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Dorothy Reitz v. Linda Tyson

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


February 7, 2012

DOROTHY REITZ
v.
LINDA TYSON

The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable Percy Anderson, United States District Judge

JS-6

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

Present: The Honorable PERCY ANDERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Paul Songco Not Reported N/A

Deputy Clerk Court Reporter Tape No.

Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants:

None None

Proceedings: IN CHAMBERS - COURT ORDER

The Court is in receipt of a Notice of Removal filed by defendant Linda Tyson ("Defendant") on February 6, 2012. Plaintiff Dorothy Reitz's ("Plaintiff") Complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, asserts a single cause of action for unlawful detainer. Defendant, who is appearing pro , asserts that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction on the basis of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S. Ct. 1673, 1675, 128 L. Ed. 2d 391 (1994). A "strong presumption" against removal jurisdiction exists. Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567 (9th Cir. 1992). In seeking removal, the defendant bears the burden of proving that jurisdiction exists. Scott v. Breeland, 792 F.2d 925, 927 (9th Cir. 1986).

Subject matter jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship requires all plaintiffs to have different citizenship from all defendants and that the amount in controversy exceed $75,000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332; Owen Equip. & Erection Co. v. Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 373, 98 S. Ct. 2396, 2402, 57 L. Ed. 2d 274 (1978). To establish citizenship for diversity purposes, a natural person must be a citizen of the United States and be domiciled in a particular state. Kantor v. Wellesley Galleries, Ltd., 704 F.2d 1088, 1090 (9th Cir. 1983). Persons are domiciled in the places they reside with the intent to remain or to which they intend to return. See Kanter v. Warner-Lambert Co., 265 F.3d 853, 857 (9th Cir. 2001).

In her Notice of Removal, Defendant alleges that both she and Plaintiff are citizens of California. As a result, this action is not between citizens of different states and diversity jurisdiction does not exist. Moreover, although Defendant alleges that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 (Notice of Removal 3:1-6), the caption of the Complaint clearly states that the amount demanded does not exceed $10,000. In unlawful detainer actions, the title to the property is not involved - only the right to possession is implicated. Evans v. Superior Court, 67 Cal. App. 3d 162, 170 (1977). As such, the amount in controversy is determined by the amount of damages sought in the Complaint, rather than the value of the subject real property. Id. Here, Plaintiff alleges in the prayer of the Complaint that she is only seeking possession of the premises, costs of suit, and past-due rent of $2,400. Defendant has therefore failed to show that this action meets the minimum jurisdictional requirement.

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant has failed to meet her burden of showing that diversity jurisdiction exists over this action. Accordingly, because the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, this action is hereby remanded to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case No.11U03807. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20120207

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