United States District Court, E.D. California
SUA SPGNTK ORDER REMANDING ACTION TO STATE
A. Mendez United States District Judge.
undersigned revokes any actual or anticipated referral to a
Magistrate Judge for the purposes of Findings and
Recommendations in this case. See Local Rule 302(d)
("Notwithstanding any other provision of this Rule, a
Judge may retain any matter otherwise routinely referred to a
February 21, 2018, Defendant Adrian Lamont Ross filed a
Notice of Removal with this Court, seeking to remove an
action from the Superior Court for the County of
Sacramento. Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1. For the
following reasons, the Court sua sponte REMANDS this case to
the Superior Court of California for the County of
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a), a defendant may remove an action to
federal court if the district court has original
jurisdiction. Hunter v. Phillip Morris USA, 582 F.3d
1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ansley v. Ameriquest
Mortq. Co., 340 F.3d 858, 861 (9th Cir. 2003)). If at
any time before final judgment it appears that the district
court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be
remanded. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). Generally, a defendant
seeking to remove an action to federal court must file a
notice of removal within thirty days of receiving a copy of
the initial pleading. 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b). The defendant
seeking removal of an action to federal court has the burden
of establishing federal jurisdiction in the case.
California ex rel. Lockyer v. Dynegy, Inc., 375 F.3d
831, 838 (9th Cir. 2004).
is attempting to remove an unlawful detainer action based on
diversity jurisdiction and federal subject matter
jurisdiction. Notice of Removal at 2-4. Federal courts are
courts of limited jurisdiction and lack inherent or general
subject matter jurisdiction. Federal courts can adjudicate
only those cases authorized by the United States Constitution
and Congress. Generally, those cases involve diversity of
citizenship or a federal question, or cases in which the
United States is a party. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins.
Co., 511 U.S. 375 (1994); Finley v. United
States, 490 U.S. 545 (1989). Federal courts are
presumptively without jurisdiction over civil actions.
Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 377. Lack of subject matter
jurisdiction is never waived and may be raised by the Court
sua sponte. Attorneys Trust v. Videotape Computer Prods.,
Inc., 93 F.3d 593, 594-95 (9th Cir. 1996). "Nothing
is to be more jealously guarded by a court than its
jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is what its power rests upon.
Without jurisdiction it is nothing." In re
Mooney, 841 F.2d 1003, 1006 (9th Cir. 1988).
Ninth Circuit has held that the removal statute should be
strictly construed in favor of remand and against removal.
Harris v. Bankers Life and Cas. Co., 425 F.3d 689,
698 (9th Cir. 2005). The "strong presumption"
against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always
has the burden of establishing that removal is proper.
Nishimoto v. Federman-Bachrach & Assocs., 903
F.2d 709, 712 n.3 (9th Cir. 1990); Emrich v. Touche Ross
& Co., 846 F.2d 1190, 1195 (9th Cir. 1988). Federal
jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the
right of removal in the first instance. Gaus v. Miles,
Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992).
case, Defendant is unable to establish subject matter
jurisdiction before this Court because the complaint filed in
the state court apparently contains a single cause of action
for unlawful detainer based on California Code of Civil
Procedure section 1161a. Unlawful detainer actions are
strictly within the province of state court. A
defendant's attempt to create federal subject matter
jurisdiction by adding claims or defenses to a notice of
removal will not succeed. Vaden v. Discover Bank,
556 U.S. 49, 50 (2009) (federal question jurisdiction cannot
"rest upon an actual or anticipated counterclaim");
Valles v. Ivy Hiil Corp., 410 F.3d 1071, 1075 (9th
Cir, 2005) ("A federal law defense to a state-law claim
does not confer jurisdiction on a federal court, even if the
defense is that of federal preemption and is anticipated in
the plaintiff's complaint.").
determining the presence or absence of federal jurisdiction
in removal cases, the "well-pleaded complaint rule"
applies, "which provides that federal jurisdiction
exists only when a federal question is presented on the face
of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint."
Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392
(1987). Moreover, "it is well established that plaintiff
is the 'master of her complaint' and can plead to
avoid federal jurisdiction." Lowdermilk v. U.S. Bank
Nat'l Ass'n, 479 F.3d 994, 998-99 (9th Cir.
2007); Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 481 U.S. 58,
63 (1987) (citing Gully v. First Nat'l Bank, 299
U.S. 109 (1936)) ("It is long settled law that a cause
of action arises under federal law only when the
plaintiff's well-pleaded complaint raises issues of
complaint raises a single state law claim. The face of a
properly-pled state law unlawful detainer action does not
present a federal question. Therefore, Plaintiffs'
complaint avoids federal question jurisdiction. Defendant
cannot inject a federal issue through his answer.
Defendant cannot establish diversity jurisdiction because he
asserted that all parties are California citizens, and thus
there is no diversity of citizenship. Furthermore, the amount
in controversy does not exceed $75, 000.
the Court REMANDS this case to the Superior Court for the
County of Sacramento for all future proceedings.
motion to proceed in forma pauperis, ECF No. 2, is DENIED as