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GW San Diego Properties, LLC v. Magness

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 11, 2015

MICHAEL S. MAGNESS and, DOES 1 through 10, inclusive, Defendants.


JOHN A. KRONSTADT, District Judge.

The Court orders the remand of this unlawful detainer action to the Superior Court summarily, because it was removed improperly.

On February 6, 2015, Doris Jones ("Jones") filed a Notice of Removal of an unlawful detainer action commenced by a complaint filed against Michael S. Magness ("Magness") on November 12, 2014, in Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 14F10645 (the "Complaint"). Jones also presented an application to proceed in forma pauperis. The Complaint alleges what appears to be a routine state law unlawful detainer claim against Magness (the "Unlawful Detainer Action"). The Court has denied the in forma pauperis application in a separate order because the Unlawful Detainer Action was not properly removed. To prevent the Unlawful Detainer Action from continuing to present a potentially confusing jurisdictional issue, the Court issues this Order to remand the action to the Superior Court.

Jones purports to remove to this Court the same Complaint at issue in Case No. CV 14-9073-UA-DUTY, GW San Diego Properties, LLC v. Michael S. Magness, et al. (the "Prior Case"). Pursuant to Rule 201 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Court takes judicial notice of the records and files in the Prior Case, in which, Magness purported to remove the Unlawful Detainer Action to this Court. On December 2, 2014, Chief Judge George H. King remanded the Unlawful Detainer Action, finding that neither federal question nor diversity jurisdiction was present.[1]

As Magness did in the Prior Case, Jones alleges that the action can be removed because this Court has original jurisdiction over the Unlawful Detainer Action pursuant to federal question jurisdiction and diversity jurisdiction. Jones asserts, again as Magness did in the Prior Case, that federal question jurisdiction exists, because: California's non-judicial foreclosure and judicial eviction procedures violate the civil rights of, and racially discriminate against, "Ethnic-Surname Americans (all of whom are presumed to be illiterate in the English language and therefore ignorant of their rights)"; and the plaintiff in the Unlawful Detainer Action acted fraudulently. To remove a case based upon federal question jurisdiction, however, the federal issue or claim must arise in the underlying complaint filed in the action that the defendant seeks to remove. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 808, 106 S.Ct. 3229 (1986) ("the question whether a claim arises under' federal law must be determined by reference to the well-pleaded complaint, ' and "the question for removal jurisdiction must" be determined based upon the complaint's allegations). "A defense that raises a federal question is inadequate to confer federal jurisdiction." Id. Even if Jones could establish that plaintiff acted fraudulently and/or that she has been subjected to a violation of her civil rights in connection with the real property which is the subject of the Unlawful Detainer Action, this would be a defense or cross-claim in the state action and/or provide the basis for a separate lawsuit. Jones's allegations do not confer federal question jurisdiction over the Unlawful Detainer Action.

With respect to Jones's contention that diversity jurisdiction exists, the Unlawful Detainer Action Complaint shows that the amount in controversy does not exceed the diversity jurisdiction threshold of $75, 000. Indeed, the Complaint expressly alleges that the "[a]mount in controversy does not exceed $10, 000.00." Thus, based on the face of the Complaint, diversity jurisdiction is lacking. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).

The Complaint does not allege any basis for federal subject-matter jurisdiction. Therefore, there is no basis for concluding that the Unlawful Detainer Action could have been brought initially in federal court. Therefore, removal was improper. 28 U.S.C. § 1441; see Exxon Mobil Corp v. Allapattah Svcs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 563, 125 S.Ct. 2611 (2005).

Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that: (1) this matter is REMANDED to the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County, 1725 Main Street, Room 232, Santa Monica, CA 90401, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); (2) the Clerk shall send a certified copy of this Order to the state court; and (3) the Clerk shall serve copies of this Order on the parties.

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