United States District Court, E.D. California
NEXT GENERATION CAPITAL LLC, DBA NEXT GENERATION CAPITAL II, LLC, Plaintiff
CHRIS SCOTT AND DOES 1 TO 10, INCLUSIVE Defendants.
SUA SPONTE REMAND
L. Nunley United States District Judge
matter is before the Court pursuant to Defendant Chris
Scott’s (“Defendant”) Notice of Removal and
Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1-2.) For the
reasons set forth below, Defendant’s Motion to Proceed
in Forma Pauperis is GRANTED. The Court hereby remands the
action to the Superior Court of California, County of
Sacramento, due to lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
about June 21, 2016, Plaintiff Next Generation LLC dba Next
Generation Capital II, LLC (“Plaintiff”) brought
an action against Defendant for possession of the real
property known as 3804 Norris Ave., Sacramento, CA, 95821
(“the Property”). (Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1
at 6.) The complaint alleges that Plaintiff’s
predecessor in interest purchased the Property on or about
November 2, 2015. (ECF No. 1 at 7.) Plaintiff asserts that
Defendant is the former owner of the Property and alleges
that Defendant was served with a Notice to Quit on June 17,
2016. (ECF No. 1 at 7.) Plaintiff asserts that Defendant
remains in possession of the property after expiration of the
Notice to Quit. (ECF No. 1 at 8.)
STANDARD OF LAW
U.S.C. § 1441 permits the removal to federal court of
any civil action over which “the district courts of the
United States have original jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(a). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1443(1), removal of an
action to federal court is also permitted where the pending
action is “[a]gainst any person who is denied or cannot
enforce in the courts of such State a right under any law
providing for the equal civil rights of citizens of the
United States, or of all persons within the jurisdiction
thereof.” 28 U.S.C. § 1443(1). “Removal is
proper only if the court could have exercised jurisdiction
over the action had it originally been filed in federal
court.” Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482
U.S. 386, 392 (1987).
“strictly construe the removal statute against removal
jurisdiction, ” and “the defendant always has the
burden of establishing that removal is proper.”
Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir.
1992) (per curiam). Furthermore, “[i]f the district
court at any time determines that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over the removed action, it must remedy the
improvident grant of removal by remanding the action to state
court.” California ex rel. Lockyer v. Dynegy,
Inc., 375 F.3d 831, 838, as amended, 387 F.3d 966 (9th
Cir. 2004), cert. denied 544 U.S. 974 (2005).
removed this case to this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1441.
(ECF No. 1 at 2.) 28 U.S.C. § 1441 provides two paths to
removal: 1) federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331; and 2) diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332. Defendant’s removal action does not
specify on which grounds he seeks removal under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441. However, Defendant’s briefing provides no
legal argument in support of removal under either federal
question or diversity grounds and the Court finds no basis
under which to exercise its jurisdiction.
respect to federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331, the complaint itself contains only a single
claim for unlawful detainer. (ECF No. 1 at 5-8.) Defendant
fails to identify any federal law under which the action was
brought. In fact, Defendant’s removal notice refers
only to a California law - California Code of Civil Procedure
§ 1161(2). (ECF No. 1 at 2.) Under the well-pleaded
complaint rule, “federal [question] jurisdiction exists
only when a federal question is presented on the face of the
plaintiff’s properly pleaded complaint.”
Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 386. The instant complaint
relies solely on California state law and does not mention
expressly or impliedly any federal law or statute. The
well-pleaded complaint rule makes the plaintiff the master of
his claim, so he may avoid federal jurisdiction by basing his
claim exclusively on state law, as is the case here.
Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 392.
under diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332, requires
that the parties be citizens of different states and that the
amount in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000.
28 U.S.C. § 1332. Defendant has failed to show by a
preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy
has been met. Abrego Abrego v. The Dow Chem. Co.,
443 F.3d 676, 683 (9th Cir. 2006) (“[T]he removing
defendant has always borne the burden of establishing federal
jurisdiction, including any applicable amount in controversy
requirement.”). Moreover, Defendant has similarly
failed to make any argument to indicate that his state
citizenship is diverse from Plaintiff. Id.
Therefore, the Court cannot find a basis for removal under
‘strong presumption’ against removal jurisdiction
means that the defendant always has the burden of
establishing that removal is proper.” Gaus,
980 F.2d at 566. For the reasons stated, Defendant has failed
to demonstrate that this Court has subject matter
jurisdiction to hear this action. Therefore, it is
appropriate to remand this case, sua sponte, for
lack of federal jurisdiction. See United Investors Life
Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 967
(9th Cir. 2004) (“the district court ha[s] a duty to
establish subject matter jurisdiction over the removed action
sua sponte, whether the parties raised the issue or
for the reasons stated above, Defendant’s motion to
proceed in forma pauperis (EC No. 2) is GRANTED, and the
Court hereby remands this action to the ...