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
STEFHENV. WILSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Morgan Picks Two, LLC ("Plaintiff) filed an unlawful
detainer action in Los Angeles County Superior Court against
Defendants Grace M. Turner, Archanel N. Jennings, and Does
1-10, on March 27, 2017. Notice of Removal
("Removal") and Attached Complaint for Unlawful
Detainer ("Compl.") and Answer. Dkt. No. 1.
Defendants are allegedly holdover occupants of real property
located in Compton, California ("the property").
Compl., ¶¶ 1, 5-7. Plaintiff is the owner of the
property. Id. at ¶¶ 1? 5.
Archanel N. Jennings ("Defendant") filed a Notice
of Removal on May 4, 2017, invoking the Court's federal
question jurisdiction. Removal at 2.The same day, Defendant
filed an application to proceed without prepaying fees or
costs. Dkt. No. 3.
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 % 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, 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 plaintiffs complaint contained only an unlawful
there is no merit to Defendant's contention that federal
question jurisdiction exists because the Defendant's
Answer raises issues arising under 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, 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.
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