United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. Campbell United States District Judge.
Paul and Ma Riza Dickerson sued Superstition Springs MID LLC
(“Superstition”) and NWAN Incorporated for
intentional interference with contract and violation of the
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (“MMWA”), 15 U.S.C.
§ 2301, et seq. Doc. 16. On February 7, 2018,
the Court dismissed the intentional interference claim and
dismissed NWAN as a defendant. Doc. 45. The Court also
ordered the parties to submit briefs addressing the
Court's subject matter jurisdiction. Id.;
see Docs. 49, 50. Superstition submitted evidence
with its brief and argued that Plaintiffs cannot satisfy the
amount-in-controversy requirement under the Class Action
Fairness Act (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d).
Doc. 50. The Court ordered supplemental briefing on this
issue, which the parties submitted. Docs. 52, 53. For the
reasons stated below, the Court finds that it lacks
purchased a Dodge Ram truck from Superstition. The truck was
covered by a “Warranty Forever” limited
powertrain warranty administered by NWAN. The warranty
required Plaintiffs to have all maintenance on the vehicle
performed at Superstition or seek pre-authorization to have
the service performed elsewhere. Plaintiffs' claim for a
covered repair was denied and their warranty was voided
because they failed to comply with this requirement.
Plaintiffs allege that the pre-authorization requirement
violates the MMWA's anti-tying provision, 15 U.S.C.
The Class Action Fairness Act.
amended complaint asserts CAFA as the sole basis for the
Court's jurisdiction. Doc. 16 ¶ 4. CAFA requires at
least one member of the plaintiff class to be “a
citizen of a State different from any defendant.” 28
U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2)(A). In addition to minimal
diversity, CAFA requires that there be at least 100 class
members and that the aggregate amount in controversy exceed
$5 million, exclusive of interests and costs. See 28
U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2), (5); Ibarra v. Manheim Invs.,
Inc., 775 F.3d 1193, 1195 (9th Cir. 2015). Superstition
argues that the Court lacks jurisdiction because Plaintiffs
cannot satisfy any of these requirements. Docs. 50,
Burden of Proof.
cases addressing the CAFA jurisdictional requirements involve
a plaintiff who contests a defendant's removal of the
case to federal court. See Petkevicius v. NBTY,
Inc., No. 314CV02616CABRBB, 2017 WL 1113295, at *3 (S.D.
Cal. Mar. 24, 2017) (“The overwhelming majority of
decisions concerning CAFA jurisdiction involve cases removed
to federal court by defendants.”). When a plaintiff
contests jurisdiction in a removed action, “both sides
submit proof and the court decides, by a preponderance of the
evidence, whether the” jurisdictional requirements have
been satisfied. Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v.
Owens, 135 S.Ct. 547, 554 (2014); Ibarra, 775
F.3d at 1195. The removing defendant “has the burden to
put forward evidence showing that the amount in controversy
exceeds $5 million, to satisfy other requirements of CAFA,
and to persuade the court that the estimate of damages in
controversy is a reasonable one.” Ibarra, 775
F.3d at 1197. “[A] defendant cannot establish removal
jurisdiction by mere speculation and conjecture, with
unreasonable assumptions.” Id.
case, Plaintiffs chose federal court. As proponents of
federal jurisdiction, Plaintiffs must establish CAFA's
requirements by a preponderance of the evidence. See
Robinson v. United States, 586 F.3d 683, 685 (9th Cir.
2009) (“Once challenged, the party asserting subject
matter jurisdiction has the burden of proving its existence[,
]” and no “presumptive truthfulness attaches to
plaintiff's allegations.” (internal quotation marks
omitted)); Indus. Tectonics, Inc. v. Aero Alloy, 912
F.2d 1090, 1092 (9th Cir. 1990) (“The party asserting
jurisdiction has the burden of proving all jurisdictional
parties agree that Plaintiffs and Superstition are Arizona
citizens for purposes of diversity and that NWAN is an Ohio
citizen. Plaintiffs argue, however, that dismissal of NWAN
did not destroy jurisdiction because diversity existed at the
time they filed suit, and “post-filing developments do
not defeat jurisdiction if jurisdiction was properly invoked
as of the time of filing.” Doc. 45 at 2 (quoting
United Steel, Paper & Forestry, Rubber, Mfg., Energy,
Allied Indus. & Serv. Workers Int'l Union, AFL-CIO,
CLC v. Shell Oil Co., 602 F.3d 1087, 1091-92 (9th Cir.
2010)). The Court agrees. See United Steel, 602 F.3d
1087 (denial of class certification after removal did not
destroy CAFA jurisdiction); Cunningham Charter Corp. v.
Learjet, Inc., 592 F.3d 805, 806 (7th Cir. 2010) (same);
Main v. Gateway Genomics, LLC, No. 15CV2945 AJB
(WVG), 2016 WL 7626581, at *8 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 1, 2016)
(dismissal of diverse party did not destroy jurisdiction
because “minimal diversity as required by CAFA existed
at the outset of this action”); Waller v.
Hewlett-Packard Co., No. 11CV0454-LAB RBB, 2012 WL
1987397 (S.D. Cal. June 4, 2012) (same).
Class Members and Amount in Controversy.
argues that Plaintiffs cannot meet the class-size requirement
because “there are not even 100 potential
plaintiffs” in this action. Doc. 53 at 3 (emphasis in
original). Superstition submits internal data
regarding its warranties, supported by affidavits from
Superstition and NWAN employees. See Docs. 50-1,
50-2. According to the data, during the four years prior to
Plaintiffs' filing of this case,  Superstition voided 209
“Warranty Forever” warranties. Doc. 50-1 at 2. Of
those, 82 warranties were voided for failure to pre-authorize
services; 63 of the 82 warranties were voided solely for this
reason; and the remaining 19 were voided for multiple
argues that these 82 warranty holders cannot meet the $5
million aggregate damages requirement. Doc. 50 at 3. This is
because the warranties contain a provision limiting damages
to the resale value of the car at the time of the breakdown,
the average sale price for new cars sold by Superstition is
$33, 497, and 82 times $33, 497 equals $2.75 million.
Id. at 2-3. Thus, Superstition argues, even if each
of the 82 potential plaintiffs bought new cars (as opposed to
used cars, which have an average sale price of $18, 683) ...