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Allen v. Boeing Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

April 6, 2015, Argued and Submitted, Seattle, Washington; April 27, 2015, Filed

No. 15-35162

Opinion

 [*627]  CALLAHAN, Circuit Judge:

Jocelyn Allen and others (Plaintiffs) sued The Boeing Company (Boeing) and Landau Associates (Landau) in a Washington state court alleging that for over forty years Boeing released toxins into the groundwater around its facility in Auburn, Washington, and that for over a decade Landau had been negligent in its investigation and remediation of the pollution. Boeing removed the case to the [**2]  District Court for the Western District of Washington claiming federal jurisdiction based on diversity and the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). The district court remanded the case to state court holding that (1) Landau was not fraudulently joined, and thus there was not complete diversity, and (2) Plaintiffs' action came within the local single event exception to CAFA federal jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(11)(B)(ii)(I). Boeing sought and was granted leave to appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1453(c). We hold that Plaintiffs' action does not come within the local single event exception to CAFA, and that, therefore, the district court has federal jurisdiction under CAFA. We affirm the district court's determination that Boeing failed to show that Landau was fraudulently joined. We refer Plaintiffs' assertion that their action falls within the local controversy exception to federal jurisdiction under CAFA, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(4)(A), to the district court for consideration in the first instance.

I. Background

From the 1960s to the 1990s, Boeing used solvents that allegedly contained hazardous chemicals in its aircraft parts manufacturing plant in Auburn, Washington. In 1987, the Washington State Department of Ecology (Department of Ecology) initiated requirements [**3]  for the treatment, storage and handling of hazardous materials. In 2002, Boeing entered into an agreement with the Department of Ecology to investigate and remediate releases of hazardous substances from its manufacturing plant and retained Landau to conduct the investigation and remediation.

In November 2013, Plaintiffs filed an action against Boeing and Landau in King County Superior Court, Washington. Plaintiffs alleged that they "incurred property damages as a result of groundwater contamination by hazardous chemicals at and around" Boeing's Auburn plant "from the 1960s to the present." They further alleged "that Boeing and its environmental-remediation contractor, Landau, are liable for negligently investigating, remediating, and cleaning up the contamination and for failing to warn Plaintiffs of the contamination." Based on these allegations, Plaintiffs asserted state law claims of negligence, nuisance, and trespass against Boeing and negligence against Landau.

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784 F.3d 625 *; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6868 **

JOCELYN ALLEN; LAWRENCE J. ALLEN; VIVIAN LYNN ALLEN; CAREN BARNES; EMERY BLESSING; HORACE BLINER; ROBERT A. BLINER; JASON BOGART; BRENDA BRAMMER; BRETNEY A. BROWNFIELD; DONALD N. CAMPBELL; DEBORAH JEAN CETTOLIN; CAROLE DENISE COGGIN; ROBERT ALLEN COGGIN; ANGELA COMSTOCK; TIMOTHY EUGENE CONNOR; CHRISTINE R. COUNCILMAN; DARYL CRAWFORD; SHAWN CREED-WOOLERY; ANITA DECKER; DANIEL DECKER; KERRI DECKER; SHAWN DECKER; DANIEL ANDREW DOLLOFF; JACOB DOLLOFF; TONI RAE DOLLOFF; JEFFREY DOSCH; KARRIE DOSCH; ALVINE DRAYTON; PATRICIA ANN DUKE; JUANITA DUPONT; DONALD WARREN EDWARDS; TAMMY ELSNER; MICHAEL PATRICK ETHIER; FAY FARRINGTON; LARRY D. FORD, Sr.; KENNETH MARK FOREMAN; SHERRI LEE FOREMAN; MICHAEL GESE; AIMEE GREEN; JOSH GREEN; LEE LYNN HARDY; LISA ANN HARDY; BARRY CURTIS HARMON, II; NICOLE HARMON; DONALD R. HAUPT; KARI LYN HERNANDEZ; RONALD A. HOLT; BRIAN JONES; MIKISHA D. JONES; TATIANA JONES; PHYLLIS KAIN; ROBERT KENNICOTT; ANDREY KINAKH; TONY KINGSADA; MICHELLE KLUSMEYER; SONJA LAPPING; BRITTNEY LYNN LICKEY; ROBIN LINDY; WAYNE LINDY; ASHLEY LISENBY; PAULLET LITTLEFIELD; DEIDRE LORENZ; COURTNEY MACISAAC; PAUL MALAVOTTE; RANDOLPH MALILONG; ANNISSA MANOLOVITZ; LISA MARTIN; MARIE MCASKILL; JILL A. MENTZER; JOHN L. MENTZER; VICKI L. MILLS; KAREN MILLSAP; TERRENCE MILLSAP; KYLIE MOREFIELD; ELIZABETH MORGAN; TARA MOTT; CECILY NEILSEN; ANTHONY B. NOCERA; DIANE C. NOCERA; JESSICA PARKER; RICHARD PARKER; PATRICIA PLATTNER; MIKE RAMIREZ; LUDMILLA REDKA; BRIAN REITZ; KATHLEEN RISMOEN; MATTHEW MONTGOMERY ROBERTS; LURA ELAINE ROBERTSON; JANENE M. ROLLINS; CLAUDE ROUGHT; DAN RUDOLPH; DEBORAH A. RYAN; RICHARD R. RYAN; STEVE SANBORN; MICHAEL C. SCOTT; DAVEENE KIM SEARS; GERALD L. SEARS; DARRON SHOOK; LISA SHOOK; STACIE SIPPO; HAROLD A. SPONBERG; PENNY J. SPONBERG; TRENT B. TESTERMAN; BERNADETTE J. TRANHOLT; ROBIN L. TRANHOLT; JEFFREY A. TREKLA; KAREN R. TREKLA; JESSICA A. VAUGHN; GABRIEL WARREN; MAX WERDEN; TINA WERDEN; STACY WILEY; ANTHONY WILLIAMS; CINDA J. ZITTERICH; RICKY L. ZITTERICH, Plaintiffs - Appellees, v. THE BOEING COMPANY, a Delaware Corporation, Defendant - Appellant, And BOEING COMMERCIAL AIRPLANES; LANDAU ASSOCIATES INC, a Washington Corporation; DOES 1-50, inclusive, Defendants.

Subsequent History: As Corrected July 2, 2015.

On remand at, Remanded by Allen v. Boeing Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107482 (W.D. Wash., Aug. 13, 2015)

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. D.C. No. 2:14-cv-00596-RSM. Ricardo S. Martinez, District Judge, Presiding.

Allen v. The Boeing Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185122 (W.D. Wash., Sept. 23, 2014)

CORE TERMS

occurrence, district court, single event, Plaintiffs', federal jurisdiction, state court, chemical, remediation, happening, allegations, mass action, federal court, diversity, spill, circumstances, cases, hazardous substance, class action, parties, words, hazardous, pollution, injuries, refinery, fraudulent joinder, civil action, environmental, quotation, joined, marks

Civil Procedure, Removal, Postremoval Remands, Appellate Review, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Special Proceedings, Class Actions, Class Action Fairness Act, Governments, Courts, Judicial Precedent, Preliminary Considerations, General Overview, Procedural Matters, Fraudulent Joinder