United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER SUA SPONTE REMANDING ACTION TO STATE
GONZALO P. CURIEL United States District Judge.
March 2, 2017, Marcel Lambarri, proceeding pro se, filed a
notice of removal of this unlawful detainer action from the
Superior Court of the State of California for San Diego
County. Having reviewed the notice of removal, the Court
finds it does not have subject matter jurisdiction over this
action. Accordingly, the Court sua sponte REMANDS
the action to state court.
action brought in state court may be “removed by the
defendant or the defendants” to the district court.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1441; see also 28
U.S.C. § 1446 (“A defendant or defendants desiring
to remove any civil action from a State court shall filed . .
. a notice of removal . . . .”)
initial matter, Marcel Lambarri (“Lambarri”),
though he may be a tenant, is not a named defendant in the
state court action. Therefore, he cannot remove the action to
this Court. But even if Lambarri was a proper defendant, he
has not demonstrated that this Court has federal subject
matter jurisdiction over the case.
well-established that a federal court cannot reach the merits
of any dispute until it confirms that it retains subject
matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the issues presented.
See Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environ., 523
U.S. 83, 94-95 (1998). Accordingly, federal courts are under
a continuing duty to confirm their jurisdictional power and
are “obliged to inquire sua sponte whenever a doubt
arises as to [its] existence . . . .” Mt. Healthy
City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 278
(1977) (citations omitted). The federal court is one of
limited jurisdiction. Lowdermilk v. U.S. Bank Nat'l
Ass'n, 479 F.3d 994, 997 (9th Cir. 2007). It
possesses only that power authorized by the Constitution or a
statute. See Bender v. Williamsport Area Sch. Dist.,
475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986).
jurisdiction is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1441 et
seq. A state court action can only be removed if it
could have originally been brought in federal court.
Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392,
107 (1987); Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485
(9th Cir.1996). “The removal statute is strictly
construed against removal jurisdiction.” Provincial
Gov't of Marinduque v. Placer Dome, Inc., 582 F.3d
1083, 1087 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing Syngenta Crop Prot.,
Inc. v. Henson, 537 U.S. 28, 32 (2002)). Thus, for an
action to be removed on the basis of federal question
jurisdiction, the complaint must establish either that
federal law creates the cause of action or that the
plaintiff's right to relief necessarily depends on the
resolution of substantial questions of federal law.
Franchise Tax Board of Cal. v. Construction Laborers
Vacation Trust for Southern Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 10-11
(1983). Alternatively, a federal court may have diversity
jurisdiction over an action involving citizens of different
states where the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28
U.S.C. § 1332.
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
plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint.”
Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392
(1987). “The burden of establishing federal
jurisdiction is on the party seeking removal.”
Emrich v. Touche Ross & Co., 846 F.2d 1190, 1195
(9th Cir. 1988). “Federal 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).
review of the state court complaint in this case shows that
Plaintiff Three Arch Capital Management, LLC alleges a single
cause of action for unlawful detainer under California state
law. (Dkt. No. 1-3 at 5.) In the notice of removal, Lambarri
alleges that the Court has jurisdiction pursuant to a federal
question because it is related to a pending action in this
Court, Case No. 17cv0003, where the original owner of the
property at issue is challenging the foreclosure of her
residence pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and
Consumer Protection Act, the Real Estate Settlement
Procedures Act and the Truth in Lending Act. (Dkt. No. 1 at
2-3; see also Case No. 17cv0003, Dkt. No. 1.)
reliance to another related case in this Court to support
subject matter jurisdiction suggests that he may be relying
on the court's supplemental jurisdiction; however, a
“removal petition . . . may not base subject-matter
jurisdiction on the supplemental jurisdiction statute, even
if the action which a defendant seeks to remove is related to
another action over which the federal district court already
has subject-matter jurisdiction.” Pacific Bell v.
Covad Commc'ns Co., No. C 99-1491 SI, 1999 WL
390840, at *3 (N.D. Cal. June 8, 1999) (quoting Ahearn v.
Charter Twp. of Bloomfield, 100 F.3d 451, 456 (6th Cir.
1996)). Therefore, Lambarri's reason for removal cannot
support federal subject matter jurisdiction. See Sato v.
Wachovia Mort., FSB, No. 11cv810 EJD(PSG), 2011 WL
2784567, at *12 (N.D. Cal. July 13, 2011) (“any
relationship between the unlawful detainer action and the
wrongful foreclosure case is irrelevant for purposes of
removal.”); Waadhwa v. Aurora Loan Servs.,
LLC, No. 10cv3361 WBS DAD, 2011 WL 308416, at *1 (E.D.
Cal. Jan. 27, 2011) (unlawful detainer action does not raise
a federal question even though it was filed because of a
related federal case concerning the loan and foreclosure).
assertion of federal subject matter jurisdiction is without
merit and it does not appear that jurisdiction rests on
diversity of citizenship as the amount in controversy in the
state court complaint does not exceed $10, 000. Lambarri has
not established a basis for this Court's subject matter
jurisdiction and the Court must remand the case. 28 U.S.C.
on the above, the Court sua sponte REMANDS the
action to the Superior Court of the State of California for
San Diego County. The Court also DENIES Plaintiffs motion to