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HALL v. MUHAMMAD

United States District Court, N.D. California


April 16, 2004.

SYDNEY JAY HALL, Plaintiff,
v.
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 COMPLAINT
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.

DISCUSSION

 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 section 1332.

  CONCLUSION

  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.

20040416

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