United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING REQUEST TO PROCEED
IN FORMA PAUPERIS
ANDRÉ BIROTTE JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Rajinder Walia and Rasneck Walia (“Plaintiffs”)
filed an unlawful detainer action in Los Angeles County
Superior Court against Defendants Robert A. Boyd and Gladys
M. Espinoza on or about November 30, 2016. Notice of Removal
(“Removal”) and Attached Complaint for Unlawful
Detainer (“Compl.”) Dkt. No. 1. Defendants are
allegedly unauthorized tenants of real property located in
Pomona, California (“the property”). Compl.,
¶¶ 3, 6. Plaintiffs are the owner of the property.
Id. at ¶¶ 2, 4.
Brooks (“Defendant”), who claims to be the former
owner of the property and a current tenant, filed a Notice of
Removal on March 3, 2017, invoking the Court's federal
question jurisdiction based on congressional enactment of
Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009
(“PTFA”). Removal at 1-3, 6. The same day,
Defendant filed a request to proceed in forma pauperis. Dkt.
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&H Corp., 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).
asserts that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction due
to the existence of a federal question. (Removal at 2-3, 6.)
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 attached
Complaint makes clear that this Court does not have federal
question jurisdiction over the instant matter under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. First, there is no federal question apparent
from the face of the Complaint, which appears to allege 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 plaintiff's
complaint contained only an unlawful detainer claim).
there is no merit to Defendant's contention that federal
question jurisdiction exists because the PTFA preempted state
law in this subject matter. Removal at 2-3, 6. The PTFA does
not create a private right of action; rather, it provides a
defense to state law unlawful detainer actions. See Logan
v. U.S. Bank Nat. Ass'n, 722 F.3d 1163, 1164 (9th
Cir. 2013) (affirming dismissal of the complaint because the
PTFA “does not create a private right of action
allowing [plaintiff] to enforce its requirements”). 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 plaintiff's complaint,
and even if both parties concede that the federal defense is
the only question truly at issue.” Caterpillar,
Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 393, 107 S.Ct. 2425,
2430, 96 L.Ed.2d 318 (1987). 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. §
IT IS ORDERED that this case is REMANDED to the Superior
Court of ...