The opinion of the court was delivered by: 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)
INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND
On February 24, 2012, Plaintiff Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("FHLM") filed an unlawful detainer complaint against Defendants Jose J. Madrigal and Isidora C. Madrigal in Los Angeles County Superior Court. (Docket No. 1 [Not. of Removal], Ex. 1 [Compl.].) Plaintiff alleges that it purchased Defendants' real property in Norwalk, California by virtue of a lawful foreclosure sale on January 30, 2012, that Defendants refuse to quit the premises, and that Plaintiff has accrued damages at an amount to be determined at trial since February 23, 2012. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 11-15, Exs. A--C.) Defendants removed the action to this Court on July 23, 2012, asserting this Court's jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 (federal question jurisdiction), 1332 (diversity jurisdiction), and 1443 (civil rights removal). (Not. of Removal at 9-20.) However, for the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that Defendants have failed to establish this Court's subject matter jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court REMANDS the case to state 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 ...