Employment Class Action Beverage Co. Removed to the Eastern District of California

On Tuesday, Ardagh Metal Beverage USA, Inc. removed the employment class action lawsuit filed against it by Grant Diaz in California state court to the Eastern District of California. 

The notice of removal argues that the Eastern District of California has jurisdiction over the present case through the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). The defendant states this case meets the original federal jurisdiction requirements under CAFA because the class action has over 100 class members, the matter in controversy in the aggregate exceeds $5 million and there is minimal diversity. 

The original complaint was filed on December 6, 2021 by Grant Diaz, a California citizen and a former non-exempt employee of Ardagh Metal Beverage USA. The complaint requests class certification of all non-exempt employees who worked for the defendant in California during the four years preceding the complaint. 

According to the complaint, Ardagh is a Delaware corporation doing business in Solano County, California as a manufacturer and supplier of beverage cans and other sustainable packaging. 

The plaintiff alleges that Ardagh failed and continues to fail to pay all minimum and overtime wages to non-exempt employees. The complaint argues that this is a result of the defendant’s policy of unfairly rounding time entries to the nearest quarter hour and failing to include all forms of compensation when calculating overtime wages. Further, the complaint alleges the defendant has failed to comply with the required meal and rest periods. 

Due to these policies, the plaintiffs allege the following violations of California’s Labor Code; failure to pay all minimum wages, failure to pay all overtime wages, meal and rest period violations, wage statement violations, waiting time penalties and unfair competition. For these violations, the plaintiffs seek compensatory, consequential, general and special damages, statutory waiting time penalties, restitution, prejudgment interest, attorneys fees and costs. 

Subsequently in the defendant’s answer, Ardagh denied each and every claim contained in the complaint and also denied that any of the class members have been damaged or injured in the amount alleged. Further, the answer argues that the plaintiff failed to identify a proper class of plaintiffs in addition to 14 other affirmative defenses. 

The defendant is represented by Baker & Hostetler LLP and the plaintiffs are represented by Bokhour Law Group, P.C. and Falakassa Law, P.C.