United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER REMANDING ACTION
D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
21, 2016, Defendant Nancy Marks removed this action to
federal court based on federal question jurisdiction. (ECF
No. 1, Notice.) After reviewing Defendant’s Notice of
Removal, it is clear that no federal question jurisdiction
exists, and therefore this Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction. Consequently, the Court summarily REMANDS this
unlawful detainer action to state court because Defendant
improperly removed it to federal court.
courts have subject matter jurisdiction only as authorized by
the Constitution and Congress. U.S. Const. art. III, §
2, cl. 1; see also Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). A suit filed in state
court may be removed to federal court only if the federal
court would have had original jurisdiction over the suit. 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a). Federal courts have original
jurisdiction where an action arises under federal law,
id. § 1331, or where each plaintiff’s
citizenship is diverse from each defendant’s
citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000,
id. § 1332(a).
removal statute is strictly construed against removal, and
“[f]ederal 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. 1992). The party seeking removal bears the
burden of establishing federal jurisdiction. Durham v.
Lockheed Martin Corp., 445 F.3d 1247, 1252 (9th Cir.
2006). The court may remand the action sua sponte
“[i]f at any time before final judgment it appears that
the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.”
28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); see also United Inv’rs
Life Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed Inc., 360 F.3d 960,
967 (9th Cir. 2004).
21, 2016, Defendant, having been sued in what appears to be a
routine unlawful detainer action in California state court,
lodged a Notice of Removal of that action to this Court.
stated, this action could not have been originally filed in
federal court because the complaint does not competently
allege facts supporting either diversity or federal question
jurisdiction, and therefore removal is improper. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(a), see Exxon Mobil Corp v. Allapattah Svcs.,
Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 563 (2005). Defendant’s Notice
of Removal only asserts that removal is proper based upon
federal question jurisdiction. (Notice 2.) However, the
underlying unlawful detainer action does not raise any
federal legal question.
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 the plaintiff’s properly
pleaded complaint.” Provincial Gov’t of
Marinduque v. Placer Dome, Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1091
(9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Rivet v. Regions Bank of
Louisiana, 522 U.S. 470, 475 (1998) (internal quotation
marks omitted). Plaintiff’s Complaint prays for relief
for unlawful detainer solely based on California’s
unlawful detainer laws under section 1161a of the California
Code of Civil Procedure. (Notice 10-12
(“Compl.”), ECF No. 1.) Because a claim for
unlawful detainer does not by itself present a federal
question or necessarily turn on the construction of federal
law, no basis for federal question jurisdiction appears on
the face of the Complaint. Defendant’s only means of
asserting federal law are through federal defenses, which are
not considered when evaluating jurisdiction. 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
reasons discussed above, the Court REMANDS the action to the
Superior Court, County of Los Angeles, Case No. 16R02230, for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(c). The Clerk of the Court shall close the case.
IS SO ORDERED.