United States District Court, C.D. California
Presented Rozella A. Oliver UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING APPLICATION TO
PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES OR COSTS AS MOOT
CHRISTINA A. SNYDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Snapdragon, LLC (“Plaintiff”) filed an unlawful
detainer action in Ventura County Superior Court against
Defendants Jesus Martinez Roman, Carol R. Ramirez, Isabelle
Brilat, and Does 1-10, on or about June 22, 2017. Notice of
Removal (“Removal”) and Attached Complaint
(“Compl.”), Dkt. No. 1. Defendants are allegedly
unauthorized tenants of real property located in Ventura,
California (“the property”). Compl. ¶¶
3, 6. Plaintiff is the owner of the property. Id.
¶ 1, 4.
Carol R. Ramirez and Isabelle Brilat
(“Defendants”) filed a Notice of Removal on
August 29, 2017, invoking the Court's federal question
jurisdiction. Removal at 2.
same day, Defendant Ramirez and Defendant Brilat filed
Applications to Proceed Without Prepaying Fees or Costs. Dkt.
Nos. 3, 4.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject
matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the
Constitution and statute. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian
Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128
L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). It is this Court's duty always to
examine its own subject matter jurisdiction, see Arbaugh
v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514, 126 S.Ct. 1235, 163
L.Ed.2d 1097 (2006), and the Court may remand a case
summarily if there is an obvious jurisdictional issue.
Cf. Scholastic Entm't, Inc. v. Fox Entm't Grp.,
Inc., 336 F.3d 982, 985 (9th Cir. 2003) (“While a
party is entitled to notice and an opportunity to respond
when a court contemplates dismissing a claim on the merits,
it is not so when the dismissal is for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction.”) (omitting internal citations). A
defendant attempting to remove an action from state to
federal court bears the burden of proving that jurisdiction
exists. See Scott v. Breeland, 792 F.2d 925, 927
(9th Cir. 1986). Further, a “strong presumption”
against removal jurisdiction exists. See Gaus v. Miles,
Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567 (9th Cir. 1992).
assert that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction due to
the existence of a federal question. Removal at 2. Section
1441 provides, in relevant part, that a defendant may remove
to federal court a civil action in state court of which the
federal court has original jurisdiction. See 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a). Section 1331 provides that federal
“district courts shall have original jurisdiction of
all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States.” See Id. §
the Court's review of the Notice of Removal and attached
Complaint makes clear that this Court does not have federal
question jurisdiction over the instant matter under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. First, there is no federal question apparent
from the face of the Complaint, which appears to allege only
a simple unlawful detainer cause of action. See Wescom
Credit Union v. Dudley, No. CV 10-8203 GAF (SSx), 2010
WL 4916578, *2 (C.D.Cal. Nov. 22, 2010) (“An unlawful
detainer action does not arise under federal law.”)
(citation omitted); IndyMac Federal Bank, F.S.B. v.
Ocampo, No. EDCV 09-2337 PA(DTBx), 2010 WL 234828, at *2
(C.D.Cal. Jan. 13, 2010) (remanding an action to state court
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction where plaintiff's
complaint contained only an unlawful detainer claim).
there is no merit to Defendants' argument that the
demurrer involves a “determination of Defendant's
rights and Plaintiff's duties under federal law.”
Removal at 2. It is well settled that a “case may not
be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense
. . . 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.” Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482
U.S. 386, 393, 107 S.Ct. 2425, 2430, 96 L.Ed.2d 318 (1987).
Thus, to the extent Defendants' defenses to the unlawful
detainer action are based on alleged violations of federal
law, those defenses do not provide a basis for federal