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Onewest Bank Fsb v. Bertha L Washington et al

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


January 12, 2012

ONEWEST BANK FSB
v.
BERTHA L WASHINGTON ET AL

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Jacqueline H. Nguyen

CIVIL MINUTES-GENERAL

Title:

Present: The Honorable JACQUELINE H. NGUYEN

Chris Silva Not Reported N/A

Deputy Clerk Court Reporter/Recorder Tape No.

Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants:

Not Present Not Present

Proceedings: ORDER REMANDING CASE TO LOS ANGELES COUNTY

SUPERIOR COURT (In Chambers)

On August 3, 2011, Plaintiff One West Bank, FSB ("Plaintiff") brought a Complaint for unlawful detainer against Defendants Bertha L. Washington ("Defendant") in state court. Judgment was entered against Defendant on October 13, 2011. On December 2, 2011, Defendants removed the case to federal court. (Docket no. 1.) Having considered the Notice of Removal, the Court finds no federal jurisdiction and hereby REMANDS the case to Los Angeles County Superior Court.*fn1

I. Legal Standard

Removal to federal court is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1441, which in relevant part states that "any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the defendants . . . ." 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). However, the Court may remand a case to state court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). "The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction is on the party invoking federal jurisdiction." U.S. v. Marks, 530 F.3d 799, 810 (9th Cir. 2008).

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, the Court has original jurisdiction over civil actions "arising under" federal law. "The presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed by the 'well-pleaded complaint rule,' which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint." Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). A case may not be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense, even if the defense is anticipated in the Plaintiff's complaint. Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust for S. Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 14 (1983).

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, the Court has original jurisdiction over civil actions where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 and all parties are completely diverse from one another. The amount in controversy is controlled by the complaint. St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab Co. 303 U.S. 283, 288 (1983).

II. Discussion

In the present case, Plaintiff's complaint clearly invokes a single state law claim for unlawful detainer in violation of California Civil Code § 1161(a). (Compl. 1.) Since no federal question is presented on the face of the complaint, no federal question jurisdiction exists. See Gully v. First Nat'l Bank, 299 U.S. 109, 113 (1936) (the federal question "must be disclosed upon the face of the complaint, unaided by the answer or petition for removal.").

There is also no diversity jurisdiction in this case. Plaintiff claims less than $10,000 in damages. (Compl. 1.) Thus, the amount in controversy falls far short of the requisite $75,000.

III. Conclusion

Defendant has failed to meet her burden of establishing jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court hereby REMANDS this matter to the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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