United States District Court, C.D. California
ROZELLA A. OLIVER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING APPLICATION TO
PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES OR COSTS
S. GUTIERREZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Lotus Property Services, Inc. ("Plaintiff) filed an
unlawful detainer action in Los Angeles County Superior Court
against Vispy Hosi Panthaki and Does 1 to 10
("Defendants") on or about December 30, 2016.
Notice of Removal ("Removal") & Attached
Complaint for Unlawful Detainer ("Compl.") and
Answer, Dkt. No. 1. Defendants are allegedly unauthorized
subtenants of real property located in Arcadia, California
("the property"). Compl., ¶¶ 3, 6.
Plaintiff is the agent for the owner of the property.
Id. at ¶¶ 2, 4.
Panthaki filed a Notice of Removal on February 3, 2017,
invoking the Court's federal question jurisdiction,
asserting that Defendant's Answer to the Complaint raises
issues under federal law. Removal at 2. The same day,
Defendant Panthaki filed an Application to Proceed Without
Prepaying Fees or Costs. Dkt. No. 2.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject
matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the
Constitution and statute. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian
Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128
L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). It is this Court's duty always to
examine its own subject matter jurisdiction, see Arbaugh
v. Y&HCorp., 546 U.S. 500, 514, 126 S.Ct. 1235, 163
L.Ed.2d 1097 (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).
noted above, Defendant Panthaki asserts that this Court has
subject matter jurisdiction due to the existence of a federal
question. (Removal at 1, 7-8.) Section 1441 provides, in
relevant part, that a defendant may remove to federal court a
civil action in state court of which the federal court has
original jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
Section 1331 provides that federal "district courts
shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising
under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United
States." See Id. § 1331.
the Court's review of the Notice of Removal and the
attached Complaint and Answer makes clear that this Court
does not have federal question jurisdiction over the instant
matter. Plaintiff could not have brought this action in
federal court, in that Plaintiff does not allege facts
supplying federal question jurisdiction, and therefore,
removal was improper. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a);
Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392,
107 S.Ct. 2425, 2429, 96 L.Ed.2d 318 (1987) ("Only
state-court actions that originally could have been filed in
federal court may be removed to federal court by the
defendant.") (footnote omitted).
there is no federal question apparent on the face of
Plaintiff s complaint, which alleges only a simple unlawful
detainer cause of action. See Wescom Credit Union v.
Dudley, No. CV 10-8203 GAF (SSx), 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. EDCV
09-2337 PA(DTBx), 2010 WL 234828, at *2 (C.D.Cal. Jan. 13,
2010) (remanding an action to state court for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction where plaintiffs complaint contained only
an unlawful detainer claim).
there is no merit to Defendant's contention that federal
question jurisdiction exists because Defendant's Answer
raises issues of federal law. Removal at 2. 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 plaintiffs complaint, and even if both
parties concede that the federal defense is the only question
truly at issue." Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 393,
107 S.Ct. at 2430. Thus, to the extent Defendant's
defenses to the unlawful detainer action are based on alleged
violations of federal law, those defenses do not provide a
basis for federal question jurisdiction. See Id.
Because Plaintiffs 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.
IT IS ORDERED that this case is REMANDED to the Superior
Court of California, County of Los Angeles, forthwith.
FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant's Application to Proceed