United States District Court, D. New Mexico
RONDALE ANDERSON, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
XTO ENERGY, INC, and MICHAEL WAYNE MARRIOTT Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION TO REMAND
MATTER comes before the Court upon Plaintiff's Motion to
Remand to State Court, filed July 5, 2018 (Doc.
23). Having reviewed the parties' briefs and
applicable law, the Court finds that Plaintiff's Motion
is well-taken and, therefore, is GRANTED.
This matter is therefore REMANDED to the
Eleventh Judicial District Court, County of San Juan, State
of New Mexico.
a class action asserting a violation of New Mexico Minimum
Wage Act. Plaintiff was a lease operator for Defendant XTO
Energy, Inc, in San Juan County, New Mexico. Plaintiff filed
a complaint against both XTO Energy, Inc. and Michael
Marriott, alleging that they failed to pay him and sixty
other lease operators overtime as required under the New
Mexico Minimum Wage Act. Under the New Mexico Minimum Wage
Act (“NMMWA”), “[a]n employee shall not be
required to work more than forty hours in any week of seven
days, unless the employee is paid one and one-half times the
employee's regular hourly rate of pay for all hours
worked in excess of forty hours.” See NMSA
lease operator, Plaintiff maintained oilfield equipment,
measured the level of oil in tanks, and input data into
spreadsheets regarding the amount of oil a well produces.
Defendant Marriott was the senior superintendent for
Defendant XTO in New Mexico, and was allegedly the senior
supervisor in New Mexico. There were two layers of
supervisors - foremen and assistant superintendents - between
Defendant Marriott and the lease operators. Plaintiff alleged
that Defendant Marriott had the authority to make personnel,
scheduling, and compensation decisions, which Defendants
citizenship of the parties appears to be uncontested based on
the face of the complaint and the Notice of Removal.
Plaintiff is a New Mexico citizen, and Defendant XTO Energy
is incorporated in Delaware, with its principal place of
business in Texas. Doc. 1, p. 3. Defendant Marriott is a
citizen of New Mexico.
4, 2018, Defendants filed a Notice of Removal (Doc. 1) on the
basis of diversity jurisdiction. Although Defendant Marriott
is a citizen of New Mexico and therefore non-diverse with
Plaintiff, Defendants allege that Defendant Marriott was
fraudulently joined. Specifically, they assert that he is not
an “employer” under the New Mexico Minimum Wage
Act, and therefore no claim under the Minimum Wage Act can be
asserted against him. Defendants included, as an appendix to
their Notice of Removal, a declaration by Defendant Marriott
which purports to assert facts showing that he was not an
11, 2018, Defendant Marriott filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc.
12) under Fed R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), arguing that claims
against him should be dismissed, because he cannot be an
employer under the New Mexico Minimum Wage Act.
5, 2018, Plaintiff filed this Motion to Remand on the basis
that the Court lacks diversity jurisdiction, and Defendant
Marriott was not fraudulently joined.
Removal and Diversity Jurisdiction.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction; thus, there is a
presumption against removal jurisdiction, which the defendant
seeking removal must overcome. See Fajen v. Found.
Reserve Ins. Co., 683 F.2d 331, 333 (10th Cir.1982);
Martin v. Franklin Capital Corp., 251 F.3d 1283,
1290 (10th Cir. 2001).
removed this case to federal court on the basis of diversity
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). To invoke
diversity jurisdiction, “a party must show that
complete diversity of citizenship exists between the adverse
parties and that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000.” Dutcher v. Matheson, 733 F.3d 980, 987
(10th Cir. 2013). “Complete diversity is lacking when
any of the plaintiffs has the same residency as even a single
defendant.” Id.; see also Lincoln Prop. Co. v.
Roche, 546 U.S. 81, 84, 126 S.Ct. 606, 609, 163 L.Ed.2d
415 (2005) (“Defendants may remove an action on the
basis of diversity of citizenship if there is complete
diversity between all named plaintiffs and all named
defendants, and no defendant is a citizen of the forum
State.”). “[T]he relevant time period for
determining the existence of complete diversity is the time
of the filing of the complaint.” Siloam Springs
Hotel, L.L.C. v. Century Sur. Co., 781 F.3d 1233, 1239
(10th Cir. 2015).
matter may be remanded back to state court if the federal
court lacks subject matter jurisdiction (such as diversity
jurisdiction). 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). The removing
defendant bears the burden of proving subject matter