United States District Court, C.D. California
GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE
WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are Plaintiff LA Wave, LLC's unopposed ex parte
applications to remand and for Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 11 sanctions in two related unlawful detainer
actions. (ECF Nos. 9 (in case ending with 4173), 10 (case
ending in 4151).) For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS
in PART and DENIES in PART Plaintiff's applications.
initiated these unlawful detainer actions in the California
Superior Court on November 22, 2016, after Defendants 55
Trading Corporation and Yu Kim failed to make certain rental
payments under two separate lease agreements for commercial
property located on South La Brea Avenue in Los
Angeles. (See generally Compl., ECF No.
2-1.) Defendants admit they received notice of
the actions on November 28, 2016. (Not. of Rem. ¶ 2, ECF
DEFENDANTS REMOVED THE ACTIONS TO FEDERAL COURT ON JUNE 5,
2017, CLAIMING FEDERAL QUESTION JURISDICTION PURSUANT TO 28
U.S.C. § 1331. (ID. ¶ 3.) ON JUNE 9, 2017,
PLAINTIFF NOTIFIED DEFENDANTS' COUNSEL OF ITS INTENT TO
FILE THE INSTANT EX PARTE APPLICATIONS FOR REMAND
AND SANCTIONS. (HEANEY DECL. ¶ 9.) ON JUNE 15,
2017, PLAINTIFF FILED THE PENDING APPLICATIONS, ARGUING THAT
DEFENDANTS FRIVOLOUSLY REMOVED THESE ACTIONS TO FEDERAL
COURT. (APPL. 5-7, ECF NO. 10.) PLAINTIFF ALSO SEEKS RULE 11
SANCTIONS IN THE FORM OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS
ASSOCIATED WITH THESE “FRIVOLOUS” REMOVALS.
(ID. AT 8.) DEFENDANTS' OPPOSITION TO THE
APPLICATIONS WAS DUE ON JUNE 16, 2017, BUT NONE WAS FILED.
(SEE COURT'S STANDING ORDER (PROVIDING THAT ANY
OPPOSITION TO AN EX PARTE APPLICATION MUST BE FILED WITHIN
TWENTY-FOUR HOURS) LEGAL STANDARD
action may be removed from state court if the district court
would have had original jurisdiction over the action. 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a). District courts strictly construe
removal statutes against federal jurisdiction, and
jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the
right of removal. See Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d
564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). The party seeking removal bears the
burden of showing that it has complied with the procedural
requirements for removal. Peace v. Estate of
Sorensen, No. CV08-2880-CAS(PLAX), 2008 WL 2676367, at
*1-2 (C.D. Cal. June 30, 2008).
No Basis for Federal Subject Matter Jurisdiction
assert that these cases arise under the Constitution, laws,
or treaties of the United States. (Not. of Rem. ¶ 3.)
Specifically, Defendants assert that these cases arise under
“U.S.C.§362” and/or “15 U.S.C.
Court examines each of the two statutes in turn. First, as
Plaintiff points out in its application,
“U.S.C.§362” is an incomplete citation.
(Appl. 7.) However, it is fair to assume that
“U.S.C.§362” references 11 U.S.C. §
362, the statute governing bankruptcy stays, as Defendants
were recently involved in bankruptcy proceedings.
(Id.) Even assuming that this is the case, §
362 cannot serve as the basis for federal question
jurisdiction. To begin, defenses may not serve as a basis for
federal jurisdiction. Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams,
482 U.S. 386, 393 (1987) (“[I]t is now settled law that
a case may not be removed to federal court on the
basis of a federal defense, including the defense of
pre-emption, even if the defense is anticipated in the
plaintiff's complaint.” (emphasis in original)).
Further, to the extent that Defendants intend to seek a stay
pursuant to § 362, this Court would not have
jurisdiction to enforce it. Swartz v. Nationstar Mortg.,
LLC, No. CV 14-08649 BRO JCX, 2015 WL 846789, at *8
(C.D. Cal. Feb. 26, 2015) (collecting cases for the general
proposition that district courts do not have jurisdiction
over issues related to bankruptcy stays); Minichino v.
Piilani Homeowners Ass'n, No. CV 16-00461 DKW-RLP,
2016 WL 7093431, at *5 (D. Haw. Dec. 2, 2016) (same); C.D.
Cal. General Order 13-05 (noting that all matters
relating to Title 11 of the United States Code are to be
addressed in bankruptcy court and that district court
involvement in bankruptcy matters is limited to bankruptcy
15 U.S.C. § 1667 is a definitional statute, not a cause
of action. Merely because § 1667 provides definitions of
the terms “consumer lease, ” “lessee,
” and “lessor, ” which bear some tangential
relationship to the subject matter at issue here, does not
mean this statute provides a basis for federal question
end of the day, these are two simple unlawful detainer
actions. Such actions are not appropriate for federal court.
Wescom Credit Union v. Dudley, No. CV 10-8203 GAF
SSX, 2010 WL 4916578, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 22, 2010)
(“An unlawful detainer action does not arise under
federal law.”); Indymac Federal Bank, F.S.B. v.
Ocampo, No. 09-2337, 2010 WL 234828, *2 (C.D. Cal.
Jan.13, 2010) (finding no subject matter jurisdiction where
sole claim was for unlawful detainer). Thus, Defendants have
failed to meet their burden and these actions must be
remanded for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.