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Owb Reo, LLC v. Todd Macaluso

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


January 19, 2011

OWB REO, LLC,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
TODD MACALUSO, ANGELA DAVENPORT MACALUSO, AND DOES 1--5, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Janis L. SammartinoUnited States District Judge

ORDER (1) SUA SPONTE REMANDING CASE AND

(2) DISMISSING EX PARTE MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE AS MOOT

(Doc. No. 3.)

Plaintiff filed an unlawful detainer action against Defendants in the Superior Court of California for the County of San Diego on September 24, 2010. (Doc. No. 1, Exhibit A.) Soon thereafter, Defendants filed a notice of removal in federal court. (Id. at 1.) The Court finds that it lacks jurisdiction over this matter and sua sponte remands the case to the Superior Court of California for the County of San Diego.

In cases "brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction," a defendant may remove the case to federal district court. 28 U.S.C. §1441(a). However, courts "strictly construe the removal statute against removal jurisdiction." Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (citations omitted). Therefore, "[f]ederal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Id. (citing Libhart v. Santa Monica Dairy Co., 592 F.2d 1062, 1064 (9th Cir. 1979)). The removing party bears the burden of establishing that federal subject matter jurisdiction exists. Emrich v. Touche Ross & Co., 846 F.2d 1190, 1195 (9th Cir. 1988).

The Court's subject matter jurisdiction encompasses federal question jurisdiction and diversity jurisdiction. The Court discusses each in turn.

To determine whether federal question jurisdiction exists, the Court looks to the plaintiff's complaint. Holmes Grp., Inc. v. Vornado Air Circulation Sys., Inc., 535 US 826, 830 (2002). The Court does not consider the defendant's answer, defenses, or counterclaims. Id. 831. In this case, Plaintiff's underlying claim is an unlawful detainer action filed under California law. (Doc. No. 1, Exhibit A.) Defendants do not contest this and argue instead that "this [C]court has jurisdiction pursuant to the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act since it seeks to enforce an invalid deed concerning real property." (Doc. No. 1 at 2.) Even assuming these allegations are true, they cannot be taken into consideration for determining whether removal is appropriate. Consequently, there is no federal question basis for removal.

There is also no basis for diversity jurisdiction in this case. Diversity jurisdiction requires that the plaintiffs and defendants be of different citizenship and that the amount in controversy exceed $75,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff's complaint indicates that the amount demanded does not exceed $25,000. (Doc. No. 1, Exhibit A.) Because at least one of the two requirements for diversity jurisdiction is not met, there is no diversity jurisdiction basis for removal.

Defendants fail to establish that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the matter. Thus, this matter is REMANDED to the Superior Court of California for the County of San Diego. Defendants' ex parte motion to consolidate cases is DISMISSED AS MOOT. (Doc. No. 3.) The Clerk SHALL close the file.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20110119

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