United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: Honorable: ANDRÉ BIROTTE JR., U.S. DISTRICT
ORDER REMANDING MATTER TO STATE COURT
Honorable: ANDRÉ BIROTTE JR., U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
26, 2016, Maryam Pirian (“Plaintiff) instituted
unlawful detainer proceedings against Paul H. Noe and Does 1
to 10 (“Defendant”) in state court. Defendant has
allegedly continued in unlawful possession of the property
located at 539 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (the
“Property”) that is owned by Plaintiff through a
Trustee’s sale on May 4, 2013. (Complaint, ¶ 6.)
Defendant has remained in possession of the Property without
consent or authorization of the Plaintiff for the period May
4, 2013 to the present (Complaint, ¶ 8). On May 17,
2016, Defendant was served with a 3-Day Notice to Quit.
(Complaint, ¶ 9.) Plaintiff filed the unlawful detainer
complaint in state court after Defendant failed to comply
with the notice to quit. Plaintiff estimates the fair rental
value of the Property as $281.16 per day. On July 11, 2016,
Defendant filed a document in this Court entitled
“Notice of Removal, ” with a copy of the state
court unlawful detainer complaint attached. The face of the
document also refers to “Defendant, Paul H. Noe’s
Complaint, ” and the body of the document discusses the
claim that “Defendant” has against
“Plaintiff for violation of the Real Estate Settlement
Procedures Act (RESPA). Based on the language of the filings,
the Court interprets these documents as Defendant removing
the state court unlawful detainer complaint and then
asserting a counterclaim to that Complaint under RESPA.
Defendant asserts federal question jurisdiction in this Court
pursuant to RESPA, 12 U.S.C. § 2601-2610. (Notice of
Removal, ¶ 6.) Defendant’s “complaint”
against Plaintiff also asserts diversity jurisdiction under
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject
matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the
Constitution and Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen v.
Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). It is
this Court’s duty to always examine its own subject
matter jurisdiction, see Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp.,
546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006), and the Court may remand a case
summarily if there is an obvious jurisdictional issue.
Cf. Scholastic Entm’t, Inc. v. Fox Entm’t
Grp., Inc., 336 F.3d 982, 985 (9th Cir. 2003)
(“While a party is entitled to notice and an
opportunity to respond when a court contemplates dismissing a
claim on the merits, it is not so when the dismissal is for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”) (omitting
internal citations). A defendant attempting to remove an
action from state to federal court bears the burden of
proving that jurisdiction exists. See Scott v.
Breeland, 792 F.2d 925, 927 (9th Cir. 1986). Further a
“strong presumption” against removal jurisdiction
exists. See Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567
(9th Cir. 1992).
matter jurisdiction exists over civil actions “arising
under” federal law. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. A claim
arises under federal law “when a federal question is
presented on the face of plaintiff’s properly pleaded
complaint.” See Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams,
482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). Plaintiff’s Complaint herein
contains a single cause of action for unlawful detainer, a
state law claim. There is no federal question jurisdiction
even if there is a federal defense to the claim or a
counterclaim arising under federal law such as
Defendant’s apparent assertion of a counterclaim under
RESPA. See Caterpillar, Inc., 482 U.S. at 392-93;
GMAC Mortgage, LLC v. Bruce, 2010 WL 3069879 at *3
(E.D. Cal. 2010) (actual or potential RESPA counterclaim does
not provide jurisdiction to remove a state court unlawful
detainer complaint); U.S. Bank National Association v.
Ortiz, 2010 WL 4235858 (C.D. Cal. 2010) (possibility
that RESPA issues could arise in state court action did not
create removal jurisdiction). This is a simple state law
unlawful detainer case, and there is no federal question
presented on the face of Plaintiff’s Complaint.
it is clear from the face of the Complaint that no diversity
jurisdiction exists under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The amount
demanded on the face of the Complaint is alleged not to
exceed $10, 000 - well below the statutory threshold of $75,
000. The Complaint specifically asserts a claim for ongoing
damages at a rate of $281.16 per day from May 21, 2016.
Defendant has made no plausible allegations showing how those
damages would exceed $75, 000.
Court thus REMANDS the action to state court forthwith and
orders the Court Clerk promptly to serve this order on all