United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
TAMMY JOHNSON and VANESSA DETTWILER, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
TRACTOR SUPPLY COMPANY, a Delaware Corporation, Defendant.
ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR REMAND AND
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS TIME-BARRED CLAIMS
J. Bryan, United States District Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion for
Remand (Dkt. 26) and Defendant Tractor Supply Company's
(referred to elsewhere in the record as “TSC”)
Motion to Dismiss Time-barred Claims Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ.
Pr. 12(b)(6) (“Motion to Dismiss Time-barred
Claims”) (Dkt. 16). The Court has considered the
motions and the remaining file. Because Defendant has not
shown that the amount in controversy is over $5, 000, 000,
the Court should remand this case to King County Superior
December 12, 2017, Plaintiffs commenced a prior action with
this Court, Johnson & Dettwiler v. Tractor Supply
Co., No. 17-6039 (“Johnson
I”). Dkt. 1, at 2. “After an unsuccessful
mediation, Plaintiffs sought leave to dismiss that action
voluntarily without prejudice for the declared purpose of
re-filing their state laws claims in Washington state court.
 Leave was granted and the action was dismissed without
prejudice on December 26, 2018.” Dkt. 1, at 2.
January 18, 2019, Plaintiffs commenced the instant action in
King County Superior Court, Johnson, et al. v. Tractor
Supply Co., No. 19-2-01975-1 KNT. Dkt. 1, at 2. On
February 25, 2019, Defendant removed the case from King
County Superior Court. Dkt. 1.
brought this case as a class action for “[a]ll
individuals who have worked in one of Defendant's stores
in Washington in a position Defendant classified as
non-exempt, at any time between December 12, 2014, and the
date of final disposition of this action.” Dkt. 1-2, at
allege that Defendant is “engaging in a systematic
scheme of wage and hour violations.” Dkt. 1-2, at 1.
Plaintiffs assert three claims against Defendant: Violations
of (1) RCW 49.12.020 and WAC 296-126-092 (failure to provide
proper rest and meal periods); (2) RCW 49.46.130 (failure to
pay proper overtime wages); and (3) RCW 49.52.050 (willful
refusal to pay wages). Dkt. 1, at 2-3. These claims are
similar to the state law claims in Johnson I, except
that, in Johnson I, Plaintiffs also claimed that
Defendant miscalculated Plaintiffs' pay under 29 U.S.C.
§ 207. Dkt. 1, at 3.
Notice of Removal, Defendant asserts that
“Plaintiffs' claims as alleged in the Complaint are
removable under [the Class Action Fairness Act, codified as]
28 U.S.C. § 1332(d).” Dkt. 1, at 5. Defendant
argues that removal is appropriate under the Class Action
Fairness Act (“CAFA”), in part, because
“the combined claims of all Class Members exceed $5
million, exclusive of interest and costs.” Dkt. 1, at
complaint does not allege a specific amount in controversy.
See Dkt. 1-2, at 9; see also Dkt. 1, at 6.
Nevertheless, Defendant asserts that, “[b]ased on
Plaintiffs' allegations in the Complaint and other
evidence collected by Defendant, the aggregate value of the
claims of all proposed plaintiff classes exceeds the $5
million threshold needed to establish federal jurisdiction
under [the CAFA].”
calculation of the amount in controversy, Defendant
apparently assumes a 100% violation rate, applies treble
damages, and adds an estimate of Plaintiffs' request for
attorney's fees as 25% of the unpaid wages and penalties
sought. Dkt. 1, at 11-15. In its Notice of Removal,
Defendant's calculation of the amount in controversy
appears as follows:
• $1, 228, 875.73 for failure to provide meal periods;
trebled to $3, 686, 627;
• $627, 498.26 for failure to provide rest periods;
trebled to $1, 882, 494.78; and
• $1, 392, 280.49 for attorney's
• Total: $6, 961, 402.27 ($5,
569, 121.97 (unpaid wages and penalties) $1, 392.280.49
Dkt. 1, at 11-15.
March 27, 2019, Plaintiffs filed the instant Motion for
Remand. Dkt. 26. Plaintiffs argue:
TSC's amount in controversy calculation depends on three
(1) TSC used a 100% violation rate for meal and rest breaks.
TSC's own timekeeping data show the meal break violation
rate for Class members during the Class period was only about
(2) TSC assumed Plaintiffs and the Class could obtain treble
wage damages if they prevailed even though Washington law
legally entitles them to recover at most only double their
lost wages; and
(3) TSC added a 25% attorneys' fee on top of the
Class's potential recovery despite the well-established
law that common fund percentage fees come out of the
The true amount in controversy here is far less than $5