United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez, United States
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
(In Chambers): Order GRANTING Plaintiff's Motion to
Remand and RENDERING MOOT Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
the Court is Plaintiff Moshe Yhudai's motion to remand.
Dkt. # 15 (“Mot.”). Also before the Court is
Defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint. Dkt. # 7.
The Court finds the matters appropriate for decision without
oral argument. Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; Local R. 7-15. After
considering the papers submitted by the parties, the Court
GRANTS the motion to remand and RENDERS MOOT Defendants'
motion to dismiss.
March 22, 2017, Plaintiff Moshe Yhudai
(“Plaintiff”) filed this suit in California state
court against Defendants Mortgage Electronic Registration
Systems, Inc. (“MERS”), Select Portfolio
Servicing, Inc. (“SPS”); Deutsche Bank National
Trust Company as trustee, on behalf of the holders of the
Impac Secured Assets Corp. Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates
Series 2007-2 (“Deutsche Bank”), and Recontrust
Company N.A. See Dkt. # 1-1 (“Complaint”
or “Compl.”). This suit is based on allegations
that Defendants engaged in unlawful lending and foreclosure
practices in connection with a mortgage obtained by
Plaintiff. See id. The Complaint lists the following
causes of action: (1) violation of the Rosenthal Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 1788.17(a);
(2) fraud-intentional misrepresentation; (3) violation of
California Corporations Code §§ 2100 et
seq.; (4) fraud-concealment; (5) fraud-violation of
California Penal Code § 115.5; (6) quiet title; and (7)
declaratory and injunctive relief. Id.
April 24, 2017, pursuant to provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
1441(b), MERS, SPS, and Deutsche Bank (together,
“Defendants”) removed the case to this Court on
the basis of federal jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1331. See Dkt. # 1, Notice of Removal
(“NOR”) ¶ 3. Defendants assert that
Plaintiff's “first causes of action, beginning at
paragraph 16 and ending at paragraph 33, arise out of alleged
violations of federal law.” Id. ¶ 4.
Shortly thereafter, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the
Complaint. Dkt. # 7. On May 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
motion to remand the case to state court on grounds that
removal was improper because no federal question appears on
the face of the Complaint. See Mot. 5. For the
reasons stated below, the Court finds it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over this case and remands it to state court.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. See Gunn v.
Minton, 133 S.Ct. 1059, 1064 (2013). Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441, a defendant may remove a civil action from state
court to federal district court only if the federal court has
subject matter jurisdiction over the case. See Chicago v.
Int'l Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 163 (1997)
(“The propriety of removal thus depends on whether the
case originally could have been filed in federal
court.”). The case shall be remanded to state court if
at any time before final judgment it appears a removing court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(c); Int'l Primate Prot. League v.
Adm'rs of Tulane Educ. Fund, 500 U.S. 72, 87 (1991).
There is a strong presumption against removal jurisdiction,
so the party seeking removal always has the burden of
establishing that removal is proper. See Geographic
Expeditions, Inc. v. Estate of Lhotka ex rel. Lhotka,
599 F.3d 1102, 1107 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing Gaus v.
Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567 (9th Cir. 1992)). If
there is any doubt as to the propriety of removal, federal
jurisdiction must be rejected. Gaus, 980 F.2d at
asserts only state causes of action in his complaint,
including an alleged violation of California's Fair Debt
Collections Practices Act, known as the Rosenthal Act
(“State FDCPA”). See Compl. ¶¶
16-33; Mot. 8. Defendants contend that
Plaintiff's claims nonetheless “arise under”
federal law because Plaintiff's first cause of action for
violation of the State FDCPA includes allegations that
Defendant violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices
Act (the “Federal FDCPA”). See Dkt. # 20
(“Opp.”) at 3.
determine whether a claim made under a state law cause of
action nevertheless “arises under” federal law, a
court must consider whether the claim “necessarily
raise[s] a stated federal issue, actually disputed and
substantial, which a federal forum may entertain without
disturbing any congressionally approved of federal and state
judicial responsibilities.” See Grable & Sons
Metal Prods. v. Eng'g & Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 314
(2005). A “substantial” federal question is one
that “involves the interpretation of a federal statute
that actually is in dispute in the litigation and is so
important that it ‘sensibly belongs in federal
court.'” Eastman v. Marine Mech. Corp.,
438 F.3d 544, 552 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting Grable &
Sons, 545 U.S. at 314). Thus, as the Supreme Court has
noted, “federal issue” is not “a password
opening federal courts to any state action embracing a point
of federal law.” Grable & Sons, 545 U.S.
Plaintiff rightly notes, the State FDCPA creates state law
liability for violations of the Federal FDCPA. See
Mot. 7-8; Cal. Civ. Code § 1788.17. It also
incorporates by reference the statutory remedies provided for
under the Federal FDCPA. See id. As a result, where
a party has violated the Federal FDCPA, it has generally also
violated the State FDCPA and is subject to an additional
award of the statutory damages described in the Federal
FDCPA. See id. Here, it is apparent from the manner
in which Plaintiff has pleaded his first cause of action that
he is alleging State FDCPA liability and refers to federal
law only to the extent that it has been incorporated by
reference in the State FDCPA. The Complaint does not appear
to involve the interpretation of a federal statute, and
Defendants do not argue otherwise. Above all, perhaps, the
Court cannot say that the claim implicates federal issues in
such a manner that Plaintiff's suit “sensibly
belongs in federal court.” Eastman, 438 F.3d
544 at 552 (internal quotation omitted). Therefore, because
there is no “substantial” federal question raised
by Plaintiff's claims, this suit should be remanded to
state court for lack of federal subject matter
light of the foregoing, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's
motion and REMANDS the action to state court. Defendants'