United States District Court, N.D. California
April 16, 2004.
SYDNEY JAY HALL, Plaintiff,
MURAD MUHAMMAD, RUDOLFO NAZARIO and ROBERTO NAZARIO, Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES BREYER, District Judge
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO SET
ASIDE DEFAULT AND DISMISS
This lawsuit arises out of a controversy concerning representation of
a professional boxer from the Philippines. Plaintiff Sydney Hall, a
citizen of California, sues defendants Murad Muhammad, a citizen of New
Jersey, Rudolfo Nazario, a citizen of the Philippines, and Roberto
Nazario, a permanent resident of California. On November 24, 2003,
plaintiff filed a second amended complaint in this Court asserting state
law causes of action for account and tortious interference, and a federal
cause of action for violation of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. In
his complaint, plaintiff claims federal jurisdiction based upon diversity
of citizenship under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. On December 10, 2003,
defendants Rudolfo and Roberto Nazario filed a timely answer denying all
claims and asserting multiple affirmative defenses. Defendant Muhammad
failed to file a timely answer. On February 12, 2004 plaintiff filed an
application for entry of default. On February 25, 2004, the clerk made an
entry of default. On February 26, 2004, defendant Muhammad filed a motion to set aside the entry of default and a
proposed motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. On April 1, 2004, plaintiff filed a memorandum
agreeing with defendant Muhammad's assertion that this Court does not
have subject matter jurisdiction.
I. Motion To Set Aside Default
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(c) provides that an entry of default
may be set aside "[f]or good cause shown." See Hawaii Carpenters'
Trust Fund v. Stone, 794 F.2d 508, 513 (9th Cir. 1986). A party in
default is required to make some showing of a meritorious defense as a
prerequisite to vacating an entry of default. See id. In this
case, defendant Muhammad filed a proposed motion to dismiss the suit
based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff did not oppose
the motion. Because, as is explained below, this Court agrees that
federal subject matter jurisdiction does not exist, the Court finds that
defendant Muhammad has met his burden to show good cause to set aside the
default. The Court, therefore, orders that the default be set aside.
Cf. Watts v. Pincke, 752 F.2d 406, 409 (9th Cir. 1985) (default
judgment is void if court lacked subject matter jurisdiction).
II. Motion to Dismiss
A. Federal Question Jurisdiction
Under Title 28 U.S.C. § 1331, a federal court has original
jurisdiction of civil actions arising under the laws of the United
States. The Muhammad AH Boxing Reform Act creates a private federal cause
of action for boxers who are injured in violation of the Act.
See 15 U.S.C. § 6309(d). In this case, it is undisputed
that plaintiff is not a boxer. Moreover, in his non-opposition to
defendant Muhammad's motion to dismiss, plaintiff declares that, even
though his complaint alleges a violation of the Muhammed Ali Boxing
Reform Act, "there is no federal question . . .[because] the complaint
requests no recovery of damages or specific relief under the act."
See Plaintiffs Non-Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction at 3. Because plaintiff has no
federal right of action under the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, his
claim for violation of that Act is dismissed with prejudice.
B. Diversity Jurisdiction
Having dismissed the only federal claim, the Court must determine if it
has jurisdiction of the remaining state law claims. Under Title
28 U.S.C. § 1332, a federal court can assert jurisdiction over a state law
claim only if the matter in controversy involves citizens of different
states. In this case, it is undisputed that both plaintiff and defendant
Roberto Nazario are California residents. See Plaintiffs
Non-Opposition at 3 (declaring that diversity of citizenship "obviously"
does not exist). This Court, therefore, does not have jurisdiction under
Plaintiffs claim under the Muhammad AH Boxing Reform Act is dismissed
with prejudice for failure to state a claim. As the parties are not
diverse, and the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction,
plaintiffs remaining state law claims are dismissed without prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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