United States District Court, C.D. California
Edward F. Clark
Ford Motor Company, et al.
Present: The Honorable PERCY ANDERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
CHAMBERS - COURT ORDER The Court is in receipt of a Notice of
Removal filed by defendants Ford Motor Company and Galpin
Motors, Inc. d/b/a Galpin Ford ("Defendants") on
February 28, 2018. Defendants are attempting to remove an
action commenced by plaintiff Edward F. Clark
("Plaintiff) in Los Angeles Superior Court on July 21,
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 Plaintiffs claims are related to Chapter
11 bankruptcy proceedings commenced by TK Holdings, Inc. in
the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of
Delaware, and because defendant Ford Motor Company intends to
seek indemnity from TK Holdings. However, even if the Court
may have jurisdiction over the action, the Court concludes
that equitable grounds support remand.
a Los Angeles County resident, brought suit against a Los
Angeles County 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 nearly a full year, and served Defendants
at least eight months,  before TK Holdings (a Takata
entity) filed for bankruptcy (See Notice of Removal
¶¶ 1, 3, 14; Docket No. 1-1 at 3-33.) Plaintiff
asserts only California state-law claims against Defendants.
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.").
Ford Motor Company's claims, which have not yet been
asserted, can be 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 County Superior Court, No. BC62788l.
Defendants do not indicate when they
were served with the original complaint, but they were served
with the First Amended Complaint on October 5, 2016.