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Family Lodging Investment Properties, LLC v. Rodney L. Murphy

August 5, 2012

FAMILY LODGING INVESTMENT PROPERTIES, LLC,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
RODNEY L. MURPHY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER REMANDING THE MATTER TO KERN COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT

Rodney Murphy ("Defendant") seeks removal of an unlawful detainer action filed by Plaintiff Family Lodging Investment Properties, LLC ("Plaintiff") in Kern County Superior Court. (Doc. 1). For the following reasons, the action is REMANDED to Kern County Superior Court.

1. Procedural History

Plaintiff commenced this action by filing a summons and complaint for unlawful detainer pursuant to Cal. Code of Civ. Pro. § 1161a, on June 1, 2012, in Kern County Superior Court, Case No. S-1500-CL-268790. (Doc. 1 at 5-10). Defendant filed a notice of removal of the action on July 30, 2012, thereby commencing the action in this court. (Doc. 1). Defendant contends the procedural requirements for removal are satisfied, and that removal is proper because the Court "has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and § 1441." Id. at 1-2.

II. Removal Jurisdiction

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), a defendant has the right to remove a matter to federal court 2 3 where the district court would have original jurisdiction. Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 286, 4 392 (1987). Specifically, 5

Except otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress, any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, 6 may be removed by the defendant or defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending. 7 8 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). District courts have "original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the 9 Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." Id. at § 1331.

A party seeking removal must file a notice of removal of a civil action within thirty days of receipt of a copy of the initial pleading. Id. at § 1446(b).Removal statutes are to be strictly construed, and any doubts are to be resolved in favor of state court jurisdiction and remand. See Gaus v. Miles, 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992).The party seeking removal bears the burden of proving its propriety. Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir. 1996); Abrego v. Dow Chem. Co., 443

F.3d 676, 683-85 (9th Cir. 2006); see also Calif. ex. rel. Lockyer v. Dynegy, Inc., 2274 F.3d 831, 838 ("the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction falls to the party invoking the statute").If there is any doubt as to the right of removal, "federal jurisdiction must be rejected." Duncan, 76 F.3d at 1485.

The district court has "a duty to establish subject matter jurisdiction over [a] removed action sua sponte, whether the parties raised the issue or not."United Investors Life Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed, Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 967 (9th Cir. 2004); see also Kelton Arms Condo. Homeowners Ass'n v. Homestead Ins. Co., 346 F.3d 1190, 1192-93 (9th Cir. 2003) (noting a distinction between procedural and jurisdictional defects and holding that a "district court must remand if it lacks jurisdiction").

Consequently, the Sixth Circuit explained that a court "can, in fact must, dismiss a case when it determines that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction, whether or not a party has a filed a motion." Page

v. City of Southfield, 45 F.3d 128, 133 (6th Cir. 1995).

III. Discussion and Analysis

The determination of subject matter jurisdiction "is governed by the "well-pleaded complaint rule,‟ which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff‟s properly pleaded complaint." Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 392. Therefore, the 2 complaint must establish "either that [1] federal law creates the cause of action or that [2] the 3 ...


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