United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER REMANDING CASE TO STATE COURT
J. GUILFORD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
April 5, 2017, Plaintiffs filed an unlawful detainer action
against Defendant in the Orange County Superior Court, Case
No. 30-2017-00912924-CL-UD-HNB. (Dkt. 1 at 6-8 [state court
complaint].) On May 5, 2017, Defendant Carolyn Marie Solton
filed a Notice of Removal of that action in this Court,
accompanied by a request to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”). See Stephen Martinez, et al. v.
Carolyn Marie Solton, 8:17-cv-00805-DOC-JDE.
Defendant's request for IFP was denied at the matter
remanded to state court on May 9, 2017. (Id. at
Dkts. 6, 7.)
16, 2017, Plaintiff filed the Notice of Removal and IFP
request now before this Court, seeking again to remove Case
No. 30-2017-00912924-CL-UD-HNB. (Dkts. 1, 3.) The Court again
sua sponte REMANDS this action to the California Superior
Court for the County of Orange for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, as set forth below.
right of removal is entirely a creature of statute and
‘a suit commenced in a state court must remain there
until cause is shown for its transfer under some act of
Congress.'” Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. v.
Henson, 537 U.S. 28, 32 (2002) (quoting Great
Northern R. Co. v. Alexander, 246 U.S. 276, 280 (1918)).
Where Congress has acted to create a right of removal, those
statutes are strictly construed against removal jurisdiction.
Id.; Nevada v. Bank of Am. Corp., 672 F.3d
661, 667 (9th Cir. 2012); Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980
F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992).
otherwise expressly provided by Congress, a defendant may
remove “any civil action brought in a State court of
which the district courts of the United States have original
jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a); Dennis v.
Hart, 724 F.3d 1249, 1252 (9th Cir. 2013). The removing
defendant bears the burden of establishing federal
jurisdiction. Abrego v. Dow Chemical Co., 443 F.3d
676, 682 (9th Cir. 2006); Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566-67.
“Under the plain terms of § 1441(a), in order
properly to remove [an] action pursuant to that provision,
[the removing defendant] must demonstrate that original
subject-matter jurisdiction lies in the federal
courts.” Syngenta Crop Protection, 537 U.S. at
33. Failure to do so requires that the case be remanded, as
“[s]ubject matter jurisdiction may not be waived, and .
. . the district court must remand if it lacks
jurisdiction.” Kelton Arms Condo. Owners Ass'n
v. Homestead Ins. Co., 346 F.3d 1190, 1192 (9th Cir.
2003). “If at any time before final judgment it appears
that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction,
the case shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
It is “elementary that the subject matter jurisdiction
of the district court is not a waivable matter and may be
raised at anytime by one of the parties, by motion or in the
responsive pleadings, or sua sponte by the trial or reviewing
court.” Emrich v. Touche Ross & Co., 846
F.2d 1190, 1194 n.2 (9th Cir. 1988).
Federal Question Jurisdiction.
underlying action is an unlawful detainer proceeding, arising
under and governed by the laws of the State of California.
The state-court Complaint does not include any claim
“arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of
the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Federal
defenses or federal counterclaims do not provide a basis to
remove an action which does not otherwise establish federal
jurisdiction. “[T]he existence of federal jurisdiction
depends solely on the plaintiff's claims for relief and
not on anticipated defenses to those claims.” ARCO
Envtl. Remediation, L.L.C. v. Dept. of Health and Envtl.
Quality, 213 F.3d 1108, 1113 (9th Cir. 2000). An
“affirmative defense based on federal law” does
not “render an action brought in state court
removable.” Berg v. Leason, 32 F.3d 422, 426
(9th Cir. 1994). 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 admit that the defense is the only
question truly at issue in the case.” Franchise Tax
Bd. v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1,
14 (1983). There is no basis for federal question
is also no basis for diversity jurisdiction. Every defendant
is not alleged to be diverse from every plaintiff. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a). Indeed, although Defendant claims that
diversity is a basis for federal jurisdiction, she alleges
that both the Plaintiffs and Defendant reside in Orange
County. (Dkt. 1-1 at 2.)
also alleges that the amount in controversy “includes
up to, but is not limited to, an actuary exceeding $75,
000[.]” (Dkt. 1 at 2-3.) Here, the complaint does not
allege damages in excess of $75, 000; to the contrary, it is
a limited civil action in which the amount in controversy
does not exceed $10, 000. (Id. at 6.) The amount in
controversy in an unlawful detainer action is determined by
the amount of damages sought in the complaint. HSBC Bank
USA v. ...