UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
January 17, 2012
ESPERANZA COMMUNITY HOUSING CORPORATION
SIMIN FARAJI ET AL
The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable Jacqueline H. Nguyen
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 July 6, 2011, Plaintiff Esperanza Community Housing Corporation ("Plaintiff") brought a Complaint for unlawful detainer against Defendant Simin Faraji dba La Maison de Creme ("Defendant") in state court. (Docket no. 1 at 12.) On January 10, 2012, Defendant removed the case to federal court. (Docket no. 1 at 1.) Having considered the Notice of Removal, the Court finds no federal jurisdiction and hereby REMANDS the case to Los Angeles County Superior Court.
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). The only exception to this rule is where plaintiff's federal claim has been disguised by "artful pleading," such as where the only claim is a federal one or is a state claim preempted by federal law. Sullivan v. First Affiliated Sec., Inc., 813 F.2d 1368, 1372 (9th Cir. 1987).
Here, although Defendant alleges that the claims arise under federal law, Plaintiff's only cause of action is for unlawful detainer under state law. (Compl. 1.) Therefore, no federal question jurisdiction exists.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, the Court also has original jurisdiction over civil actions where there is complete diversity of citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Morris v. Princess Cruises, Inc., 236 F.3d 1061, 1067 (9th Cir. 2001). However, neither the Complaint nor the Notice of Removal properly alleges complete diversity of citizenship of the parties. Without an allegation as to citizenship, Defendant cannot meet his burden of establishing diversity. Moreover, the Complaint specifically alleges that the damages do not exceed $10,000. (Compl. 1.) For these reasons, no diversity jurisdiction exists.
Defendant has failed to meet its burden of establishing federal jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court hereby REMANDS this matter to the Los Angeles County Superior Court.*fn1
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Initials of Preparer CSI