The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable John A. Kronstadt, United States District Judge
Present: The Honorable JOHN A. KRONSTADT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Andrea Keifer Not Reported
Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder
Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants:
Proceedings: (IN CHAMBERS) ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
On June 7, 2012, Plaintiff THR California, LLC ("Plaintiff") filed an action for unlawful detainer action in the Superior Court for the State of California, County of Los Angeles, against Defendant Terry E. Hunt ("Defendant"), seeking possession of the property located at 9167 S. Cullen Way, Inglewood, California (the "Property"). Compl., Notice of Removal, Exh. A, Dkt. 1. Plaintiff alleges that it acquired the Property on April 27, 2012 at a trustee's sale following foreclosure. Id. at ¶ 5. Plaintiff seeks damages not in excess of $10,000. Id. at p.1. On August 7, 2012, Defendant removed the action to this Court. See Notice of Removal, Dkt. 1.
As a court of limited jurisdiction, see Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994), this Court must determine the issue of subject matter jurisdiction before reaching the merits of a see Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't., 523 U.S. 83, 94 (1998). Defendant seeks to invoke the subject matter jurisdiction of this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question jurisdiction).
Federal question jurisdiction exists where a civil action arises "under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
For a case to 'arise under' federal law, a plaintiff's well-pleaded complaint must establish either (1) that federal law creates the cause of action or (2) that the plaintiff's asserted right to relief depends on the resolution of a substantial question of federal law. Federal jurisdiction cannot hinge upon defenses or counterclaims, whether actual or anticipated.
K2 Am. Corp. v. Roland Oil & Gas, LLC, 653 F.3d 1024, 1029 (9th Cir. 2011). Plaintiff's unlawful detainer complaint, Notice of Removal, Exh. A, Dkt. 1, does not contain a cause of action that arises under federal law, nor does it raise a federal question; it alleges only unlawful detainer under California state law. Defendant argues that federal question jurisdiction exists because he raises a defense under the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, 12 U.S.C. § 5220. "However, the existence of a defense based upon federal law is insufficient to support jurisdiction," Wayne v. DHL Worldwide Express, 294 F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir. 2002); "the existence of federal jurisdiction on removal must be determined from the face of plaintiff's complaint." Westinghouse Elec. Corp. v. Newman & Holtzinger, P.C., 992 F.2d 932, 934 (9th Cir. 1993). Thus, such a defense does not confer subject matter jurisdiction on this
The party seeking to establish the Court's jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing it. Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377. Here, Defendant has not properly pleaded the presence of a federal question under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Accordingly, the Court issues this Order to Show Cause re Subject Matter Jurisdiction. On or before September 21, 2012, the parties are to submit any memoranda, each of which is not to exceed five pages, with respect to whether this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action. Upon receiving these memoranda, ...