Patton v. Schneider Nat. Carriers, Inc., No. CV 09-01010 MMM AJWX, 2009 WL 545779 (C.D. Cal. Mar 03, 2009).

Because the plaintiff merely alleged in the complaint the defendants’ place of domicile and not their principal place of business, the District Court in California expressed doubt if it had CAFA jurisdiction, and accordingly, ordered the plaintiff to show cause why the action should not be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Michael Patton, on behalf of himself and on behalf of other local and regional Dedicated and Intermodal drivers of the defendants, Schneider National Carriers, Inc., and Schneider National, brought a putative class action alleging that the defendants failed to pay them minimum wages, and meal and rest periods in violation of California Labor Code.

Although the case involved alleged violation of state law, the plaintiff directly filed this action in the District Court asserting jurisdiction under CAFA, 28 U.S.C. §1332(d)(2). CAFA vests original jurisdiction in district courts to hear class actions in which the matter in controversy exceeds the sum of $ 5million, the purported class exceeds 100 people, and any member of a class of plaintiffs is a citizen of a State different from any defendant.

The Court noted that although the plaintiff alleged in his complaint the amount in controversy and number of putative class members satisfying CAFA jurisdiction, he had not shown the necessary diversity of citizenship. The plaintiff had not alleged the citizenship of any class member other than himself, which is California.

Regarding the defendants’ citizenship, the plaintiff alleged that Schneider National Carriers, Inc. was a Nevada corporation that was domiciled in California.  The plaintiff also alleged that Schneider National was a business entity of unknown form that was also domiciled in California. The Court remarked that under §1332(c)(1) a corporation shall be deemed to be a citizen of any State by which it has been incorporated and of the State where it has its principal place of business. But the plaintiff had not alleged the principal place of business of either of the defendants.

The Court opined that the plaintiff’s reference to the corporations’ “domiciles,” however, might be an attempt to plead the defendants’ principal places of business.  Because a corporation is a citizen of both its state of incorporation and its principal place of business, the Court opined that the plaintiff had failed to show that at least one defendant was a citizen of a different state than at least one plaintiff as required by §1332(d)(2)(A).

Therefore, expressing doubt as to whether the Court had subject matter jurisdiction to hear the action, it ordered the plaintiff to show cause.