United States District Court, N.D. California, Oakland Division
ORDER REMANDING ACTION
SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG Senior United States District Judge
2010, Plaintiff Roy Bartlett (“Plaintiff”)
initiated a partition action against Defendant Marci Patera
(“Defendant”) in the Superior Court of
California, Contra Costa County. On July 12, 2016, Defendant,
acting pro se, filed a Notice of Removal
(“Notice”) based on federal question
jurisdiction. Dkt. 1. The Court hereby REMANDS the action,
sua sponte, for the reasons stated below.
The State Court Action
January 7, 2010, Plaintiff initiated the instant action
against Defendant in the Superior Court of California, Contra
Costa County (the “Superior Court”). Compl., Dkt.
1, Ex. A. Pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure
section 872.210, the Complaint alleged a single state law
claim for partition of real and personal property.
parties executed a Settlement Agreement, Stipulation for
Judgment and Order Incorporating the Settlement Agreement in
April 2012, and an Addendum to the Settlement Agreement in
November 2012. See Order Enforcing Settlement
Agreement (“Enforcement Order”), Dkt. 1, Ex. B.
The Superior Court adopted the Settlement Agreement and
Addendum, thereby entering judgment. See id. at 1
(citing Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 664.6 (a superior court
may enter judgment pursuant to the terms of the
parties’ settlement agreement, and may retain
jurisdiction over the parties to enforce the settlement)).
Plaintiff filed a motion to enforce the Settlement Agreement,
which the Superior Court granted on or about January 25,
2016. See Enforcement Order. Among other things, the
Superior Court ordered the clerk of the court to execute
documents necessary to effectuate the settlement, including a
“Payoff Demand by Patera’s Judgment Creditor
Joallyn Bohn” (the “default judgment”), on
Defendant’s behalf. Id. at 2-3.
about May 9, 2016, Defendant appealed the Superior
Court’s order to the California Court of Appeal, First
District (the “Appellate Court”). Notice ¶
1. As indicated by the Appellate Court’s register of
actions, Defendant’s appeal is pending.
The Notice of Removal
12, 2016, Defendant removed the instant action to this Court
based on federal question jurisdiction. According to
Defendant, jurisdiction arises out of “multiple
violations of federal law” that occurred during the
course of the partition proceedings. Notice ¶ 9.
Specifically, Defendant alleges that the Enforcement Order
required her to pay a “default judgment that failed to
follow due process requirements.” Id. ¶
13. Defendant claims that she suffered a denial of due
process because she never received notice of the underlying
action in which the default judgment occurred. Id.
¶¶ 3-4. Defendant further alleges that the Superior
Court later voided the default judgment “for lack of
due process, ” which “confirmed due process
violations” in the partition action. Id.
¶¶ 2, 7, 13.
defendant may remove from state court any civil action over
which the federal district court would have original
jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). The basic statutory
grants of original jurisdiction are contained in 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331 and 1332, which confer upon district courts
federal question and diversity jurisdiction, respectively.
See Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 513
(2006). “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
Inc., 167 F.3d 1261, 1265 (9th Cir.1999). A district
court has “a duty to establish subject matter
jurisdiction over the removed action sua sponte,
” regardless of whether any party raises the issue.
United Inv’rs Life Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed
Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 967 (9th Cir. 2004) (lack of subject
matter jurisdiction cannot be waived or overcome by the
parties’ agreement); see also Arbaugh, 546
U.S. at 514 (same). “If at any time before final
judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded.” 28
U.S.C. § 1447(c).
removed the instant action, in which the Superior Court has
already issued a final judgment and enforcement orders, based
on federal question jurisdiction. The Court finds ...