(c). “The party invoking the removal statute bears the burden of establishing federal 3 jurisdiction.” Ethridge v. Harbor House Restaurant, 861 F.2d 1389, 1393 (9th Cir. 1988). Because 4 this civil action was removed to federal court by defendant GM under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), GM 5 bears the burden of establishing this Court’s subject matter jurisdiction. United States District Court Northern District of California 6 Diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 requires complete diversity, meaning that all 7 persons or associations on one side of the controversy (i.e., all plaintiffs) are citizens of different 8 states from all persons or associations on the other side (i.e., all defendants). Strawbridge v. 9 Curtiss, 7 U.S. 267 (1806). A corporation is a citizen of both the state in which it is incorporated 10 and the state in which it has its principal place of business—the corporation’s “nerve center.” See 11 Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 81 (2010). To establish diversity jurisdiction, the amount in 12 controversy must also exceed $75,000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). 13 The Court has diversity jurisdiction over this case. First, the complete diversity 14 requirement is met because plaintiff Van Horn is a resident of California while defendant GM is 15 incorporated in Delaware and has its principal place of business in Michigan. Second, the amount 16 in controversy exceeds $75,000 because Van Horn is seeking replacement of her vehicle (the retail 17 price of which was $38,371) or restitution (of the $39,254 Van Horn paid for the vehicle including 18 lease payments) as well as a civil penalty under the Song-Beverly Act in an amount equal to twice 19 her damages. The amount in controversy is thus well above $75,000. See Chavez v. JPMorgan 20 Chase & Co., 888 F.3d 413, 418 (9th Cir. 2018) (“[T]he amount in controversy includes all relief 21 claimed at the time of removal to which the plaintiff would be entitled if she prevails.”). Notably, 22 this calculation does not include Van Horn’s requested punitive damages or attorneys’ fees and 23 costs under the Song-Beverly Act. Id. at 416 (“The amount in controversy may include damages 24 (compensatory, punitive, or otherwise) and the cost of complying with an injunction, as well as 25 attorneys’ fees awarded under fee shifting statutes.”); Gibson v. Chrysler Corp., 261 F.3d 927, 945 26 (9th Cir. 2001) (“It is well established that punitive damages are part of the amount in controversy 27 in a civil action.”). 28 2 1 2 3 4 Because the Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the lawsuit, Van Horn’s motion to remand this case to state court is denied. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: March 27, 2024 5 6 P. Casey Pitts United States District Judge 7 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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