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Czarnecki v. Hawthorn Manufacturing Corp.

January 16, 2009

JOHN CZARNECKI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HAWTHORN MANUFACTURING CORPORATION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



ORDER

AND NOW, this 16th day of January, 2009, it is hereby ORDERED as follows:

1. Plaintiff's Motion for Remand (Doc. No. 8) is GRANTED. The abovecaptioned matter is REMANDED to the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, Pennsylvania.

2. Plaintiff's Motion to Require Payment of Just Costs, Actual Expenses and Attorney's Fees Incurred as a Result of Improper Removal (Doc. No. 11) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, as set forth in the accompanying memorandum.

3. Plaintiff's Motion to Assess Costs Associated with Preparation of Motion to Require Payment of Just Costs, Actual Expenses and Attorney's Fees as a Result of Improper Removal (Doc. No. 15) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, as set forth in the accompanying memorandum.

4. The court having determined that Defendant Hamburg Holdings Limited Enterprises, LLC ("Hamburg") should reimburse Plaintiffs for actual costs and expenses, including reasonable attorneys fees, incurred as a result of Hamburg's improper removal of this action, Hamburg shall, within fourteen (14) days of the date of this Order, pay to Plaintiffs the sum of $4,700.

C. Darnell Jones II J.

Presently before the court are Plaintiff's Motion to Remand his case to state court (Doc. No. 8), Plaintiff's Motion for Fees due to Defendant Hamburg's alleged improper removal (Doc. No. 11), and Plaintiff's Motion for Fees for the Preparation of his Motion for Fees and Reply Brief (Doc. No. 15).

Procedural History

On October 24, 2008, Plaintiff John J. Czarnecki filed a Class Action Complaint, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas against Defendants Hawthorn Manufacturing Corporation ("Hawthorn"); Hamburg Holdings Limited Enterprises, LLC ("Hamburg"); Patrick James; and Jay L. Schabel. Plaintiff's claim is pursuant to the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law ("Pennsylvania WPCL"), 43 P.S. § 260.1 - 260.45, and seeks compensation for accrued vacation benefits that allegedly were due to him and the putative class members when they were laid off from their employment from Hood and Co., LLC ("Hood") on June 27, 2008. (Notice of Removal (Doc. No. 1), Ex., Compl.) Hamburg was served on November 6, 2008. (Notice of Removal ¶ 3.) On November 26, 2008, Hamburg removed the action to this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, claiming that this court had subject matter jurisdiction over the case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Hamburg asserted that there was complete diversity of citizenship between Plaintiff and all Defendants and that the amount in controversy for the purported class would exceed $75,000.00. (Id. ¶¶ 2-3, 11-12.) As a basis for asserting jurisdiction, Hamburg referred to Plaintiff's Complaint, wherein Plaintiff avers that "the class is so numerous, numbering in excess of 80 employees" and "almost all, if not all [claims] amount[] to less than $5,000." (Id. ¶ 11 (quoting Compl. ¶¶ 16, 20(a)).) Hamburg stated that, "[b]ased on information and belief, . . . Hamburg represents that these claimed damages will exceed seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000)." (Id. ¶ 11.)

On December 11, 2008, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Remand of his Action to the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County (Doc. No. 8), arguing a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In his Motion to Remand, Plaintiff addressed the amount in controversy requirement for federal jurisdiction, stating, "Neither Plaintiff nor any of the other members of the class meet the jurisdictional minimum amount in controversy." (Pl.'s Mot. to Remand ¶ 16.) On December 18, 2008, Hamburg filed a Notice of Consent to Plaintiff's Motion for Remand (Doc. No. 9). Hamburg did not include the reasons for its consent in its Notice.

On December 24, 2008, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Require Payment of Just Costs, Actual Expenses and Attorney's Fees Incurred as a Result of Improper Removal (hereinafter "Pl.'s 1st Mot. for Costs") (Doc. No. 11). Hamburg filed a Response in Opposition thereto (Doc. No. 14) on January 5, 2009. Without seeking leave of this court, Plaintiff filed a "Reply Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiff's Motion to Require Payment of Just Costs, Actual Expenses and Attorney's Fees as a Result of Improper Removal" (hereinafter "Pl.'s Reply") and, in the same document, a "Motion to Assess Costs Associated with Preparation of Motion to Require Payment of Just Costs, Actual Expenses and Attorney's Fees as a Result of Improper Removal and Plaintiff's Reply Memorandum" (Doc. No. 15) on January 14, 2009. See Chambers Policies and Procedures, Jones, J., rev. Jan 12, 2009, at 4.

I. Remand is Granted

A civil action may be properly removed from state court to the federal district court if the district court has jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. ยง 1441(a). Federal district courts have jurisdiction over cases where there exists complete diversity between citizens of different states and where the amount in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs. 28 ...


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