Roth v. CHA Hollywood Medical Center

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 06-27-2013
  • Case #: 13-55771
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Fletcher for the Court; Circuit Judges Trott and Lucero
  • Full Text Opinion

As long as a defendant has not lost its right to remove due to a failure to timely file a notice of removal, 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1) or (b)(3) does not bar a defendant from removal to federal court when it discovers, after its own investigation, that the case is removable.

On May 24, 2012, Amy Roth, with others (collectively, “Plaintiffs”), filed a first amended complaint (“FAC”) in a Los Angeles Superior Court naming CHA Hollywood Medical Center (“CHA”) as a defendant in a state-law wage-and-hour class action. On September 4, 2012, CHA, joined by others (collectively, “Defendants”), filed for removal in the Central District of California. Plaintiffs moved to remand. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(1) and (b)(3), a defendant must remove a case within 30 days after receiving from the plaintiff an initial pleading or some other document showing the case is removable to trigger the 30 day deadlines. Granting the motion to remand, the district court interpreted § 1446(b)(1) and (b)(3) as permitting removal only during the thirty-day periods specified in the subsections. The court acknowledged that Plaintiffs had not provided Defendants documents sufficiently indicating that the case was removable. On appeal, Defendants argued that § 1441(a) provides authorization for removal, while both thirty-day periods in § 1446(b)(1) and (b)(3) solely act as procedural limitations on removal when triggered. The Ninth Circuit held that a defendant may remove to federal court when it discovers that a case is removable, as long as the defendant has not lost its right to remove by failing to timely file a notice of removal. The panel reasoned that a defendant should not be able to seek removal only when it is beneficial, but neither should a plaintiff be able to “prevent or delay removal by failing to reveal information showing removability” and then objecting if the defendant independently discovers such information. The panel, finding that removal was not barred by § 1446(b)(1) or (b)(3), remanded the case for Plaintiffs to have a chance to show that their class action qualifies for the “local controversy exception under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(4)(A).” REVERSED and REMANDED.

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