United States District Court, C.D. California
January 23, 2015
Nora Ramirez, et al
Attorneys for Plaintiffs: N/A.
Attorneys for Defendants: N/A.
Honorable STEPHEN V. WILSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
Proceedings: IN CHAMBERS ORDER REMANDING THE CASE TO STATE COURT
Generally, removal jurisdiction is disfavored. Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). But it is proper if the case could have been filed in federal court originally. 28 U.S.C. § 1441; Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. v. Henson, 537 U.S. 28, 33, 123 S.Ct. 366, 154 L.Ed.2d 368 (2002). The removing party bears the burden of establishing subject-matter jurisdiction. Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566.
Defendant Nora Ramirez premised removal on federal question jurisdiction. (Doc. 1, Notice of Removal). According to the well-pleaded complaint rule, a federal question must inhere from the plaintiff's claims for relief. ARCO Envtl. Remediation, L.L.C. v. Department of Health & Envtl. Quality, 213 F.3d 1108, 1113 (9th Cir. 2000). This case, however, is an unlawful detainer action governed by California law, and it raises no apparent issues of federal law. Therefore, the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over this case and must remand it to state court. See, e.g., Matthew 01 Inv., LLC v. Bloom, No. CV 15-15-150-SVW-PLA, at *1-2 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 2015) (remanding a similar unlawful detainer case); Burbank Blvd Apts. Owner LLC v. Cabessa, No. CV 14-9902 SVW (AJWx), (C.D. Cal. Jan. 9, 2015) (same).
Ms. Ramirez attempts to generate a federal question through either her defenses or a counter-claim -- it is unclear which. To the extent she asserts that her defenses raise a federal question, 28 U.S.C. § 1331 does not provide a basis for jurisdiction. Franchise Tax Bd. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 14, 103 S.Ct. 2841, 77 L.Ed.2d 420 (1983) (" [A] case may not be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense.").
She also fails to identify a federal question to the extent she relies on a purported counterclaim. Ms. Ramirez's Notice of Removal raised the specter of a federal conspiracy claim arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Ms. Ramirez also refers criminal conspiracy, but that is inapposite in a civil action.) But the record reveals no Section 1983 claim or counter-claim. Of course, Ms. Ramirez can bring her own federal lawsuit alleging such a conspiracy, but she cannot remove this case based on a non-existent federal claim.
Ms. Ramirez failed to carry her burden of establishing subject-matter jurisdiction. Therefore, the Court sua sponte REMANDS this case to the California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles.