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Fulwider Patton Wins Motion to Remand Case to State Court - Contemporary Services Corporation v. Landmark Event Staffing Services, Inc.

On June 12, 2017, District Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell granted Contemporary Services Corporation's (“CSC”) Motion to Remand its case against Landmark Event Staffing Services, Inc. (“Landmark") to state court, after many years of federal court litigation of claims for misappropriation of trade secrets under the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“CUTSA”), Cal. Civ. Code § 3426 et seq., and breach of contract. At the time of CSC's Motion to Remand, the sole federal law claim was dismissed before trial, leaving only state law claims.

The District Court found that, weighing the factors of judicial economy, convenience, fairness, and comity outlined in United Mine Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S.715, 726 (1966), it was appropriate to remand the action to state court to resolve CSC's remaining state law claims. The Court noted that while the case had proceeded in this Court for a lengthy period of time and the Court had expended substantial judicial resources, this Court had never addressed the issues remaining to be decided on summary judgment and the parties had not prepared for trial based on the remaining claims. Thus, the state court would not be required to perform duplicative legal analysis and judicial economy did not weigh strongly in favor of the Court exercising supplemental jurisdiction. In addition, the convenience and fairness factors did not weigh strongly in favor of exercising jurisdiction, and comity weighed in favor of remanding the action.

With respect to the judicial economy factor, the Court found this factor weighed in favor of declining jurisdiction notwithstanding the fact that the case was first removed to the district court approximately eight years ago, had been reversed by the Ninth Circuit on appeal twice, and was nearing 400 docket entries. The Court found that remanding this action would not result in unreasonable multiplicity of litigation, where the only issue remaining to be decided on summary judgment was an issue which the Court did not address when deciding Defendants' prior motion for summary judgment. The Court also found the Ninth Circuit's decision in Coomes v. Edmonds School District Number 15, 816 F.3d 1255, 1265 (9th Cir. 2016) as instructive and similar where supplemental jurisdiction was declined over remaining state law claims even where discovery had closed, the action had proceeded through summary judgment, and the Ninth Circuit partially reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment.

Regarding the convenience factor, the Court found no party inconvenience in litigating in the Superior Court, County of Orange. With respect to the fairness factor, the Court found that remanding this case was not unfair to Defendants since Landmark did not provide any way in which they would be disadvantaged by proceeding in the state court. Regarding the comity factor, the Court found this factor weighing in favor of remand since decisions of state law are best left to state courts and CSC proceeded on only state law claims.

Contemporary Services Corporation was represented by Craig Bailey, Kenya Williams, and Jacob Zodieru of Fulwider Patton. The published opinion can be accessed on Lexis or Westlaw at 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90143 *; 2017 WL 2540310. The case number is SA CV 09-681-DMG (formerly CV 09-00681-BRO).