Castillo v. Western Range Association, 061919 FED9, 18-15398

Docket Nº:18-15398
Party Name:ABEL CANTARO CASTILLO, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. WESTERN RANGE ASSOCIATION, Defendant-Appellee.
Judge Panel:Before: THOMAS, Chief Judge, IKUTA, Circuit Judge, and MOLLOY, District Judge. IKUTA, Circuit Judge, dissenting.
Case Date:June 19, 2019
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

ABEL CANTARO CASTILLO, Plaintiff-Appellant,



No. 18-15398

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

June 19, 2019


Argued and Submitted May 13, 2019 San Francisco, California

Appeal from the United States District Court, No. 3:16-cv-00237-RCJ-VPC, for the District of Nevada Robert Clive Jones, District Judge, Presiding

Before: THOMAS, Chief Judge, IKUTA, Circuit Judge, and MOLLOY, [**] District Judge.


Appellant Abel Cantáro Castillo, a nonimmigrant guestworker shepherd employed by Appellee Western Range Association (WRA) through the H-2A visa program, appeals the dismissal of his claims for lack of federal question jurisdiction, and for failure to satisfy the jurisdictional requirements of the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). Because the parties are familiar with the facts and the procedural history, we need not recount those here. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we reverse.1

"[W]e review de novo the district court's ultimate legal conclusion that the underlying factual allegations are insufficient to establish CAFA jurisdiction[.]" Watkins v. Vital Pharms., Inc., 720 F.3d 1179, 1181 (9th Cir. 2013). "[W]e review for clear error any factual determinations necessary to establish jurisdiction." Id. The district court's application of state law, here application of the appropriate statute of limitations, is reviewed de novo. In re Hawaii Fed. Asbestos Cases, 871 F.2d 891, 893 (9th Cir. 1989).


The district court erred in applying a two-year statute of limitations to Cantáro's breach of contract claims. Nevada law provides that the applicable statute of limitations is six years on breach of contract actions "founded upon an instrument in writing." Nev. Rev. Stat. § 11.190(1)(b). We have previously noted the applicability of Nevada's six-year statute of limitations to H-2A farmworkers' claims for failure to pay wages owed under employment contracts. Rivera v. Peri & Sons Farms, Inc., 735 F.3d 892, 901 n.6 (9th Cir. 2013). The district court erred by instead applying the "gravamen of the action" test to determine that the two-year minimum wage claim statute of limitations applied to Cantáro's claims for breach of the explicit terms of a written employment contract. The Nevada Supreme Court has applied this test in the context of personal injury cases pleaded as breach of implied contract. See Crabb v. Harmon Enters., Inc., No. 60634, 2014 WL 549834, at *2 (Nev. Feb 10, 2014)...

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