United States District Court, S.D. California
HCA EASTLAKE APARTMENTS L.P dba BONITA HILLS APARTMENTS, Plaintiff,
JOSEPH AKINO, III; EMILROSE L. AKINO; DOES I to X, inclusive, Defendants.
ORDER SUA SPONTE REMANDING ACTION TO STATE
Gonzalo P. Curiel Judge
14, 2016, Defendants filed a notice of removal of this
unlawful detainer action from the Superior Court of the State
of California for San Diego County. Having reviewed
Defendants' notice of removal, the Court finds it does
not have subject matter jurisdiction over this action.
Accordingly, the Court sua sponte REMANDS the action
to state court.
federal court is one of limited jurisdiction. Lowdermilk
v. U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n, 479 F.3d 994, 997 (9th
Cir. 2007). It possesses only that power authorized by the
Constitution or a statute. See Bender v. Williamsport
Area Sch. Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986). It is
constitutionally required to raise issues related to federal
subject matter jurisdiction, and may do so sua
sponte. Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better
Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 93-94 (1998); see Indus.
Tectonics, Inc. v. Aero Alloy, 912 F.2d 1090, 1092 (9th
Cir.1990). Removal jurisdiction is governed by 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441 et seq. A state court action can only be
removed if it could have originally been brought in federal
court. Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386,
392, 107 (1987); Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480,
1485 (9th Cir.1996). Thus, for an action to be removed on the
basis of federal question jurisdiction, the complaint must
establish either that federal law creates the cause of action
or that the plaintiff's right to relief necessarily
depends on the resolution of substantial questions of federal
law. Franchise Tax Board of Cal. v. Construction Laborers
Vacation Trust for Southern Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 10-11
(1983). Alternatively, a federal court may have diversity
jurisdiction over an action involving citizens of different
states where the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28
U.S.C. § 1332.
presence or absence of federal question jurisdiction "is
governed by the ‘well-pleaded complaint rule, '
which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a
federal question is presented on the face of plaintiff's
properly pleaded complaint." Caterpillar, Inc. v.
Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987).
review of the state court complaint in this case shows that
Plaintiff alleges a single unlawful detainer claim under
California state law. (Dkt. No. 1-2 at 3-5.) It also alleges
that the amount demanded does not exceed $10, 000 and seeks
the amount of unpaid rent. (Id.)
burden of establishing federal jurisdiction is on the party
seeking removal, and the removal statute is strictly
construed against removal jurisdiction." Emrich v.
Touche Ross & Co., 846 F.2d 1190, 1195 (9th Cir.1988).
"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.
notice of removal, Defendants allege that the Court has
jurisdiction pursuant to a federal question because their
demurrer depends on federal law. (Dkt. No. 1 -2 at 6-8.) A
review of the demurrer presents no federal question. Even if
the demurrer alleged a federal question, Defendants'
alleged federal "claims" are most likely defenses
or counterclaims against Plaintiffs claims. However, neither
defenses nor counterclaims are considered in evaluating
whether a federal question appears on the face of a Plaintiff
s complaint. Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49, 60
(2009) (federal question jurisdiction cannot "rest upon
an actual or anticipated counterclaim"); Valles v.
Ivy Hill Corp., 410 F.3d 1071, 1075 (9th Cir. 2005)
("A federal law defense to a state-law claim does not
confer jurisdiction on a federal court, even if the defense
is that of federal preemption and is anticipated in the
plaintiffs complaint."). As such, Defendants'
allegations do not establish federal question jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
have not adequately established a basis for this Court's
subject matter jurisdiction. The Court must remand the case.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
on the above, the Court sua sponte REMANDS the
action to the Superior Court of the State of ...