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Citibank, N.A. v. Mendoza

June 15, 2010

CITIBANK, N.A., ETC.
v.
FRANCISCO MENDOZA



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Andrew J. Guilford

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

Lisa Bredahl Not Present

Proceedings: [IN CHAMBERS] ORDER REMANDING CASE

Plaintiff Citibank, N.A., etc. ("Plaintiff") filed this case in state court for unlawful detainer. Defendant Francisco Mendoza ("Defendant") then filed a Notice of Removal, which removed this case from state to federal court. For the reasons that follow, the Court REMANDS the case to state court.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's Complaint alleges the following.

Plaintiff purchased certain property and recorded a Trustee's Deed Upon Sale. (Compl. ¶¶ 4-5.) Despite Plaintiff's ownership, and despite Plaintiff sending Defendant a Notice to Vacate, Defendant is occupying the property "without permission of the Plaintiff and under no right of claim." (Compl. ¶¶ 3-8.) "The reasonable value for the use and occupancy of the property is $30.00 per day. Plaintiff seeks damages in that amount from September 30, 2008 and for each day thereafter, until the date of Judgment herein." (Compl. ¶ 9.) Further, "Plaintiff is entitled to statutory damages of $600 in addition to actual damages . . . ." (Compl. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff prays for "restitution and possession of the property," $30 per day for use and occupancy of the property from September 30, 2008 until a judgment in this case, statutory damages of $600, and "such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper." (Compl., Prayer for Relief.) Moreover, in the Caption of the Complaint, Plaintiff states that the "amount demanded does not exceed $10,000." (Compl., Caption.)

Defendant's Notice of Removal seeks to invoke federal jurisdiction on grounds of both diversity and federal question jurisdiction. But Defendant fails to establish that removal is proper.

ANALYSIS

In unlawful detainer actions, "[s]peedy adjudication is desirable to prevent subjecting the landlord to undeserved economic loss and the tenant to unmerited harassment and dispossession when his lease or rental agreement gives him the right to peaceful and undisturbed possession of the property." Lindsey v. Normet, 405 U.S. 56, 73 (1972).

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), defendants may remove to federal court "civil action[s] brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction." 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). "Under the plain terms of § 1441(a), in order properly to remove [an] action pursuant to that provision, [defendants] must demonstrate that original subject-matter jurisdiction lies in the federal courts." Syngenta Crop Prot., Inc. v. Henson, 537 U.S. 28, 33 (2002).

1. DIVERSITY JURISDICTION

Defendant fails to establish that removal is proper based on diversity jurisdiction. There are two reasons why this is so. First, he does not establish that the amount in controversy meets the jurisdictional ...


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