United States District Court, C.D. California
Harold L. Collins
George Alani Fua
Present: The Honorable Virginia A. Phillips, Chief United
States District Judge
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
Minute Order re Defendant's Motion for Remand (In
April 28, 2017, Plaintiff Harold L. Collins filed a motion to
remand. (Doc. No. 13.) This matter is appropriate for
resolution without hearing pursuant to Local Rule 7-15 and
will stand submitted on the papers timely filed. Having
considered the papers filed in support of the motion, the
Court GRANTS the motion.
February 1, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint in California
Superior Court for the County of Riverside against Defendants
George Alani Fua, SAI, Inc., FUA Construction, Smart Power
LLC, Sosiua L. Sekona, Kapiolani L. Sikahema, Fifita Tupe,
and Advance Energy Solutions. (Doc. No. 1-1.) Defendant
Sekona removed this action on March 29, 2017, on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction. (Doc. No. 1.)
defendant filed an opposition to Plaintiff's motion to
remand. That alone is sufficient reason to grant the motion.
See L.R. 7-12 (“The failure to file any
required document, or the failure to file it within the
deadline, may be deemed consent to the granting or denial of
the motion.”). Even proceeding to the merits of
Plaintiff's motion, the Court is persuaded that
Sekona's removal was improper.
may invoke the Court's diversity jurisdiction, under 28
U.S.C. § 1332, in “all civil actions where the
matter in controversy exceeds . . . $75, 000 . . . and is
between [c]itizens of different States.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a)(1). Where subject-matter jurisdiction is based
on 28 U.S.C. § 1332, complete diversity of citizenship
is required. Owen Equip. & Erection Co. v.
Kroger, 437 U.S. 365, 373 (1978). In other words, a
court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction “unless each
defendant is a citizen of a different State from each
plaintiff.” Id. For the purpose of
establishing diversity jurisdiction, a corporation is a
citizen of both the state in which it is incorporated and the
state in which it maintains its principal place of business.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1). “The
‘strong presumption' against removal jurisdiction
means that the defendant always has the burden of
establishing that removal is proper.” Gaus v.
Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992).
is a citizen of California. (Doc. No. 14 at 10.) In his
notice of removal, Sekona asserts that he is a citizen of
Utah. (Doc. No. 1 at 1.) Plaintiff disputes that assertion
and argues Sekona is a citizen of California. (Doc. No. 14 at
12.) “The natural person's state citizenship is . .
. determined by her state of domicile, not her state of
residence. A person's domicile is her permanent home,
where she resides with the intention to remain or to which
she intends to return.” Kanter v. Warner-Lambert
Co., 265 F.3d 853, 857 (9th Cir. 2001).
appears to be a citizen of California. Plaintiff submitted
official business records from Sekona's company, Smart
Power LLC, which lists Sekona's address as being in
California. (Doc. No. 16-3 at 3.) In addition, Plaintiff
submitted an email Sekona sent him in which Sekona states
that his “home address” is in California, but
that his “physical address” is at his
mother's house in Utah. (Doc. No. 15-1 at 2.) Sekona, on
the other hand, has offered no evidence to establish that he
is a citizen of Utah.
the Court were to assume Sekona is domiciled in Utah,
Plaintiff has presented unrebutted evidence that two other
defendants-Tupe and Smart Power LLC-are citizens of
California. (Doc. Nos. 14 at 6-7, 12; 16-3 at 2.) Thus, based
on the evidence presently in the record, Sekona has not met
his burden of establishing complete diversity of
requests the Court award him attorney's fees. On granting
a motion for remand, a court may, at its discretion, order
the defendant to pay plaintiff its “just costs and any
actual expenses, including attorney fees, incurred as a
result of the removal.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
“[A]bsent unusual circumstances, attorney's fees
should not be awarded when the removing party has an
objectively reasonable basis for removal.” Martin
v. Franklin Capital Corp., 546 U.S. 132, 136 (2005). It
is not necessary, however, ...