United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable CHRISTINA A. SNYDER JUDGE.
PLAINTIFF DUKE PARTNERS, LLC’S MOTION TO REMAND
(DKT. 7, FILED MAY 24, 2016)
CHRISTINA A. SNYDER JUDGE.
Court finds this motion appropriate for decision without oral
argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; C.D. Cal. Local
Rule 7-15. Accordingly, the hearing date of June 27, 2016, is
vacated, and the matter is hereby taken under submission.
INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND
March 1, 2016, plaintiff Duke Partners LLC (“Duke
Partners”) filed an unlawful detainer action in the
Riverside County Superior Court against pro se
defendants Michael J. Wardrop and Martha S. Wardrop
(collectively, “defendants”). Dkt. 1, Ex. A
(Compl.). Duke Partners alleged that it purchased the real
property located at 13123 Lone Stallion Lane, Corona,
California at a foreclosure sale on February 3, 2016. Compl.
¶ 4, 8. Since the date of the foreclosure sale,
defendants have allegedly occupied the premises without
plaintiff’s consent. Id. ¶ 10.
Accordingly, on February 26, 2016, plaintiff served
defendants with a written notice demanding that defendants
deliver possession of the property within three days.
Id. ¶ 12. More than three days have elapsed
since, and plaintiffs have failed and refused to comply.
Id. ¶ 13. In its complaint, Duke Partners
asserts only a single claim for unlawful detainer under
California law. See generally Compl.
10, 2016, defendants removed this case to federal court,
asserting federal question jurisdiction. Dkt. 1 (Notice of
Removal). On May 24, 2016, plaintiff Duke Partners filed the
instant motion to remand. Dkt. 7. Defendants have not filed
an opposition in response to plaintiff’s
motion for remand is the proper procedure for challenging
removal. Remand may be ordered either for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction or for any defect in removal procedure.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). The Court strictly
construes the removal statutes against removal jurisdiction,
and jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to
the right of removal. See Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980
F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). The party seeking removal
bears the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction.
See Prize Frize, Inc. v. Matrix, Inc., 167 F.3d 1261
(9th Cir. 1999). A defendant may remove a case to federal
court if either the plaintiff’s claim establishes a
federal question, or if the court may properly exercise
diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. §§
here assert in their Notice of Removal that the Court may
exercise federal question jurisdiction over this action
because “[p]laintiff's claim is based upon a notice
which expressly references and incorporates the
‘Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009, ’
12 U.S.C. § 5201.” Notice Removal ¶ 7.
However, despite any such “reference” to
federal law in plaintiff’s complaint, a review of the
complaint makes clear that this Court does not have federal
question jurisdiction over the instant matter, which alleges
only a simple claim for unlawful detainer. See Wescom
Credit Union v. Dudley, No. CV 10-8203, 2010 WL 4916578,
*2 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 22, 2010) (“An unlawful detainer
action does not arise under federal law.”) (citation
omitted); IndyMac Federal Bank, F.S.B. v. Ocampo,
No. CV 09-2337, 2010 WL 234828, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 13,
2010) (remanding an action to state court for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction where plaintiff's complaint contained
only an unlawful detainer claim). Because plaintiff does not
allege facts supporting federal question jurisdiction, this
action could not have been brought in federal court, and
removal was accordingly improper. See 28 U.S.C.
1441(a); Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S.
386, 392 (1987) (“Only state-court actions that
originally could have been filed in federal court may be
removed to federal court by the defendant.”) (footnote
Court also notes that there is no merit to defendants’
apparent contention that federal question jurisdiction exists
because plaintiff allegedly violated certain notice
requirements that may exist under federal law. Notice of
Removal ¶ 7. It is well settled that a “case may
not be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal
defense . . . even if the defense is anticipated in the
plaintiff's complaint, and even if both parties concede
that the federal defense is the only question truly at
issue.” Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 393. Thus, to
the extent defendants’ defenses to the unlawful
detainer action are based upon alleged violations of federal
law, any such defenses do not provide a basis for federal
question jurisdiction. See id. Because
plaintiff’s complaint does not present a federal
question, either on its face or as artfully pled, the court
lacks jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
accordance with the foregoing, the Court hereby GRANTS
plaintiff’s motion to remand this case to the Riverside
County Superior Court.