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Esmaili v. Altmyer

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


December 21, 2009

TITLE: MOHAMMAD ESMAILI ET AL.
v.
MATTHEW WAYNE ALTMYER

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Cormac J. Carney, United States District Judge

CIVIL MINUTES -- GENERAL

PROCEEDINGS: (IN CHAMBERS) ORDER REMANDING CASE TO STATE COURT

Plaintiff Mohammad Esmaili or Young T. Kim as Trustee of the Scholarship Trust (the "Scholarship Trust") filed this case in Superior Court of Orange County for unlawful detainer against Defendant Matthew Wayne Altmyer on October 7, 2009. (Notice of Removal, Ex. 1.) Mr. Altmyer, a pro-se litigant, removed the case to this Court on November 5, 2009, alleging federal question and diversity jurisdiction.

A district court must remand a case to state court if it appears at any time before final judgment that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §1447(c). A federal court can assert subject matter jurisdiction where a case either raises a question under federal law or is between diverse parties and involves an amount in controversy of over $75,000. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332.

In his notice of removal, Mr. Altmyer asserted that this case arises under federal law and that there is complete diversity of the parties in a dispute of over $75,000. His assertions are completely conclusory. First, the Court does not have federal question jurisdiction because this appears to be a straightforward action for unlawful detainer, a state-law claim. Second, the parties are not diverse. Mr. Altmyer is a citizen of California. The citizenship of a trust is determined based on the citizenship of its trustees. Navarro Savings Ass'n v. Lee, 446 U.S. 458, 464 (1980). Mr. Altmyer does not allege that the trustees of the Scholarship Trust are not citizens of California. In any case, the Scholarship Trust seeks less than $10,000 from Mr. Altmyer. (Notice of Removal, Ex. 1.)

The Court ordered Mr. Altmyer to show cause why this case should not be remanded to state court on December 18, 2009. Mr. Altmyer responded to the Court's order by arguing that "[t]itle has not been properly cleared" and "[f]raud was committed on multiple levels of the transaction." (Pl.'s response at 1.) Neither of these arguments relates to the Court's jurisdiction. The Court therefore remands this action to state court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

20091221

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