United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER REASSIGNING CASE TO A DISTRICT JUDGE; REPORT
AND RECOMMENDATION TO REMAND TO STATE COURT; ORDER GRANTING
IN FORMA PAUPERIS APPLICATION RE: DKT. NOS. 1, 2
A. WESTMORE United States Magistrate Judge
15, 2017, Defendant Cindy Fried removed this unlawful
detainer action from Alameda County Superior Court, and
applied to proceed in forma pauperis. (Not. of
Removal, Dkt. No. 1; IFP Appl., Dkt. No. 2.)
removal is clearly improper, and the parties have not
consented to the undersigned, for the reasons set forth
below, the Court reassigns this case to a district judge and
recommends that the case be remanded to state court.
Additionally, the Court grants Defendant's application to
proceed in forma pauperis.
Mission Property Management Co. commenced this unlawful
detainer action against Defendants Cindy Fried and Maurice
Fried in Alameda County Superior Court on or around March 3,
2017. (Not. of Removal at 11.) The complaint contains a
single cause of action for unlawful detainer. Id.
The case is a “limited civil case, ” in which
Plaintiff seeks immediate possession of a certain property
located in Newark, California, which Defendants occupy.
Id. at ¶ 3.
alleges that Defendants signed a fixed term lease on or about
March 5, 2016, and are now demanding possession of the
property due to the expiration of the lease. (Compl., Dkt No.
1 at 11-13 ¶¶ 6, 9.)
15, 2017, Defendant Cindy Fried removed the action to federal
court on the grounds that it presents a federal question.
(Not. of Removal at 2.)
courts exercise limited jurisdiction. A “federal court
is presumed to lack jurisdiction in a particular case unless
the contrary affirmatively appears.” Stock W., Inc.
v. Confederated Tribes, 873 F.2d 1221, 1225 (9th Cir.
1989) (citation omitted). A defendant may remove a civil
action from state court to federal court if original
jurisdiction would have existed at the time the complaint was
filed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a).
“[R]emoval statutes are strictly construed against
removal.” Luther v. Countrywide Homes Loans
Servicing, LP, 533 F.3d 1031, 1034 (9th Cir. 2008).
“Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any
doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance,
” such that courts must resolve all doubts as to
removability in favor of remand. Gaus v. Miles,
Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). The burden of
establishing that federal jurisdiction exists is on the party
seeking removal. See Id. at 566-67.
district courts have original jurisdiction over actions that
present a federal question or those based on diversity
jurisdiction. See Wayne v. DHL Worldwide Express,
294 F.3d 1179, 1183 & n.2 (9th Cir. 2002). Federal
district courts have federal question jurisdiction over
"all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws
or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. §
1331. Federal question jurisdiction is governed by the
well-pleaded complaint rule, which provides that the basis
for federal jurisdiction must appear on the face of the
properly pleaded complaint, either because the complaint
directly raises an issue of federal law or because the
plaintiff's "right to relief under state law
requires resolution of a substantial question of federal law
in dispute between the parties." Franchise Tax Bd.
of Cal. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust for S. Cal.,
463 U.S. 1, 13 (1983). "[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 . . . ." Caterpillar Inc. v.
Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 393 (1987) (citation omitted).
removed this unlawful detainer action from state court on the
grounds that the district court has jurisdiction because the
case presents a federal question.
Federal Question Jurisdiction
claims that a federal question exists because Defendants are
bona fide tenants pursuant to the Protecting Tenants at
Foreclosure Act (“PTFA”), and Plaintiff failed to
allege compliance with PTFA, serving only a three day notice
to quit. (Not. of Removal ¶¶ 3, 7.) Defendants'
rights in an unlawful detainer action, however, depend on the
interpretation of state law. Further, Defendant has not shown
why the resolution of Plaintiff's unlawful detainer claim
will turn on a ...