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Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. v. Othoniel M. Ceballos

June 25, 2012

DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST CO.
v.
OTHONIEL M. CEBALLOS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding: The Honorable George H. King, U. S. District Judge

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CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

Beatrice Herrera N/A N/A Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder Tape No. Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendant:

None None Proceedings: (In Chambers) Order to Show Cause

On June 8, 2012, Defendant Othoniel M. Ceballos ("Defendant") removed the above-titled unlawful detainer action to this Court. The Notice of Removal ("NOR") asserts that we have jurisdiction based upon diversity of citizenship. The NOR also asserts that we have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1443(1), which provides that a defendant may remove from the state court any action "[a]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."

As a court of limited jurisdiction, see Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994); Finley v. United States, 490 U.S. 545, 547-48 (1989), we must determine the issue of subject matter jurisdiction before reaching the merits of a case. See Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better, 523 U.S. 83, 94 (1998).

We lack diversity jurisdiction over this matter

There is no basis for us to exercise diversity jurisdiction over this matter. "Jurisdiction founded on 28 U.S.C. § 1332 requires that parties be in complete diversity and the amount in controversy exceed $75,000." Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003). We find no basis for Defendant's assertion that the amount in controversy in this case exceeds the jurisdictional threshold of $75,000. In unlawful detainer cases, the right to possession -- not title to the property -- is at issue, and thus the amount in controversy is determined by the damages sought by the complaint. See Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Co. v. Soto, No. CV 11-1149 PA (AGRx), 2011 WL 590286, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 9, 2011) (citing Evans v. Superior Court, 67 Cal. App. 3d 162, 170 (1977)). Along with the NOR, Defendant attached the state court Complaint. On its face, the Complaint clearly states that the damages sought by Plaintiff do not exceed $10,000. As such, there is no diversity jurisdiction in this case.

We lack jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1443(1)

The NOR appears to argue that because of state court bias against Hispanics, Defendant was powerless to fight his eviction in state court. Defendant states that "[t]he California Superior Courts of Limited Jurisdiction, especially those in Los Angeles County, operate based on an institutionalized

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

CIVIL MINUTES - ...


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