Baumann v. Chase Inv. Servs., 2014 WL 983587 (9th Cir. 2014)

Joseph Baumann sued his employer, Chase Investment Services Corporation, under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”), alleging claims for unpaid overtime, meal breaks and rest periods and timely expense reimbursements. Baumann further alleged his potential share of any recovery and attorney’s fees would be less than $75,000. Chase removed the action under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) and by invoking diversity jurisdiction, claiming the amount in controversy exceeded $75,000. The district court denied Baumann’s motion to remand, but the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that a PAGA claim is not a “class action” within the meaning of CAFA. The Court further held that PAGA claims cannot be aggregated in determining the amount in controversy for purposes of establishing diversity jurisdiction (citing Urbino v. Orkin Servs. of Cal., Inc., 726 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2013)). See also Leite v. Crane Co., 2014 WL 1646924 (9th Cir. 2014) (employer established it had a colorable federal defense sufficient to defeat plaintiffs’ motion to remand action to state court).