United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
BERNARD WAITHAKA, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
AMAZON.COM, INC. and AMAZON LOGISTICS, INC., Defendants.
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
REMAND (DOCKET NO. 13)
TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN DISTRICT JUDGE
Waithaka (“Plaintiff”), commenced this class
action lawsuit against Amazon.com Inc., and Amazon Logistics
Inc. (“Defendants”) alleging improper
classification as independent contractors and violations of
state wage laws. On September 7, 2018, Defendants removed the
action to this Court for the second time. Subsequently,
Plaintiff filed this motion to remand the action back to
state court. (Docket No. 13). For the reasons stated below,
Plaintiff's motion is denied.
August 28, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in Worcester
Superior Court against Defendants alleging that Defendants
misclassified class members as independent contractors in
violation of the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law,
Mass. Gen. L. c. 149 § 150, (Count I), that Defendants
required class members to bear business expenses necessary to
perform their work in violation of the Wage Act, Mass. Gen.
L. c. 149 § 148, (Count II), and that Defendants failed
to ensure that class members were paid at least minimum wage
in violation of the Massachusetts Minimum Wage Law, Mass.
Gen. L. c. 151 §§ 1, 7, (Count III).
October 29, 2017, Defendants removed to this Court pursuant
to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”)
alleging that the proposed class members exceeded 100
individuals, and the amount in controversy exceeded $5
million in the aggregate. Alternatively, Defendants argued
that 28 U.S.C. § 1332 provided another basis for removal
since Plaintiff and Defendants are diverse and the amount in
controversy exceeds $75, 000. On November 1, 2017, Plaintiff
moved to remand to state court. On August 28, 2018, this
Court granted Plaintiff's motion concluding that
Defendants had not met the amount in controversy requirements
of either CAFA or Section 1332. See Waithaka v.
Amazon.com, Inc., 2018 WL4092074 (D. Mass. Aug. 28,
Defendants conducted an internal investigation of their
updated records finding that the putative class damages now
exceed CAFA's $5 million threshold. Consequently, on
September 7, 2018, Defendants once again removed to this
Court. (Docket No. 1). On October 5, 2018, Plaintiff once
again moved to remand to state court. (Docket No. 13).
was enacted in order to expand the number of class actions
that could be litigated in federal court. Amoche v.
Guarantee Tr. Life Ins. Co., 556 F.3d 41, 49 (1st Cir.
2009) (“In CAFA, Congress expressly expanded federal
jurisdiction largely for the benefit of defendants against a
background of what it considered to be abusive class action
practices in state courts.”). Congress achieved that
purpose “by imposing only a minimal diversity
requirement, eliminating the statutory one-year time limit
for removal, and providing for interlocutory appeal of a
federal district court's remand order.”
Id. at 47-48 (citing 28 U.S.C. §§
1332(d)(2), 1453(b), (c)).
did, however, impose some restrictions on CAFA's reach.
Pursuant to CAFA, a district court has jurisdiction over a
class action if there is minimal diversity among the parties,
the putative class includes at least 100 members, and the
amount is controversy is greater than $5 million. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1332(d)(2), (5)(B); see also Romulus v. CVS
Pharmacy, Inc., 770 F.3d 67, 69 (1st Cir. 2014).
1446(b) stipulates two time periods within which a defendant
is required remove a class action that satisfies CAFA's
jurisdictional conditions from state court to federal court.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1453(b) (applying Section
1446(b)(1) and (b)(3) removal requirements to class actions).
“If the case as stated by the initial pleading is
removable, Section 1446(b)(1) requires the defendant to
remove within thirty days of its receipt. Section 1446(b)(3)
requires the defendant to remove within thirty days of
receiving a subsequent paper form which it may first be
ascertained that the class action is or has become
removable.” Romulus, 770 F.3d at 69 (citations
are two questions presented in this case. The first is
whether the two thirty-day periods described in Section
1446(b)(1) and (b)(3) are the only periods when Defendants
can remove or whether they are merely periods during which
Defendants must remove if one of the triggering events occur.
If they are not the only periods when Defendants may remove,
the second issue is whether this is a situation where
successive removal attempts are permissible.
first question is an open one in this circuit. See
Romulus, 770 F.3d at 80 n.12 (“We do not address
the complicated questions concerning the possibility of
removal outside of the specified CAFA statutory
procedures.”). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a):
Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress,
any civil action brought in a State court of which the
district courts of the United States have original
jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the
defendants, to the district court of the United Sates for the