The opinion of the court was delivered by: Present: The Honorable Margaret M. Morrow
Deputy Clerk Court Reporter
Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants: None None
Proceedings: Order Remanding Action for Lack of Federal Question Jurisdiction
On December 13, 2011, plaintiff Arden Management, LLC ("Arden") filed this action against defendant Kalima Abdur-Raman and Does 1-10 inclusive in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles.*fn1 Abdur-Raman untimely removed this action to federal court, claiming that the court has federal question jurisdiction.*fn2
On December 8, 2011, Abdur-Raman was served with written notice
demanding the surrender of real property located at 5644 Etiwanda
Ave., Unit 3, Los Angeles, California 91356, to Arden within three
days following service of the written notice.*fn3
Abdur-Raman never surrendered possession.*fn4 Arden
claims it is the true owner of the residence following a non-judicial
foreclosure sale held in accordance with California Civil Code § 2924.*fn5
Its title was perfected by a recorded Trustee's Deed Upon
Abdur-Raman removed this action to federal court, claiming that Arden violated the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act and invoking the court's federal question jurisdiction.*fn7
On February 15, 2012, plaintiff filed a motion to remand the case to Los Angeles Superior *fn8 along with an ex parte application to shorten time for hearing.*fn9 In its motion and application, defendant avers that the state court action was scheduled for trial on February 3, 2012, but defendant's removal forced a continuance of that date until February 23, 2012.*fn10 Based on plaintiff's motion, the court directed defendant to respond to plaintiff's motion on or before February 21, 2012;*fn11 plaintiff has failed to file an opposition.
A. Federal Question Jurisdiction
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, district courts "have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States" (emphasis added). Federal question jurisdiction is presumed absent unless defendants, as the party seeking to invoke this court's jurisdiction, McNutt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936), show that plaintiffs have either alleged a federal cause of action, American Well Works Co. v. Layne & Bowler, 241 U.S. 257, 260 (1916) ("a suit arises under the law that creates the action"), a state cause of action that turns on a substantial dispositive issue of federal law, Franchise Tax Bd. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 9 (1983); Smith v. Kansas City Title & Trust Co., 255 U.S. 180, 199 (1921), or a state cause of action that Congress has transformed into an inherently federal cause of action by completely preempting the field of its subject matter, Avco Corp. v. Aero Lodge No. 735, 390 U.S. 557, 560 (1968); Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 481 U.S. 58, 65 (1987).
The question of whether a claim "arises under" federal law must be determined by reference to the "well-pleaded complaint." Franchise Tax Bd., supra, 463 U.S. at 9-10. Since a defendant may remove a case under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b) only if the claim could have been brought in federal court, the question for removal jurisdiction must also be determined by reference to the "well-pleaded complaint." Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 808 (1986). The well-pleaded complaint rule makes the plaintiff the "master of the claim" for purposes of removal jurisdiction. Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). Thus, where the plaintiff could maintain claims under both ...