District Court holds defendant to four corners of complaint when granting motion to remand

United States District Court Judge William Alsup (Northern District of California) granted a motion by plaintiff Pineda to remand a class action back to the California Superior Court from whence it came.  Pineda v. Bank of America, N.A., 2011 WL 1134467 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 28, 2011).  "Wait, isn't that case name very similar to a recent decision from the California Supreme Court regarding statutes of limitation in Labor Code section 203 cases?"  So right you are.  That's why this isn't a garden-variety remand order.  In this case, the defendant argued that it analyzed the complaint back in 2007 and concluded that the amount in controversy should have been calculated on the basis of a one-year statute of limitation.  But when the California Supreme Court held otherwise, Bank of America claimed that it learned for the first time that the case was removable.  Judge Alsup rejected that argument, observing that the parties agreed that the complaint alleged a four-year statute of limitation, and under that four-year statute, the amount in controversy exceeded $5 million.  The time to remove expired back in 2007, when the defendant was in possession of a complaint that, within its four corners, alleged an amount in controvery high enough to invoke CAFA jursidiction.

And, as I noted when reporting on Pineda previously, this matter is handled by Gregory Karasik at Spiro Moss.