United States District Court, N.D. California
A. RUSSEL TAPLIN, Plaintiff,
APPOLINAR GARCIA, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING REQUST TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
AND REMANDING CASE FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION
WILLIAM H. ORRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Appolinar Garcia and Floricel Ramirez Munoz removed this
unlawful detainer complaint from Alameda County Superior
Court to this Court on February 16, 2018. Defendants filed a
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). Dkt. No.
2. Defendants' motion to proceed IFP is GRANTED. However,
because my review of the removed complaint and notice of
removal show that there is no federal jurisdiction over the
state law unlawful detainer action, this case is DISMISSED
SUA SPONTE and REMANDED back to Alameda County.
SUA SPONTE JURISDICTIONAL SCREENING
complaint filed by a person proceeding in forma pauperis
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) is subject to a mandatory and
sua sponte review and dismissal by the court to the
extent that it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); Calhoun v. Stahl, 254
F.3d 845, 845 (9th Cir. 2001); Lopez v. Smith, 203
F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).
defendant in state court may remove an action to federal
court if the action could have been filed originally in
federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b). The defendant has
the burden of proving the basis for the federal court's
jurisdiction, and, generally, “the removal statute is
strictly construed against removal jurisdiction.”
Nishimoto v. Federman-Bachrach & Assocs., 903
F.2d 709, 712 n.3 (9th Cir. 1990); see also Shamrock Oil
& Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108-09 (1941).
Original jurisdiction may be based on diversity or a federal
question. See Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S.
386, 392 (1987). For diversity jurisdiction, the opposing
parties must be citizens of different states and the amount
in controversy must exceed $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a). There is federal-question jurisdiction if the case
“aris[es] under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of
the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The
“well-pleaded complaint” rule requires a federal
question to be presented on the face of the plaintiff's
complaint at the time of removal for federal-question
jurisdiction to exist. Metro. Life Ins. Co. v.
Taylor, 481 U.S. 58, 63 (1987); Duncan v.
Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir. 1996). An actual
or anticipated federal defense is not sufficient to create
jurisdiction. Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Constr.
Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 10 (1983);
Hunter v. Phillip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1042-43
(9th Cir. 2009). Similarly, federal-question jurisdiction
cannot rest upon an actual or anticipated counterclaim.
Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49, 60 (2009).
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). Federal
courts have a duty to examine their subject-matter
jurisdiction whether or not the parties raise the issue.
See United Investors Life Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed,
Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 966 (9th Cir. 2004). “The
court may - indeed must - remand an action sua
sponte if it determines that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction.” Canterbury Lots 68, LLC v. De La
Torre, 2013 WL 781974, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 28, 2013)
(citing Kelton Arms Condo. Owners Ass'n v. Homestead
Ins. Co., 346 F.3d 1190, 1192 (9th Cir. 2003)
(“[T]he district court must remand if it lacks
THERE IS NO DIVERSITY JURISDICTION
do not plead any facts in their notice of removal to support
diversity jurisdiction. The notice of removal claims only
that the state court did not have jurisdiction over the
unlawful detainer case. Dkt. No. 1 at ECF pg. 1. The
underlying unlawful detainer Complaint asserts that the value
of the case is under $10, 000. Id. at ECF pg. 6. The
Complaint doesn't seek back rent, but claims that
defendants violated the terms of their rental agreement and
have not allowed management access for pest treatments.
Id. at pgs. 39-42. Based on these allegations, the
required amount in controversy of $75, 000 or more cannot be
satisfied. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
THERE IS NO FEDERAL-QUESTION JURISDICTION
only claim asserted in the underlying case is for unlawful
detainer, which arises under state law, not federal law. Cal.
Civ. Proc. Code § 1161; Fed. Nat'l Mortg.
Ass'n v. Lopez, No. 11-CV-0451-WHA, 2011 WL 1465678,
at *1 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 15, 2011). A defense or counterclaim,
even one arising under federal law, does not create
federal-question jurisdiction. Valles v. Ivy Hill
Corp., 410 F.3d 1071, 1075 (9th Cir. 2005); see also
Nguyen v. Bui, No. 12-CV-0501-HRL, 2012 WL 762156, at *2
(N.D. Cal. Feb. 21, 2012) (holding that affirmative defenses
based upon Federal Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate
Settlement Procedures Act do not confer federal
jurisdiction); Aurora Loan Serv., LLC v. Martinez,
No. 10-CV-1260-HRL, 2010 WL 1266887, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Mar.
29, 2010) (affirmative defense based on the Protecting
Tenants at Foreclosure Act does not confer federal
there is no federal jurisdiction over the unlawful detainer
Complaint, this case must be DISMISSED and REMANDED back to
the Alameda County Superior Court. The Clerk shall close the