United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING REQUEST TO PROCEED
IN FORMA PAUPERIS
MICHAEL W. FITZGERALD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Eagleeye Investment Inc. (“Plaintiff”) filed an
unlawful detainer action in Los Angeles County Superior Court
against Defendant Krystal Smith and Does 1 to 10
(“Defendants”), on or about January 18, 2018.
Notice of Removal (“Removal”) and Attached
Complaint (“Compl.”), Dkt. No. 1. Defendant Smith
is allegedly a tenant of real property located in Los
Angeles, California (“the property”). Compl.
¶¶ 3, 6. Plaintiff is the owner of the property.
Id. at ¶¶ 2, 4. Plaintiff filed the
unlawful detainer action demanding that Defendant quit and
deliver up possession of the property. Id. at
¶¶ 7, 10. Plaintiff also seeks monetary damages.
Id. at ¶¶ 10, 17.
Smith filed a Notice of Removal on February 21, 2018,
invoking the Court's federal question jurisdiction.
Removal at 2. Defendant also filed a Request to Proceed
In Forma Pauperis. 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
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1441. 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. § 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, at *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
there is no merit to Defendant's contention that federal
question jurisdiction exists based on the Protecting Tenants
at Foreclosure Act OF 2009 (“PTFA”). Removal at
2-8. The PTFA does not create a private right of action;
rather, it provides a defense to state law unlawful detainer
actions. See Logan v. U.S. Bank Nat. Ass'n, 722
F.3d 1163, 1164 (9th Cir. 2013) (affirming dismissal of the
complaint because the PTFA “does not create a private
right of action allowing [plaintiff] to enforce its
requirements”). 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. 318 (1987). 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 Plaintiff's
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 Request to Proceed