According to a Wednesday opposition, a plaintiff employee’s attempt to return their case to California state court is merely a “frivolous” attempt to avoid dismissal. The former Micron Technology Inc. employee’s suit asserts that the company failed to reimburse him and other workers for internet and phone service expenses incurred while working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Micron’s motion to dismiss emphasized that the plaintiff used the pandemic and corresponding government-issued stay-at-home orders as the basis for his California labor law claims. As such, Micron defended that the plaintiff failed to state a claim for reimbursement of expenses incurred on his own behalf because “(1) home internet expenses incurred to comply with government mandates are not required to be reimbursed under Section 2802; and (2) Micron did not directly cause Plaintiff to incur the internet expenses for which he seeks reimbursement.”
Now, the Silicon Valley company argues that it properly removed the case to federal court on the bases of both diversity jurisdiction and under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). According to the plaintiff, remand is required because Micron improperly included California Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) penalties to meet the amount-in-controversy requirements of diversity jurisdiction and CAFA.
The opposition calls the motion for remand “fatally flawed,” contending that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 even without the PAGA penalties. Micron asserts that the plaintiff never questioned Micron’s grounds for removal. In addition, the company claims that “it is beyond dispute that any reasonable estimate of attorneys’ fees to be incurred by Plaintiff litigating his individual claim for reimbursement of home internet expenses will far exceed $75,000.”
Micron adds that though the court need not reach the question, it properly included the class PAGA penalties to satisfy the amount in controversy under CAFA. “[W]here a PAGA claim is brought on a class basis (as is the case here), PAGA penalties are appropriately included in establishing the amount in controversy,” the filing says.