United States District Court, N.D. California, Oakland Division
ORDER REMANDING ACTION
SAUNDRA BROW ARMSTRONG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
5, 2017, Plaintiff ILCG Holdings, LLC
(“Plaintiff”) filed an unlawful detainer action
against Defendants Robert Eberwein and Fedelina Roybal De
Aguero (collectively “Defendants”) in Mendocino
County Superior Court. Compl., Dkt. 1 at pp. 6-9. Plaintiff
alleges that, on June 1, 2017, it recorded a Grant Deed for
the real property located at 42265 Little Lake Road in
Mendocino, California, following a foreclosure sale. On July
12, 2017, Defendants, who are acting pro se, filed a notice
of removal, Dkt. 1, along with an application to proceed in
forma pauperis (“IFP”), Dkt. 2. Defendants
removed the action on the basis of diversity jurisdiction.
district court has “a duty to establish subject matter
jurisdiction over the removed action sua sponte, whether the
parties raised the issue or not.” United Inv'rs
Life Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed, Inc., 360 F.3d 960,
967 (9th Cir. 2004); accord Attorneys Tr. v. Videotape
Comput. Prods., Inc., 93 F.3d 593, 594-95 (9th Cir.
1996) (lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be raised at
any time by either party or by the court sua sponte). The
federal removal statute permits the removal of an action
which could have been brought originally in federal court.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). “The burden of
establishing federal jurisdiction is on the party seeking
removal, and the removal statute is strictly construed
against removal jurisdiction.” Prize Frize Inc. v.
Matrix Inc., 167 F.3d 1261, 1265 (9th Cir. 1999). A
district court must remand a case to state court “if at
any time before the final judgment it appears that the
district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.” 28
U.S.C. § 1447(c); Kelton Arms Condo. Owners
Ass'n v. Homestead Ins. Co., 346 F.3d 1190, 1192
(9th Cir.2003) (“the district court must remand if it
lacks jurisdiction”) (citing Sparta Surgical Corp.
v. Nat'l Ass'n Sec. Dealers, Inc., 159 F.3d
1209, 1211 (9th Cir. 1998)).
defendant may remove an action to federal court based on
federal question jurisdiction or diversity jurisdiction.
Hunter v. Philip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1042
(9th Cir. 2009) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1441). As stated
above, Defendants removed the instant action on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction. District courts have diversity
jurisdiction over all civil actions “where the matter
in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000,
exclusive of interest and costs, and is between . . .
citizens of different States.” 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a). The amount in controversy is determined by the
amount of damages or the value of the property that is the
subject matter of the action. Hunt v. Wash. State Apple
Advert. Comm'n, 432 U.S. 433 (1977). The diversity
statute is strictly construed, and any doubts are resolved
against finding jurisdiction. Kantor v. Wellesley
Galleries, Ltd., 704 F.2d 1088, 1092 (9th Cir. 1983).
Plaintiff commenced the state court action as a
“Limited Civil Action” in which the amount
demanded does not exceed $10, 000. The damages sought in the
Complaint consist of the “reasonable value for the use
and occupancy of the Property in the sum of $80.00 per
day.” Compl. ¶ 10. Plaintiff alleges that such sum
began accruing on April 5, 2017, i.e., 90 days after
Defendants received service of a notice to vacate and
surrender possession. Id. ¶¶ 7-8. Thus,
when the action was removed, the accrual period was
ninety-eight days. At a rate of $80.00 per day accrued
damages totaled $7, 840-well below the $75, 000
jurisdictional minimum. Remand therefore is warranted.
See Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567 (9th Cir.
1992) (lack of specific facts demonstrating that the amount
in controversy at the time of removal met the jurisdictional
minimum justified remand); see, e.g., Louden,
LLC v. Martin, No. C 12-05972 SBA, 2012 WL 6020059, *2
(N.D. Cal. Dec. 3, 2012) (remanding unlawful detainer action
on the ground that the plaintiff limited its demand to $10,
000). Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT the instant
action is REMANDED to Mendocino County Superior Court. In
view of the remand, Defendants' application to proceed
IFP is DENIED as moot. The Clerk shall terminate all pending
matters and close the file.
 Although not advanced by Defendants,
the Court notes that federal question jurisdiction is
lacking. The Complaint alleges a single cause of action for
unlawful detainer under California law. “California
federal courts have repeatedly held that unlawful detainer
cases brought under California's unlawful detainer
statute do not raise federal questions.” Muhammad v. N.
Richmond Senior Housing, Inc., ...