UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
June 30, 2011
TWIN OAKS VALLEY RANCH
JOE S. LUJAN, ET AL.,
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Janis L. SammartinoUnited States District Judge
ORDER: (1) SUA SPONTE LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AS MOOT (ECF No. 2) (2) DENYING MOTION FOR REMANDING CASE;
Plaintiff filed an unlawful detainer action against Defendants in San Diego County Superior Court on May 27, 2011. (Notice of Removal Ex. A (Compl.), ECF No. 1-1.) On June 28, 2011, Defendant Joe S. Lujan removed the case to this Court. (Notice of Removal, ECF No. 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 U.S. 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. (Compl.) Lujan does not contest this and states only that Peters & Freedman LLP-which is not a party to this action-violated certain provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. (Notice of Removal 2.)
Even assuming that 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 and Defendant are both California residents, and accordingly, the complete diversity requirement is not satisfied. (Notice of Removal 1; Compl. 1.) Because at least one of the two requirements for diversity jurisdiction is not met, there is no diversity jurisdiction basis for removal.
Defendant fails 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. Defendant's pending motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED AS MOOT. (ECF No. 2.) The Clerk SHALL close the file.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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