United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER SUA SPONTE REMANDING ACTION TO STATE COURT [ECF
Gonzalo P. Curiel United States District Judge.
March 27, 2017, Defendant Edrei Thomas, 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. Dkt. No. 1. 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
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 file . .
. a notice of removal . . . .”).
initial matter, Edrei Thomas (“Thomas”), though
he may be a tenant, is not a named defendant in the state
court action. See Dkt. No. 1 at 8 (“Verified
Complaint for Unlawful Detainer”). Therefore, he cannot
remove the action to this Court. But even if Thomas were a
proper defendant, he still 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 Env't,
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
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 Bd. of Cal. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation
Trust for S. 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, 482 U.S. at 392. “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 Southland Home Mortgage II, LLC, alleges a single
cause of action for unlawful detainer under California state
law. Dkt. No. 1 at 8. In the notice of removal, Thomas
alleges that the Court has jurisdiction pursuant to a federal
question because Plaintiff's complaint is related to a
pending action in this Court, Case No. 15-cv-02344-GPC-JMA,
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. See Dkt. No. 1 at 2-3; see
also Case No. No. 15-cv-02344-GPC-JMA, Dkt. No. 1 at
reliance on a related case in this Court - namely No.
15-cv-02344 - 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., 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, Thomas' reason
for removal cannot support federal subject matter
jurisdiction. See Sato v. Wachovia Mort., FSB, 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, 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. See
Dkt. No. 1 at 8 (“Verified Complaint for Unlawful
Detainer”). Thomas, therefore, has not established a
basis for this Court's subject matter jurisdiction and
the Court must remand the case. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(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 Defendant's
emergency motion for writ and Plaintiffs Motion ...