Salter v. Quality Carriers, Inc., 2020 WL 5361459 (9th Cir. 2020)

Clayton Salter, a truck driver, filed this putative class action against his employer, Quality Carriers and Quality Distribution, alleging that he and the other class members had been misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees. Quality removed the action to federal court, asserting the amount in controversy exceeded $5 million as required by the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). The district court granted Salter’s motion to remand on the ground that the declaration Quality submitted from its Chief Information Officer was insufficient to establish that the amount in controversy exceeded $5 million. The Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that the district court erred in treating Salter’s attack on Quality’s evidentiary presentation as a “factual, rather than facial, challenge” and that “Quality only needed to include a plausible allegation that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional threshold.” Compare Canela v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 2020 WL 4920949 (9th Cir. 2020) (named plaintiff’s pro-rata share of civil penalties from putative class action did not meet the $75,000 amount-in-controversy diversity jurisdiction threshold; district court also lacked subject matter jurisdiction over PAGA action).