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 Geweke Co. d/b/a Larry
Geweke Ford ("Defendants") on February 28, 2018.
Defendants are attempting to remove an action commenced by
plaintiff Donald Schafer ("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 defendant Ford Motor Company is 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, and because
Plaintiffs claims are related to those proceedings. However,
even if the Court may have jurisdiction over the action, the
Court concludes that equitable grounds support remand.
a California resident, brought suit against a California car
dealership and a car manufacturer relating to allegedly
defective airbags installed in a car that he purchased.
Plaintiff does not assert any claims against Takata, the
airbag manufacturer. Plaintiff commenced his state-court
action and served defendant Ford Motor Company over nine
months before Ford Motor Company asserted its 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 4-27, 83-97.) Plaintiff asserts only
California state-law claims against Defendants, and Ford
Motor Company's 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, Ford Motor Company's
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 his case in
of the foregoing reasons, this action is hereby remanded to
the Los Angeles ...