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Fuller v. Yates

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


January 28, 2009

KELVIN FULLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES YATES, ET. AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION RECOMMENDING DENIAL OF PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR REMAND (Doc. 6.) OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE IN 30 DAYS

I. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Kelvin Fuller ("plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff commenced this action on December 17, 2007, at the Fresno Superior Court. On April 1, 2008, defendants Yates and Igbanosa ("defendants") removed this action to federal court. (Doc. 3.) On June 2, 2008, plaintiff filed a request for the court to remand this action to the Fresno Superior Court. (Doc. 6.) Defendants have not filed an opposition.

II. REMOVAL

Removal of an action under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b) depends solely on the nature of the plaintiff's complaint, and is properly removed only if "a right or immunity created by the Constitution or laws of the United States [constitutes] an element, and an essential one, of the plaintiff's cause of action." Gully v. First National Bank in Meridian, 299 U.S. 109, 112 (1936).

The plaintiff is the master of his or her own complaint and is free to ignore the federal cause of action and rest the claim solely on a state cause of action. See The Fair v. Kohler Die & Specialty Co., 228 U.S. 22, 25, (1913); Jones v. General Tire & Rubber Co., 541 F.2d 660, 664 (7th Cir.1976); La Chemise Lacoste v. Alligator Co., 506 F.2d 339, 346 (3d Cir.1974), cert. denied, 421 U.S. 937 (1975). However, under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), a defendant may remove from state court any action "of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction." Federal courts "shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

Well-Pleaded Complaint Rule

"The presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed by the well-pleaded complaint rule, which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint." Caterpillar, Inc., v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987) (internal quotations and citations omitted). "The rule makes the plaintiff the master of the claim; he or she may avoid federal jurisdiction by exclusive reliance on state law." Id.

III. DISCUSSION

Plaintiff argues that this action should be remanded to the Fresno Superior Court in the interest of judicial economy, because the case had already been placed on a case management schedule at the superior court when defendants removed the case. The Court has thoroughly reviewed Plaintiff's complaint. Although the complaint is primarily couched as claims under California state tort law, plaintiff also alleges "violation of Plaintiff's [E]ighth Amendment right to the United States Constitution...." (Cmp. at 5.) Plaintiff also uses language in the complaint that describes the standard for inadequate medical care under the Eighth Amendment, alleging that his injures are a result of "Defendants['] deliberate indifference to plaintiff's right to adequate medical care and treatment." Although such language, without more, is not enough to confer federal jurisdiction, see The Fair, 228 U.S. at 25, here plaintiff also makes specific reference to the Eighth Amendment and the United States Constitution. Therefore, the court finds that the federal court has jurisdiction over the complaint, and the removal was proper. As for plaintiff's argument that the case should be remanded in the interest of judicial economy, this argument is not a sufficient reason to remand the case. As stated above, removal of an action under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b) depends solely on the nature of plaintiff's complaint. Gully, 299 U.S. at 112. Accordingly, plaintiff's request for remand should be denied.

IV. CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing, the court HEREBY RECOMMENDS that plaintiff's request for remand be DENIED.

These findings and recommendations are submitted to the United States District Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of Title 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). Within thirty days after being served with these findings and recommendations, plaintiff may file written objections with the court. Such a document should be captioned "Objections to Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendations." The parties are advised that failure to file objections within the specified time may waive the right to appeal the District Court's order. Martinez v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991).

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20090128

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