United States District Court, N.D. California
SUA SPONTE ORDER REMANDING CASE TO CONTRA COSTA
COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT
KIM, United States Magistrate Judge
Pari Memari, proceeding pro se, removed this
unlawful detainer action to federal court. The parties
consented to the jurisdiction of this magistrate judge
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (Dkt. Nos. 11 and 14.)
Having reviewed the pleadings on file, the Court finds that
it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action, which
arises exclusively under state law. In addition, the amount
demanded does not exceed $10, 000. Accordingly, the Court
issues this sua sponte order remanding this action
to state court.
16, 2017, Plaintiff The Bank of New York Mellon filed a
verified complaint for unlawful detainer complaint against
Defendant Pari Memari in Contra Costa County Superior Court.
(Dkt. 1, pp. 15-27.) Plaintiff seeks to take possession of
1293 Redwood Drive, Concord, California (the
“Property”). (Id.) On April 18, 2017,
Plaintiff purchased the Property at a foreclosure sale. (Dkt.
1, p. 16.) On June 12, 2017, Defendant was served with a
3-day written notice to quit and deliver possession.
(Id.) More than three-days passed, and Defendant
refused to deliver possession. (Dkt. 1, p. 17.) Plaintiff
filed an action in superior court four days later.
removed the action to federal court on July 25, 2017. (Dkt.
1.) While Plaintiff asserts that an answer has been filed
(Dkt. 1, p. 9), no answer is on file in this Court.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Court has an independent duty to ascertain its jurisdiction
and remand a case sua sponte for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c);
Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir.
1992). Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Accordingly, the burden
of establishing federal jurisdiction for purposes of removal
is on the party seeking removal, and the removal statute is
strictly construed against removal jurisdiction. Valdez
v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1117 (9th Cir.
2004); see also Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564,
566 (9th Cir. 1992). “Federal jurisdiction must be
rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in
the first instance.” Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566.
Court does not have federal question or diversity
jurisdiction over this matter. “The presence or absence
of federal question jurisdiction is governed by the
‘well-pleaded complaint rule.'”
Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 382, 392
(1987). The well-pleaded complaint rule recognizes that the
plaintiff is the master of his or her claim. “[H]e or
she may avoid federal jurisdiction by exclusive reliance on
state law.” Id. Thus, under the well-pleaded
complaint rule, jurisdiction can arise where the
“complaint establishes either that federal law creates
the cause of action or that the plaintiff's right to
relief necessarily depends on resolution of a substantial
question of federal law.” Franchise Tax Bd.,
463 U.S. 1, 27-28 (1983).
an unlawful detainer action, which is purely a creature of
California law. Thus, federal law does not create the cause
of action. Wells Fargo Bank v. Lapeen, 2011 WL
2194117, at *3 (N.D. Cal. June 6, 2011); Wescom Credit
Union v. Dudley, 2010 WL 4916578, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Nov.
22, 2010). Moreover, the Court concludes that the claim will
not necessarily depend upon the resolution of a substantial
question of federal law. While Defendant refers vaguely to 12
U.S.C. § 5219 (the Home Affordable Modification
Program), which requiring consent to reasonable loan
modification requests in certain circumstances, there are no
factual allegations supporting the applicability of that act.
// Further, a case cannot be removed on the ground that the
complaint gives rise to a potential or an anticipated defense
that might raise a federal question, even if the defense is
the only question truly at issue in the case. Franchise
Tax Board, 463 U.S. at 10, 14; see also
Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 393 (“[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
plaintiffs complaint, and even if both parties concede that
the federal defense is the only question truly at
issue.”). Therefore, there is no federal jurisdiction
arising out of federal law.
Court also determines that it does not have diversity
jurisdiction over this matter. The amount in controversy does
not exceed the jurisdictional amount of $75, 000. “In
unlawful detainer actions, the right to possession is
contested, not title to the property, and plaintiffs may
collect only damages that are incident to that unlawful
possession.” Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. v.
Pulido, 2012 WL 540554 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 17, 2012). Here,
Plaintiff filed the action as a “limited civil
case” that “does not exceed $10, 000.”
(Dkt. 1, p. 15) Where, as here, a plaintiff specifically
alleges that the amount in controversy is less than the
jurisdictional threshold, a defendant has the burden of
showing with legal certainty that the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. See Lowerdermilk v. U.S. Bank National
Ass'n, 479 F.3d 994, 1000 (9th Cir. 2007). Defendant
has not done so here.
the lack of subject matter over this action, the Court hereby
REMANDS matter to the Contra Costa County Superior Court. The
Clerk shall close this file.