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
Crest Financial and Investments, Inc.
(“Plaintiff”) filed an unlawful detainer action
in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Defendants Viet
Duc Luu, Udeshi Canishka, and Does 1 to 10
(“Defendants”), on or about November 29, 2017.
Notice of Removal (“Removal”) and Attached
Complaint (“Compl.”), Dkt. No. 1. Defendants are
allegedly tenants 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 Defendants quit and deliver up
possession of the property. Id. at ¶ 7.
Plaintiff also seeks monetary damages. Id. at
¶¶ 11, 17.
Luu filed a Notice of Removal on April 30, 2018, invoking the
Court's federal question jurisdiction. Removal at 2.
Defendant Luu 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).
Luu 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 Luu's contention that
federal question jurisdiction exists based on alleged
violations of his equal protection rights under the
Fourteenth Amendment. Removal at 4. 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