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Yocupicio v. PAE Group, LLC

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

July 30, 2015

PORFIRIA YOCUPICIO, and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
PAE GROUP, LLC; ARCH RESOURCES GROUP LLC, Defendants-Appellees

Argued and Submitted, July 6, 2015,  Pasadena, California

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:14-cv-08958-GW-JEM. George H. Wu, District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY [**]

Class Action / Jurisdiction

The panel reversed the district court's denial of a plaintiff's motion to remand the action to state court after the case had been removed to federal court pursuant to the provisions of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, and remanded with instructions to remand the matter to the state court.

The panel held that where a plaintiff files an action containing class claims as well as non-class claims, and the class claims do not meet the CAFA amount-in-controversy requirement while the non-class claims, standing alone, do not meet diversity of citizenship jurisdiction requirements, the amount involved in the non-class claims cannot be used to satisfy the CAFA jurisdictional amount, and the CAFA diversity provisions cannot be invoked to give the district court jurisdiction over the non-class claims.

Thomas Stephen Campbell and Justin F. Marquez (argued), Rastegar Law Group, APC, Torrance, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Michael E. Chase (argued) and Bruce Michael Timm, Boutin Jones Inc., Sacramento, California, for Defendants-Appellees.

Before: Ferdinand F. Fernandez and Richard R. Clifton, Circuit Judges, and Kimberly J. Mueller,[*] District Judge

OPINION

FERNANDEZ, Circuit Judge

Porfiria Yocupicio appeals the district court's denial of her motion to remand this matter to the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles (" Superior Court" ) after PAE Group, LLC, and Arch Resources Group, LLC (collectively, " Arch" ) removed[1] it pursuant to the provisions of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-2, 119 Stat. 4 (codified in scattered sections of 28 U.S.C.) (" CAFA" ). The district court determined that it had diversity jurisdiction over the action because it was a class action that came within the CAFA provisions. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d).[2] We reverse and remand.

BACKGROUND

Yocupicio filed this action against Arch in the Superior Court based upon allegations of numerous violations by Arch of the California Labor Code. See, e.g., Cal. Lab. Code § § 201 (timely pay), 226.7 (meal and rest periods), 512 (meal periods), 1194 (minimum wages). The complaint alleged ten causes of action, the first nine of which were brought as class claims on behalf of Yocupicio and " certain current and former employees" of Arch. The tenth cause of action, however, was not brought as a class claim; it was brought as a representative claim under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA). Cal. Lab. Code § § 2698-2699.5. Based on the record, and on the presentations by the parties, we will assume for purposes of this opinion that, not including attorney's fees, the amount sought pursuant to the class claims was $1,654,874 and the amount sought pursuant to the PAGA claim was $3,247,950. We note that those amounts add up to $4,902,824, but, while the parties dispute the district court's estimate of the reasonable amount of attorney's fees sought, we will assume, without deciding, that addition of reasonable attorney's fees would cause the total recovery for the class claims and the PAGA claim to reach $5,000,001 at least.[3] We will proceed on that basis.[4]

After the district court denied Yocupicio's motion, she petitioned for permission to appeal pursuant to ยง ...


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