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Garcia v. Caliber Home Loans, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

November 28, 2014

Maria J. Garcia et al.
Caliber Home Loans, Inc. et al

For Maria J. Garcia, an individual, Reynold Garcia, an individual, Plaintiffs: Lotfy Mrich, LEAD ATTORNEY, Equity Law Group LLP, Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

For Caliber Home Loans, Inc., Summit Management Company, LLC, as Trustee, Defendants: David T Biderman, LEAD ATTORNEY, Ofunne Nkechi Edoziem, Perkins Coie LLP, Los Angeles, CA.




Before the Court is a Notice of Removal filed by defendants Caliber Home Loans, Inc. and Summit Management Company, LLC (" Defendants") on November 24, 2014. Defendants assert that this Court has jurisdiction over the action brought against them by plaintiffs Maria J. Garcia and Reynold Garcia (" Plaintiffs") based on the Court's diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 1675, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). A suit filed in state court may be removed to federal court if the federal court would have had original jurisdiction over the suit. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). A removed action must be remanded to state court if the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). " The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction is on the party seeking removal, and the removal statute is strictly construed against removal jurisdiction." Prize Frize, Inc. v. Matrix (U.S.) Inc., 167 F.3d 1261, 1265 (9th Cir. 1999). " Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992).

In attempting to invoke this Court's diversity jurisdiction, Defendants must prove that there is complete diversity of citizenship between the parties and that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. To establish citizenship for diversity purposes, a natural person must be a citizen of the United States and be domiciled in a particular state. Kantor v. Wellesley Galleries, Ltd., 704 F.2d 1088, 1090 (9th Cir. 1983). Persons are domiciled in the places they reside with the intent to remain or to which they intend to return. See Kanter v. Warner-Lambert Co., 265 F.3d 853, 857 (9th Cir. 2001). " A person residing in a given state is not necessarily domiciled there, and thus is not necessarily a citizen of that state." Id. For the purposes of diversity jurisdiction, a corporation is a citizen of any state where it is incorporated and of the state where it has its principal place of business. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c); see also Indus. Tectonics, Inc. v. Aero Alloy, 912 F.2d 1090, 1092 (9th Cir. 1990).

The Notice of Removal alleges that Plaintiffs are " citizens of the State of California, " citing Plaintiffs' Complaint at ¶ ¶ 1-2. Notice of Removal ¶ 6. However, the Complaint only alleges that Plaintiffs " are the owners in fee simple of [property] located on 7117 Mammoth Avenue, Van Nuys, California 91405." The Complaint does not refer to Plaintiffs' place of domicile or citizenship. An individual is not necessarily domiciled where he or she resides. Defendants' allegations of Plaintiffs' citizenship, based on allegations of ownership of property, are insufficient to establish Plaintiffs' citizenship. See Kanter, 265 F.3d at 857. " Absent unusual circumstances, a party seeking to invoke diversity jurisdiction should be able to allege affirmatively the actual citizenship of the relevant parties." Id.; Bradford v. Mitchell Bros. Truck Lines, 217 F.Supp. 525, 527 (N.D. Cal. 1963). As a result, Defendants' allegations are insufficient to invoke this Court's diversity jurisdiction.

For the foregoing reason, Defendants have failed to meet their burden to demonstrate the Court's diversity jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court remands this action to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case No. LC102320. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).


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