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Ehrman v. Cox Communications, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

August 8, 2019

David Ehrman, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Cox Communications, Inc.; Coxcom, LLC; Cox Communications California, LLC, and Does, 1 through 25, inclusive, Defendants-Appellants.

          Argued and Submitted July 11, 2019 Pasadena, California

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California D.C. No. 8:18-cv-01125-JVS-DFM James V. Selna, District Judge, Presiding

          Katherine Tracy Van Dusen (argued), Richard R. Patch, Scott C. Hall, and Philip D.W. Miller, Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP, San Francisco, California, for Defendants-Appellants.

          Jamin S. Soderstrom (argued), Soderstrom Law PC, Irvine, California, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Before: MILAN D. SMITH, JR. and MICHELLE T. FRIEDLAND, Circuit Judges, and MICHAEL H. SIMON, [*] District Judge.

         SUMMARY [**]

         Removal / Class Action Fairness Act

         The panel reversed the district court's order remanding to state court an action that was removed to federal court by the defendants pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act ("CAFA").

         In seeking to remand, plaintiff argued that the defendants had failed to adequately plead the existence of minimal diversity in their removal motion.

         The panel held that defendants' jurisdictional allegations, which provided a short and plain statement of the parties' citizenship based on information and belief, satisfied the defendants' burden of pleading minimal diversity. The panel further held that the district court misconstrued CAFA's pleading requirements by holding that defendants' jurisdictional allegations fell short, and by requiring defendants to support those allegations with evidence in response to only a facial - not a factual or as-applied - challenge.

          OPINION

          M. SMITH, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         When a defendant removes a case to federal court pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d), how much evidence of the parties' citizenships must it provide? If the defendant's citizenship allegations are unchallenged factually, the answer is none. In such cases, all a removing party must do is provide a short and plain statement of the grounds for removal. Because Defendants Cox Communications' (and related entities') notice of removal did just that, and because Plaintiff David Ehrman did not factually attack Cox's jurisdictional allegations, we reverse the district court's grant of Ehrman's motion to remand.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Ehrman filed a class action complaint against Cox in Orange County Superior Court, alleging that Cox had engaged in unlawful business practices related to the advertisement and sale of residential internet services. Ehrman brought the case on behalf of himself and "all consumers in California who paid for [Cox's] ...


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