Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial & Service Workers International Union, AFL-CIO, CLC v. Concophillips, No. CV 08-2068PSG(FFMx), 2009 WL 1652975 (C.D. Cal. June 11, 2009).

Never underestimate the allure of the lunch lady. USW union workers filed a class action lawsuit alleging that the defendant skimped on lunch periods in violation of California law. The defendants tried removal based on CAFA, but CAFA stole their lunch money and ran. 

On motion for remand, the hungry plaintiffs argued that CAFA jurisdiction failed because the Court had denied their class certification. Further, the amount in controversy requirement was not satisfied and the case did not involve 100 class members. 

Setting out the CAFA jurisdiction standard, the Court explained that there was no “reasonably foreseeable possibility” that the plaintiffs’ class would be certified since they had already made two unsuccessful attempts at certification. The Court explained, “ a determination that class certification is not a ‘reasonably foreseeable possibility’ is not a post-removal change in jurisdictional facts, but rather equivalent to finding that jurisdiction never existed under CAFA in the first place.” 

Next, the defendant, perhaps on an empty stomach, tried removal based on supplemental and diversity jurisdiction. The defendant argued that the Court could exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state claims even if the federal claims having original jurisdiction had been dismissed. The defendant’s argument, however, failed since there were never any federal claims asserted in the lawsuit.

Finally, the defendant argued that complete diversity existed. The Court denied this argument since, for diversity purposes, the citizenship of a union is the citizenship of all of its members. Removal failed and longer lunches prevailed.