United States District Court, C.D. California
Present: The Honorable PERCY ANDERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
IN CHAMBERS - COURT ORDER
Court is in receipt of a Notice of Removal filed by
defendants Ford Motor Company and Ford Store Morgan Hill,
Inc. ("Defendants") on February 28, 2018.
Defendants are attempting to remove an action commenced by
plaintiff Barbara Ginelli ("Plaintiff) in Los Angeles
Superior Court on September 9, 2016. Defendants assert that
this Court has subject matter jurisdiction on the basis of a
pending bankruptcy proceeding in the District of Delaware.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1452(a).
courts are of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter
jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution
and Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian
Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 1675,
128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). A "strong presumption"
against removal jurisdiction exists. Gaus v. Miles,
Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567 (9th Cir. 1992). In seeking
removal, the defendant bears the burden of proving that
jurisdiction exists. Scott v. Breeland, 792 F.2d
925, 927 (9th Cir. 1986).
U.S.C. § 1452(a) allows a party to "remove any
claim or cause of action in a civil action to the district
court for the district where such action is pending" if
the district court has jurisdiction of the claim or cause of
action under 28 U.S.C. § 1334. Section 1334(b) invests
district courts with "original but not exclusive
jurisdiction of all civil proceedings arising under title 11
or arising in or related to cases under title 11." Once
a claim is removed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1452(a), the
court to which the claim has been removed "may remand
such claim or cause of action on any equitable ground."
28 U.S.C. § 1452(b). An order remanding an action
pursuant to § 1452(b) "is not reviewable by appeal
or otherwise by the court of appeals under section 158(d),
1291, or 1292 [of Title 28] of by the Supreme Court."
Id. Section l452(b)'s '"any equitable
ground' remand standard is an unusually broad grant of
authority. It subsumes and reaches beyond all of the reasons
for remand under nonbankruptcy removal statutes. ... At
bottom, the question is committed to the sound discretion of
the . . . judge." McCarthy v. Prince, 230 B.R.
414, 417 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. 1999).
assessing whether "equitable grounds" exist to
remand actions removed under § 1452, courts have looked
to a number of factors:
These factors have included, among other things, judicial
economy, comity and respect for state law decision-making
capabilities, the impact that remand would have upon the
orderly administration of the debtor's bankruptcy case,
the effect of bifurcating claims and parties to an action and
the possibilities of inconsistent results, the predominance
of state law issues and nondebtor parties, and the extent of
any prejudice to nondebtor parties.
In re TIG Ins. Co., 264 B.R. 661, 665-66 (Bankr.
S.D. Cal. 2001) (citing W. Helicopters, Inc. v. Hiller
Aviation, Inc., 97 B.R. 1, 2 (E.D. Cal.1988)).
"Because Section 1452(b) affords 'an unusually broad
grant of authority, ' any one of the relevant factors may
provide a sufficient basis for equitable remand."
Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP v. Countrywide Fin.
Corp., 447 B.R. 302, 310 (CD. Cal. 2010) (quoting In
re Roman Catholic Bishop of San Diego, 374 B.R. 756, 761
(Bankr. S.D. Cal. 2007)).
Defendants allege that the Court has jurisdiction under
§ 1452 because Defendants are entitled to indemnity from
TK Holdings, Inc., which has commenced Chapter 11 bankruptcy
proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the
District of Delaware. However, even if the Court may have
jurisdiction over the action, the Court concludes that
equitable grounds support remand.
a local California resident, brought suit against a
California car dealership and a car manufacturer relating to
allegedly defective airbags installed in a car that she
purchased. Plaintiff does not assert any claims against
Takata, the airbag manufacturer. Plaintiff commenced her
state-court action and served Defendant Ford Motor Company
over nine months before Defendants asserted their claims
against TK Holdings, a Takata entity, and before TK Holdings
filed for bankruptcy (See Notice of Removal
¶¶ 1, 3-4, 14; Docket No. 1-1 at 3-18, 85-95.)
Plaintiff asserts only California state-law claims against
Defendants, and Defendants' claims against TK Holdings
also are based in state law. See Estate of Scott v.
Cervantes, No. CV 08-03293 MMM (CWx), 2008 WL 11337657,
at *4 (CD. Cal. July 29, 2008) ("Where issues of state
law predominate, comity. . . favors remand."); see
also McCarthy, 230 B.R. at 418 ("State courts are,
by definition, fully competent to resolve disputes governed
by state law."). Additionally, Defendants' claims
against TK Holdings could have been brought independently of
Plaintiffs action. Under these circumstances, the Court
concludes that it would be inequitable to require Plaintiff
to litigate her case in federal court.
of the foregoing reasons, this action is hereby remanded to
the Los Angeles ...