446 F.3d 1011 (9th Cir. 2006), 05-55696, Mattel, Inc. v. Bryant

Docket Nº:05-55696.
Citation:446 F.3d 1011
Party Name:MATTEL, Inc., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Carter BRYANT, An Individual, et al.; MGA Entertainment, Inc., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:May 02, 2006
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 1011

446 F.3d 1011 (9th Cir. 2006)

MATTEL, Inc., Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Carter BRYANT, An Individual, et al.; MGA Entertainment, Inc., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 05-55696.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

May 2, 2006

Argued and Submitted Feb. 13, 2006.

Page 1012

Daniel P. Collins, Ailsa W. Chang, Los Angeles, CA, for the plaintiff-appellant.

Keith A. Jacoby, Dale M. Cendali, Los Angeles, CA, for the defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Nora M. Manella, District Judge, Presiding. D.C. No. CV-04-09059-NMM/RNB.

Before WILLIAM C. CANBY, JR., JOHN T. NOONAN, and MARSHA S. BERZON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

NOONAN, Circuit Judge:

Mattel, Inc., a Delaware corporation with headquarters in California, appeals the order of the district court denying Mattel's motion to remand this action to state court in which Mattel had begun this suit against Carter Bryant, a resident of Missouri and a product designer formerly in its employ. Holding that diversity jurisdiction is not defeated by the intervention of MGA Entertainment, Inc., a California corporation not an indispensable party, we conclude that the district court properly retained jurisdiction.

PROCEEDINGS

On April 27, 2004, Mattel filed a complaint against Bryant in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging breach of contract and various torts. On May 14, 2004, Bryant removed the case to federal court, but the court held that the monetary requirement for diversity jurisdiction had not been satisfied. After discovery, Bryant again removed the case, and Mattel again moved to remand. On December 7, 2004, MGA Entertainment, Inc. (MGA) intervened as a defendant to protect its rights to Bratz dolls. On March 4, 2005, the district court held that diversity jurisdiction existed. Mattel was a Delaware corporation with headquarters in California,

Page 1013

Bryant was a resident of Missouri, and the amount in controversy was over $75,000. The district court held that the intervention of MGA, a California corporation unmentioned in Mattel's complaint, did not destroy the diversity because MGA was not an indispensable party. The district court certified its order for interlocutory review under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). On May 12, 2005, a motions panel of this court granted Mattel permission to appeal.

ANALYSIS

An Indispensable Intervenor ? Diversity jurisdiction exists in the controversy between Mattel and Bryant unless destroyed by MGA's intervention as a defendant. Intervention destroys diversity if the intervening party is indispensable. Takeda v. Northeastern Nat'l Life Ins. Co., 765 F.2d 815, 819 (9th Cir. 1985). We review a district court's indispensability determination for abuse of discretion. ABKCO Music, Inc. v. LaVere, 217 F.3d 684, 687 (9th Cir. 2000). Mattel argues that MGA is indispensable to the case, explaining its failure to name MGA as a defendant by ignorance dispelled only by discovery that rights to Bratz were at stake. There is, therefore, Mattel argues, "a significant risk of prejudice" to MGA if the...

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