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
MICHAEL W. FITZGERALD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
s Leon Aftalion and Haym Aftalion (“Plaintiffs”)
filed an unlawful detainer action in Los Angeles County
Superior Court against Defendants Marciel Diaz, Hector Diaz,
and Does 1-10, on February 23, 2017. Notice of Removal
(“Removal”) and Attached Complaint for Unlawful
Detainer (“Compl.”) and Demurrer and Answer. Dkt.
No. 1. Defendants are allegedly tenants of real property
located in Los Angeles, California (“the
property”). Compl., ¶¶ 3, 6. Plaintiffs are
the owners of the property. Id. at ¶¶ 1,
Hector Diaz (“Defendant”) filed a Notice of
Removal on April 24, 2017, invoking the Court's federal
question jurisdiction based on Protecting Tenants at
Foreclosure Act of 2009 (“PTFA”), 12 U.S.C.
§ 5220. Removal at 2. The same day, Defendant filed an
application to proceed without prepaying fees or costs. 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. 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. §
the Court's review of the Notice of Removal and attached
Complaint, Demurrer, and Answer 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 Complaint failed to
comply with the requirements of the PTFA. 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 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. § 1331.