United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER REMANDING THE MATTER TO KERN COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION, AND TERMINATING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AS MOOT
JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.
Armando Ramirez seeks removal of an unlawful detainer action filed in Kern County Superior Court. (Doc. 1). Because the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the complaint, the action is REMANDED to Kern County Superior Court.
1. Factual and Procedural History
On December 31, 2013, Plaintiff Con Am Management Corporation filed a complaint against Armando Ramirez and Socorro Reina Maduena for unlawful detainer in Kern County Superior Court, Case No. D-1503-CL-14015. The defendants failed to file an answer or otherwise respond to the complaint. ( See Doc. 1 at 2.) Therefore, Plaintiff requested the entry of default on February 11, 2014. ( See Doc. 1 at 7-8.) The Clerk of Court granted default judgment, and a writ of possession for the property was issued. ( See Doc. 1 at 5.)
On June 5, 2014, Armando Ramirez ("Defendant") filed a Notice of Removal and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, thereby attempting to initiate the action in this Court. (Docs. 1-2.)
II. Removal Jurisdiction
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), a defendant has the right to remove a matter to federal court where the district court would have original jurisdiction. Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 286, 392 (1987). Specifically,
Except otherwise expressly provided by Act of Congress, any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). District courts have "original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." Id. at § 1331.
A party seeking removal must file a notice of removal of a civil action within thirty days of receipt of a copy of the initial pleading. Id. at § 1446(b). Removal statutes are to be strictly construed, and any doubts are to be resolved in favor of state court jurisdiction and remand. See Gaus v. Miles, 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). The party seeking removal bears the burden of proving its propriety. Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir. 1996); Abrego v. Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d 676, 683-85 (9th Cir. 2006); see also Calif. ex. rel. Lockyer v. Dynegy, Inc., 2274 F.3d 831, 838 ("the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction falls to the party invoking the statute"). If there is any doubt as to the right of removal, "federal jurisdiction must be rejected." Duncan, 76 F.3d at 1485.
The district court has "a duty to establish subject matter jurisdiction over [a] removed action sua sponte, whether the parties raised the issue or not." United Investors Life Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed, Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 967 (9th Cir. 2004); see also Kelton Arms Condo. Homeowners Ass'n v. Homestead Ins. Co., 346 F.3d 1190, 1192-93 (9th Cir. 2003) (noting a distinction between procedural and jurisdictional defects and holding that a "district court must remand if it lacks jurisdiction"). Thus, the Sixth Circuit explained a court "can, in fact must, dismiss a case when it determines that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction, whether or not a party has a filed a motion." Page v. City of Southfield, 45
F.3d 128, 133 (6th Cir. 1995).
III. Discussion and Analysis
A. The Court lacks jurisdiction over ...