The district court erred in remanding this case to state court under the local controversy exception to CAFA jurisdiction. To resolve a discovery dispute, the defendant stipulated that “at least” 67% of the class had last known residence addresses in California. The stipulated fact was insufficient to meet the plaintiff’s burden of proving that at least two-thirds of class members were California citizens, thus invoking the local controversy exception. “At least” is not “greater than.” Furthermore, despite having last known addresses in California, an unknown number of class members might not be California citizens because they were not US citizens, because they lived in California only temporarily (hence were not domiciled in California) or because they moved out of state before the removal notice was filed. But particularly since the stipulation cut off plaintiff’s ability to gather evidence to prove the likely fact that the vast majority of defendant’s workers were, in fact, California citizens, the case is remanded to allow plaintiff another opportunity to prove that fact.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Clifton, J.); September 6, 2018; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 25300