MetLife Inc. beat an attempt by workers challenging their classification as independent contractors to send their suit back to state court.

The financial service representatives can’t prove the amount in controversy is below the Class Action Fairness Act’s $5 million threshold for federal jurisdiction, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers wrote Feb. 7 for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Three workers sued MetLife Inc. in California state court alleging the company improperly treats financial services representatives as independent contractors. The misclassification allowed MetLife to make improper deductions from their wages and avoid reimbursing them for expenses, they say.

MetLife removed the case under CAFA alleging the amount in controversy was over $9 million.

The workers moved for remand, arguing the company improperly used a 29-month class period instead of the correct 15-month period. That brings the amount in controversy down to $3.3 million, they say.

But the court rejected their arguments, calculating the amount in controversy as at least $7.7 million, the court said.

Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP and others represented the workers.

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP represented MetLife.

The case is Pugh v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 2019 BL 41517, N.D. Cal., No. 18-cv-1506, 2/7/19.