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Federal National Mortgage Ass'n v. Garland

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

November 5, 2013

FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASS'N, Plaintiff,
v.
DANNY R. GARLAND, LUCY M. GARLAND, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS; ORDER OF REMAND; AND ORDER FORBIDDING REMOVAL OF THIS ACTION IN FUTURE

LARRY ALAN BURNS, District Judge.

In a separate case, 13cv1434-LAB (WVG), Federal National Mortgage Association v. Garland, Defendant Lucy Garland filed a notice of removal, well as a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). Defendant Danny Garland did not join in either of these. The Court denied the IFP motion, pointing out that it left open the possibility that Danny Garland might have income or assets sufficient to pay the filing fee. The Court pointed out that Danny Garland had not joined in the notice of removal as was required, and also ordered Defendants to show cause why the action should not be remanded for lack of jurisdiction. The order discussed the "well-pleaded complaint" doctrine, and cited Holmes Group, Inc. v. Vornado Air Circulation Systems, Inc., 535 U.S. 826, 831-32 (2002) in support of its discussion.

Defendants failed to respond to the Court's order to show cause, and the action was remanded on July 3, 2013.

On October 18, 2013, Lucy Garland again removed the identical state court action, and moved to proceed IFP. This time, she explained that Danny Garland had filed a petition for bankruptcy in this District's bankruptcy court. What she failed to mention is that his bankruptcy petition, number 13-02655-LT13, was dismissed on April 12, 2013 after Danny Garland failed to file required documents. Because Danny Garland again did not join in the IFP motion, it is DENIED.

Most of the notice of removal is legal gibberish that has apparently been cut and pasted from some other document or documents. There are some substantive, though not meritorious, arguments in the notice of removal. As in the previous removal, Lucy Garland argues that because she has federal defenses to the unlawful detainer action, this action is removable. Specifically, she argues that the state court is incorrectly applying state evidentiary law, resulting in federal constitutional equal protection or due process violations. As the Court told her previously, federal defenses do not create federal subject-matter jurisdiction. Furthermore, even assuming the state court is misapplying state law, errors of state law do not amount to federal constitutional violations. See Little v. Crawford, 449 F.3d 1075, 1083 n.6 (9th Cir. 2006).

Because most of the removal notice makes no sense, it seems unlikely she could have complied with Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(b)(2)'s requirements that she have undertaken an inquiry that was reasonable under the circumstances before making her arguments. In addition, she has already been told that federal defenses do not create jurisdiction, so she cannot now have a good faith belief that they do. The Court also notes that virtually identical notices of removal were filed in other cases in this Circuit, including HSBC Bank USA N.A. v. Garcia, 12cv365 (C.D.Cal., removed March 9, 2012) and U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Llopis, 12cv1289 (E.D.Cal., removed May 14, 2012), followed swiftly by remand. The Court cautions her that even though she is a pro se litigant, she must obey the same rules that apply to other litigants, see King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567 (9th Cir. 1987), and that she is not immune to sanctions.

Because the Court lacks jurisdiction over this action, it is immediately REMANDED to the court from which it was removed. Defendants are ORDERED not to remove or attempt to remove this action to federal court in the future.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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