United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING APPLICATION TO
PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES OR COSTS
PHILIPS. GUTIERREZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Breckenridge Property Fund 2016, LLC ("Plaintiff), filed
an unlawful detainer action in Los Angeles County Superior
Court against Defendants Leonard McCrae and Does 1 -10, on or
about September 1, 2017. Notice of Removal
("Removal") and Attached Complaint
("Compl."), Dkt. No. 1. Defendants are allegedly
holdover occupants of real property located in Whittier,
California ("the property"). Compl. ¶¶ 3,
8, 17. Plaintiff is the owner of the property, which was
acquired after a Trustee's Sale following foreclosure
proceedings. Id. at ¶¶ 4-8. Plaintiff has
filed the unlawful detainer action demanding that defendants
quit and deliver up possession of the property. Id.
at ¶¶ 12-13. Plaintiff also seeks monetary damages.
Id. at ¶¶ 14-16, Prayer for Relief.
Leonard McCrae ("Defendant") filed a Notice of
Removal on October 19, 2017, invoking the Court's federal
question jurisdiction. Removal at 2-3, 5-6.
same day, Defendant filed an Application to Proceed Without
Prepaying Fees or Costs. Dkt. No. 3.
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).
asserts that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction due
to the existence of a federal question. Removal at 2-3, 5-6.
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. § 1331.
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
plaintiffs complaint contained only an unlawful detainer
there is no merit to Defendant's contention that federal
question jurisdiction exists because defenses to the unlawful
detainer involve federal issues of fair housing, retaliatory
discrimination, and civil rights. Removal at 5-6. 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 plaintiffs complaint, and even if both
parties concede that the federal defense is the only question
truly at issue." Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 393,
107 S.Ct. at 2430. Thus, to the extent Defendant's
defenses to the unlawful detainer action are based on alleged
violations of federal law, those defenses do not provide a
basis for federal question jurisdiction. See Id.
Because Plaintiffs complaint does not present a federal
question, either on its face or as artfully pled, the Court
lacks jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
IT IS ORDERED that this case is REMANDED to the Superior
Court of California, County of Los Angeles, forthwith.
FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant's Application to Proceed