United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO REMAND AND DENYING AS MOOT
MOTION TO DISMISS
WILLIAM ALSUP, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
removed this product liability action from state court on the
grounds that it presents a federal question. Plaintiffs now
move to remand, and defendants move to dismiss. For the
reasons stated below, the motion to remand is Granted, and
the motion to dismiss is Denied as moot.
are 59 women who had Essure, a permanent contraceptive
device, implanted in their fallopian tubes. This action
arises from medical complications plaintiffs suffered as a
result of alleged defects in the Essure device. Plaintiffs
brought five claims under California law including (1)
negligence, (2) strict products liability, (3) breach of
express warranty, (4) breach of implied warranty, and (5)
removed this action from the Superior Court of Contra Costa
County in March 2017 based on federal-question jurisdiction,
claiming that plaintiffs' claims arise under federal law,
and then moved to dismiss all claims. Plaintiffs now move to
remand, contending that their complaint does not raise a
federal question. This order follows full briefing and oral
courts have jurisdiction over civil cases arising under the
Constitution, laws and treaties of the United States -
so-called federal-question jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. 1331. When
such a case is filed in state court, defendants may remove it
to federal district court. 28 U.S.C. 1441(b). Absent a proper
basis for removal, however, a case must be remanded.
Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523
U.S. 83, 96 (1998).
question of whether a claim “‘arises under'
federal law is determined by reference to the
‘well-pleaded complaint.'” Merrell Dow
Pharms., Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 808 (1986)
(quoting Franchise Tax Bd. of State of Cal. v. Constr.
Laborers Vacation Trust for S. California, 463 U.S. 1, 8
(1983)). “It is settled law that a case may not be
removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense,
including a defense of preemption, 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.” Balcorta v. Twentieth
Century-Fox Film Corp., 208 F.3d 1102, 1106 (9th Cir.
2000) (quoting Franchise Tax Bd., 463 U.S. at 8).
vast majority of cases, “arising under federal
law” means that the plaintiff has pled a federal claim.
Merrell Dow, 478 U.S. at 808. There is, however, a
second path to federal- question jurisdiction. If a plaintiff
does not present a federal claim, a federal court may
nevertheless retain jurisdiction if federal issues presented
by the claims are “(1) necessarily raised, (2) actually
disputed, (3) substantial, and (4) capable of resolution in
federal court without disrupting the federal-state balance
approved by Congress.” Gunn v. Minton, 133
S.Ct. 1059, 1065 (2013) (listing requirements enumerated in
Grable & Sons Metal Prod., Inc. v. Darue Eng'g
& Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 308 (2005)). Since plaintiffs
have pled only state-law claims, the question is whether
defendants have failed to satisfy any element of this
jurisdiction is unavailable unless it appears that some
substantial, disputed question of federal law is a necessary
element of one of the well-pleaded state claims . . .
.” Franchise Tax Bd., 463 U.S. at 13.
“When a claim can be supported by alternative and
independent theories - one of which is a state law theory and
one of which is a federal law theory - federal-question
jurisdiction does not attach because federal law is not a
necessary element of the claim.” Rains v. Criterion
Sys., Inc., 80 F.3d 339, 344 (9th Cir. 1996) (citing
Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486
U.S. 800 (1988)).
none of plaintiffs' claims relies on federal violations
as a necessary element. Scrubbed of any mention of
federal law, plaintiffs' complaint still pleads each
element of each claim. Therefore, the complaint does not
satisfy the “necessarily raised” prong of ...