UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
February 13, 2013
EILEEN COKER, ET AL.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Present: The Honorable George H. Wu, United States District Judge
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
Javier Gonzalez None Present
Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder Tape No.
Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants:
None Present None Present
PROCEEDINGS (IN CHAMBERS): ORDER REMANDING ACTION TO STATE COURT
On June 8, 2012, Plaintiff DVP, L.P. ("Plaintiff") allegedly became the owner of real property located at 6616 Windsong Court, San Bernardino, CA 92407 (the "Subject Property") at a trustee's sale following foreclosure proceedings. Compl. ¶ 3. Defendants Eileen Coker, Randy Coker, and several unnamed individuals (collectively "Defendants") allegedly occupied the Subject Property and were served with a "Three Day Notice to Quit" on June 12, 2012. Defendants remained in possession of the Subject Property for more than three days after service thereof. Id. ¶ 5. On July 16, 2012, Plaintiff instituted unlawful detainer proceedings in state court. Id. at 1. Defendants Eileen Coker and Randy Coker, represented by counsel, removed the action to this Court on January 28, 2013 "based on a Federal Question." Notice of Removal, Docket No. 1 at 1.
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution or Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). It is this Court's duty to always examine its own subject matter jurisdiction, see Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006), and the Court may remand a case summarily if there is an obvious jurisdictional defect. Cf. Scholastic Entm't, Inc. v. Fox Entm't Grp., Inc., 336 F.3d 982, 985 (9th Cir. 2003) ("While a party is entitled to notice and an opportunity to respond when a court contemplates dismissing a claim on the merits, it is not so when the dismissal is for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.") (omitting internal citations). A defendant attempting to remove an action from state to federal court bears the burden of proving that jurisdiction exists. See Scott v. Breeland, 792 F.2d 925, 927 (9th Cir.1986). Further, a "strong presumption" against removal jurisdiction exists. See Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567 (9th Cir. 1992).
Federal subject matter jurisdiction exists over civil actions "arising under" federal law. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. A claim arises under federal law "when a federal question is presented on the face of plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint." Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). Plaintiff's complaint herein contains a single cause of action for unlawful detainer, a state law claim.
Initials of Preparer JG
Compl. at 1. Importantly, there is no federal question jurisdiction even if there is a federal defense to the claim or a counterclaim arising under federal law. See id. at 392-93. As a result, the fact that Defendants rested on federal statutes, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq. and 38 U.S.C. § 3703, in an Answer they filed in state court (see Notice of Removal, Docket No. 1 at 2-3) cannot serve as the basis for establishing federal question jurisdiction. This is a simple state law unlawful detainer case, and there is no federal question presented on the face of Plaintiff's complaint.
The Court thus REMANDS the action to state court, orders the Court Clerk promptly to serve this order on all parties who have appeared in this action, and VACATES the scheduling conference set for March 21, 2013 (see Docket No. 6).
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