United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
L. ROBART United States District Judge
the court is Defendants Roger M. Daley and Barbara
Daley's (collectively, "the Daleys") motion for
reconsideration of the court's November 30, 2017, order
remanding this matter to state court. (Mot. (Dkt. # 44).)
Plaintiff Deana Pattison opposes this motion. (Resp. (Dkt. #
46).) The court has considered the motion, the relevant
portions of the record, and the applicable law. Being fully
advised,  the court GRANTS the motion for the
reasons set forth below.
BACKGROUND & ANALYSIS
Daleys request that the court address the matter of
jurisdiction pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act
("CAFA"), 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). (Mot. at 1.)
Specifically, the Daleys contend that, even if complete
diversity is lacking pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a),
the court nonetheless has jurisdiction over this action
pursuant to CAFA. (Id. at 1-2.) The court now
addresses this issue and concludes that the Daleys
sufficiently established the elements of CAFA jurisdiction.
provides expanded original diversity jurisdiction for class
actions meeting the amount in controversy and minimal
diversity and numerosity requirements set forth in 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(d)(2)." United Steel, Paper &
Forestry, Rubber, Mfg., Energy, Allied Indus. & Serv.
Workers Int7 Union, AFI-CIO, CLCv. Shell Oil
Co., 602 F.3d 1087, 1090-91 (9th Cir. 2010); see
Ibarra v. Manheim Invs., Inc., 775 F.3d 1193, 1195 (9th
Cir. 2015). Thus, under CAFA, district courts have original
jurisdiction of a class action "if the class has more
than 100 members, the parties are minimally diverse, and the
amount in controversy exceeds $5 million." Dart
Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LIC v. Owens, ___ U.S.
___, 135 S.Ct. 547, 552 (2014). Only the amount in
controversy is at issue here. (See generally Resp.)
Daleys claim that more than $5, 000, 000 is at issue, arguing
that the various relief sought by Ms. Pattison independently
meets the amount-in-controversy requirement. (Am. Not. of
Removal (Dkt. # 19) ¶ 10; MTA Reply (Dkt. # 38) at 5.)
For instance, the Daleys state that the damages claim meets
the amount-in-controversy requirement because Omnitrition
International Inc.'s ("Omnitrition")
"sales of Omni Drops in Washington during the alleged
class period exceeded $5, 000, 000." (Am. Not. of
Removal ¶ 10.) They additionally claim that the
injunctive relief is sufficient because "Omnitrition
would lose more than $5, 000, 000 of projected revenue in
just the coming year" if Omni Drops were removed from
the marketplace. (Id.) And lastly, the Daleys argue
that the equitable monetary relief sought by Ms. Pattison
puts more than $5, 000, 000 in controversy because "over
$5, 000, 000 of Omnitrition's revenue is attributable to
its sales of Omni Drops." (Id.)
Daleys bear the burden of showing by a preponderance of the
evidence that the aggregate amount-in-controversy exceeds $5,
000, 000. See Ibarra, 775 F.3d at 1197. When the
amount claimed by the defendant is contested by the
plaintiffs, the defendant must provide evidence establisliing
the amount required. See Id. (placing burden on
defendant "to put forward evidence showing that the
amount in controversy exceeds $5 million .. . and to persuade
the court that the estimate of damages in controversy is a
reasonable one"). A defendant "cannot establish
removal jurisdiction by mere speculation and conjecture, with
unreasonable assumptions." Id.
Lewis v. Verizon Communications, Inc., the Ninth
Circuit considered whether the amount in controversy was
satisfied in a case where the putative class sought to
recover the value of unauthorized charges. 627 F.3d 395, 399
(9th Cir. 2010). The defendant put in evidence through a
declaration that the total charges for the relevant time
period exceeded $5, 000, 000, and the Ninth Circuit concluded
that such evidence was sufficient. Id. at 399-400.
Because the plaintiff sought "recovery from a pot that
[the defendant] has shown could exceed $5 million and the
[plaintiff] has neither acknowledged nor sought to establish
that the class recovery is potentially any less, " the
jurisdictional amount was satisfied. Id. at 401.
Ms. Pattison neither acknowledges nor seeks to establish that
class recovery is potentially any less than $5, 000, 000.
(See generally Resp.) Instead, Ms. Pattison claims
that "[the Daleys] have provided no evidence
whatsoever" establishing the amount-in-controversy.
(See Id. at 2.) The court disagrees. Like the
defendant in lewis, the Daleys offer the sworn
declaration of an Omnitrition employee who would have
personal knowledge of the company's sales: Cindy Jordan,
the Vice President of Operations for Omnitrition. (2d Jordan
Decl. (Dkt. # 22) ¶ 1.) As Vice President of Operations,
Ms. Jordan is responsible for "tracking
Omnitrition's product sales" and has "access to
Omnitrition's business records concerning its product
sales and product sales made by distributors."
(Id. ¶ 2.) Ms. Jordan testifies that:
For the period of March 2012 through July 2017,
Omnitrition's sales of Omni Drops to customers in
Washington exceeded $5, 000, 000, and over $5, 000, 000 of
Omnitrition's revenue is attributable to it [sic] sale of
Omni Drops over the same period .... [R]emoving Omni Drops
from the market place would cause Omnitrition to ... lose
more than $5, 000, 000 in expected revenue in the coming
year, based on its average monthly revenues from the sale of
Omni Drops historically.
(Id. ¶¶ 4-5.) The court concludes that Ms.
Jordan's statements, based upon her personal knowledge
and Omnitrition's business records, constitute sufficient
factual evidence to establish the required
amount-in-controversy by a preponderance of the evidence.
Pattison attacks Ms. Jordan's statements as
"unsupported and speculative, " and focuses on the
fact that Ms. Jordan's estimation "started at $1,
000, 000, and suddenly ballooned to $5, 000, 000."
(Resp. at 3; see MTR Reply (Dkt. # 37) at 5; MTA
Resp. (Dkt. # 31) at 12.) In short, Ms. Pattison questions
Ms. Jordan's credibility. It is true that in her first
declaration, Ms. Jordan stated that Omnitrition's sales
in Washington exceeded $1, 000, 000. (See 1st Jordan
Decl. (Dkt. # 6) ¶ 3.) But Ms. Jordan's second
declaration-which states that the relevant sales exceeded $5,
000, 000-does not contradict her first; sales exceeding $5,
000, 000 also exceed $1, 000, 000. Moreover, while Ms. Jordan
could have attached underlying documentation to support her
statements, she was not ...