The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dean D. Pregerson United States District Judge
cc: order, docket, remand letter to Los Angeles Superior Court, North District, No. 12L00531
ORDER REMANDING CASE FOR LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
Plaintiff filed an unlawful detainer complaint against Defendant in state court on December 13, 2012. Defendant removed the action to this court on March 6, 2013. It appears, however, that there is no federal subject matter jurisdiction in this action. Plaintiff's unlawful detainer complaint raises only issues of state law, and the amount in controversy does not exceed $75,000. Plaintiff's complaint alleges on its face an amount in controversy less than $10,000. In unlawful detainer cases, only the right to possession is at issue, not right to title. See Litton Loan Servicing, L.P. v. Villegas, No. C 10-05478 PJH, 201l WL 204322 at *2 (N.D. Cal. January 21, 2011). The measure of damages, therefore, is the amount sought in the complaint, not the value of the property. Bank of America v. Chishty, No. CV 12--02252 MMM, 2012 WL 1952834 at *2 (C.D. Cal. May 31, 2012). Because the amount in controversy here does not exceed $75,000, diversity jurisdiction is lacking, and removal is, therefore, improper.
District courts have original jurisdiction over "all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Though Defendant asserts various federal defenses, "[u]nder the longstanding well-pleaded complaint rule, . . . a suit 'arises under' federal law only when the plaintiff's statement of his own cause of action shows that it is based upon federal law." Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49, 60 (2009) (quotation, citation, and alteration omitted). "Federal law" cannot be predicated on a defense or counterclaim. Id. Defenses based on federal law are, therefore, insufficient to create federal jurisdiction. See HSBC Bank USA v. Santiago, No. CV 10-04127, 2011 WL 165382, at *1-2 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 18, 2011).
This court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's complaint and remands this case to state court.
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