Urbino v. Orkin Servs. of Cal., Inc., 2013 WL 4055615 (9th Cir. 2013)

John Urbino alleged in the form of a claim under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) that Orkin illegally deprived him and other non-exempt employees of meal periods, overtime and vacation wages and accurate itemized wage statements. Defendants removed the action to federal court on the basis of diversity of citizenship between them and Urbino, contending that the violations identified by Urbino would give rise to claims involving 811 other employees who were issued at least 17,182 paychecks and that those claims in the aggregate could result in liability in excess of the jurisdictional minimum of $75,000. The district court found the PAGA claims to be common and undivided and therefore capable of aggregation, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated the lower court’s order, holding that all of the rights at issue in the case are held individually and they can be redressed without the involvement of other employees: “Defendants’ obligation to [the employees] is not ‘as a group,’ but as ‘individuals severally.’ Thus, diversity jurisdiction does not lie because their claims cannot be aggregated.” See also Rodriguez v. AT&T Mobility Servs. LLC, 2013 WL 4516757 (9th Cir. 2013) (lead plaintiff’s waiver of any claim in excess of the $5 million jurisdictional minimum under the Class Action Fairness Act was ineffective in light of Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, 133 S. Ct. 1345 (2013)).