The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Gary Allen Feess
Present: The Honorable GARY ALLEN FEESS
Renee Fisher None N/A Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder Tape No.
Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants:
Proceedings: (In Chambers)
On October 18, 2010, Plaintiff BDA Investment Properties, LLC ("Plaintiff") filed suit against Defendants Diocelina A. Sosa and Miguel Corona (collectively, "Defendants") in the Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging a state law cause of action for unlawful detainer. (Docket No. 1, Not., Ex. A [Compl.].) On March 4, 2011, Defendants removed the state court action to this Court in BDA Inv. Props., LLC v. Sosa, CV 11-01876-GAF (RZx) based on federal question jurisdiction, and the Court remanded the action back to state court on April 5, 2011, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Id. (Docket No. 13). After the case was remanded, Defendants again removed the state court action to this Court on April 29, 2011, alleging that subject matter jurisdiction exists in this case based on federal question and "protective jurisdiction." (Docket No. 1, Not.) In sum, Defendants allege that because Plaintiff's state law cause of action is a disguised claim under the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 ("the PTFA") and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 ("the EESA"), the state court action is removable pursuant to the artful pleading rule and the complete preemption doctrine. (Id. ¶¶ 6-20.) On May 9, 2011, Plaintiff filed an ex parte application to, among other things, remand this case to state court. (Docket No. 6, Ex Parte App. to Remand.) Based on the reasons discussed further below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's ex parte application and REMANDS the present action back to the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
FEDERAL QUESTION JURISDICTION
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of , 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). The burden of establishing jurisdiction rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction. Id. "Federal district courts have original federal question jurisdiction of actions 'arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.'" Sullivan v. First Affiliated Sec., Inc., 813 F.2d 1368, 1371 (9th Cir. 1987). "Generally, a claim 'arises under' federal law only if a federal question appears on the face of plaintiff's complaint." Hyung v. , 2011 WL 1543821, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 25, 2011) (citing Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987)). Thus, the plaintiff is considered to be the master of the complaint and "may defeat removal by choosing not to plead independent federal claims." ARCO Envt'l. Remediation, L.L.C. v. Dep't. of Health and Envt'l Quality of the State of Montana ("ARCO"), 213 F.3d 1108, 1114 (9th Cir. 2000) (citation omitted). Here, there are no federal causes of action alleged on the face of Plaintiff's complaint. (Compl.) As such, the only basis for federal question jurisdiction in this case would be pursuant to the "artful pleading rule." ARCO, 213 F.3d at 1114.
"[U]nder the artful pleading rule a plaintiff may not defeat removal by omitting to plead necessary federal questions in a complaint." Id. (internal quotation omitted). "Since its first articulation . . . courts have used the artful pleading doctrine in (1) complete preemption cases, and (2) substantial federal question cases." Lippitt v. Raymond James Fin. Servs., Inc., 340 F.3d 1033, 1041 (9th Cir. 2003) (internal citations omitted). If a complaint asserts only state law claims, a federal court may still have federal question jurisdiction over the dispute if "some substantial, disputed ...