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Union Bank v. Ronald M. Lebow

April 27, 2012

UNION BANK
v.
RONALD M. LEBOW, ET AL.



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 Plaintiff: Attorneys Present for Defendants:

None None

Proceedings: IN CHAMBERS - COURT ORDER

The Court is in receipt of a Notice of Removal filed on April 26, 2012 by Ronald M. Lebow ("Defendant"). Plaintiff Union Bank ("Plaintiff") filed its Complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court asserting a single cause of action for unlawful detainer. Defendant, who is appearing pro se, asserts that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction on the basis of 28 U.S.C. § 1343, which provides that district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action authorized by law to redress civil rights violations. Defendant also invokes the Court's diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

Federal courts are 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).

I. Removal Under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 1443

In Defendant's Notice of Removal, Defendant asserts that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1343, which provides that district courts shall have original jurisdiction where the plaintiff seeks redress for the deprivation of his or her civil rights. However, here, Plaintiff has not asserted any claims for civil rights violations; Plaintiff's Complaint alleges only a single cause of action for unlawful detainer.

To the extent that Defendant is seeking to remove pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1443, Defendant also fails to show that subject matter jurisdiction exists over this action. A defendant "who is denied or cannot enforce" his or her civil rights in state court may remove a civil action or criminal prosecution to federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1443. Section 1443(1) was enacted "to remove from state courts groundless charges not supported by sufficient evidence when these charges are based on race and deny one his federally protected equal rights as guaranteed by Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act." Walker v. , 417 F.2d 5, 9 (5th Cir. 1969). Section 1443 provides, in pertinent part, "Any of the following civil actions or criminal prosecutions, commenced in a State court may be removed by the defendant to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place wherein it is pending: (1) Against any person who is denied or cannot enforce in the courts of such State a right under any law providing for the equal civil rights of citizens of the United States, or of all persons within the jurisdiction thereof . . . ." 28 U.S.C. § 1443(1).

A petition for removal under § 1443(1) must satisfy the two-part test articulated by the Supreme Court in Georgia v. Rachel, 384 U.S. 780, 788--92, 794--804, 86 S. Ct. 1783, 16 L. Ed. 2d 925 (1966) and City of Greenwood, Miss. v. Peacock, 384 U.S. 808, 824--28, 86 S. Ct. 1800, 16 L. Ed. 2d 944 (1966). "First, the petitioners must assert, as a defense to the prosecution, rights that are given to them by explicit statutory enactment protecting equal racial civil rights." California v. Sandoval, 434 F.2d 635, 636 (9th Cir. 1970). "Second, petitioners must assert that the state courts will not enforce that right, and that ...


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