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Bank of America v. Chishty

May 31, 2012

BANK OF AMERICA
v.
CHISHTY



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Present: The Honorable Margaret M. Morrow

JS-6

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

ANEL HUERTA N/A Deputy Clerk Court Reporter

Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants: N/A N/A

Proceedings: Order Remanding Action to Los Angeles Superior Court for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Bank of America, N.A., filed this unlawful detainer action in Los Angeles Superior Court against defendant Nusrat M. Chishty, and certain fictitious defendants on August 30, 2011.*fn1 Defendant is allegedly the former owner of real property located at 9304 Lubec Street, Downey, California 90240 ("the property").*fn2 On May 6, 2005, defendant states that he became the owner of the property by virtue of a promissory note.*fn3 On June 7, 2007 defendant executed a short form deed of trust.*fn4 Defendant allegedly defaulted on the note. Pursuant to a power of sale clause in the deed of trust, the trustee proceeded with a non-judicial foreclosure, and the property was sold at a trustee's *fn5 A trustee's deed upon sale was subsequently recorded in Los Angeles County.*fn6 On May 10, 2011, plaintiff allegedly served a notice to quit on defendant, which required defendant to vacate the property within ninety days.*fn7 Plaintiff complains that, although more than ninety days have elapsed, defendant remains in possession of the property without plaintiff's permission or consent.*fn8 Plaintiff seeks possession of the property as well as damages in the amount of $132.08 per day (the allegedly reasonable daily rental value) for each day from August 10, 2011, until defendant relinquishes the property.*fn9 It also seeks costs of suit.*fn10 Defendant filed a notice of removal on March 16, 2012, invoking the court's diversity jurisdiction.*fn11

II. DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standard Governing Subject Matter Jurisdiction

"A district court has an independent obligation to examine whether removal jurisdiction exists before deciding any issue on the merits." Thiara v. Kiernan, No. C06-03503 MJJ, 2006 WL 3065568, *2 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 25, 2006); see also United Investors Life Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed, , 360 F.3d 960, 966 (9th Cir. 2004) ("[A] district court's duty to establish subject matter jurisdiction is not contingent upon the parties' arguments," citing Mitchell v. Maurer, 293 U.S. 237, 244 (1934)); see also Attorneys Trust v. Videotape Computer Products, Inc., 93 F.3d 593, 594-95 (9th Cir. 1996) (lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time by either party or by the court sua sponte).

When a case has been removed, the court may remand for lack of subject matter jurisdiction at any time before final judgment. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) ("If at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded"). The court may -- indeed must -- remand an action sua sponte if it determines that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction. See Kelton Arms Condominium Owners Ass'n v. Homestead Ins. Co., 346 F.3d 1190, 1192 (9th Cir. 2003) ("[W]e have held that the district court must remand if it lacks jurisdiction," Sparta Surgical Corp. v. Nat'l Ass'n Sec. Dealers, Inc., 159 F.3d 1209, 1211 (9th Cir. 1998)). For the reasons discussed below, the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and the action must be remanded to Los Angeles Superior Court.

B. Whether the Court Has Diversity Jurisdiction to Hear the Action

"The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs. . . ." 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a); see also Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003) ("[J]urisdiction founded on [diversity] requires that the parties be in complete diversity and the amount in controversy exceed $75,000").

In any case where subject matter jurisdiction is premised on diversity, there must be complete diversity, i.e, all plaintiffs must have citizenship different than all defendants. See Caterpillar Inc. v. Lewis, 519 U.S. 61, 68 & n. 3 (1996). 28 U.S.C. ยง 1441(b) states that "[a]ny . . . action [other than one involving a federal question] shall be removable only if none of the parties in interest ...


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