The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Gary Allen Feess
Present: The Honorable GARY ALLEN FEESS
Renee Fisher None N/A Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder Tape No.
Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants:
Proceedings: (In Chambers)
I. INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND
On January 25, 2012, Plaintiff Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Wells Fargo") filed this unlawful detainer action against Defendant Victoria H. Verches ("Verches") in Los Angeles County Superior Court. (Docket No. 1, Not. of Removal, Ex. A [Compl.].) Plaintiff alleges that it purchased Defendant's former real property in Claremont, California by virtue of a lawful foreclosure sale on October 21, 2011, and that Defendant has refused to quit the premises. (Id. ¶¶ 4--6.) Defendant removed the action to this Court on March 13, 2012, asserting that this Court has federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. (Not. ¶ 3, 11.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that federal subject matter jurisdiction does not exist in this case, and therefore REMANDS the case to Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(h)(3), "[i]f the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3). "[A] court may raise the question of subject matter jurisdiction, sua sponte, at any time during the pendency of the action . . . ." Snell v. Cleveland, Inc., 316 F.3d 822, 826 (9th Cir. 2002); see also United Investors Life Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed, Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 966 (9th Cir. 2004) ("Here the district court had a duty to establish subject matter jurisdiction over the removed action sua sponte, whether the parties raised the issue or not.").
The Ninth Circuit has held that courts must "strictly construe the removal statute against removal jurisdiction" and reject federal jurisdiction "if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted). "The strong presumption against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always ...