United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER REMANDING ACTION
FERNANDO M. OLGUIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 27, 2018, defendant Hartland Property Holdings LLC
(“defendant”), having been sued by plaintiffs in
what appears to be a routine unlawful detainer action in
California state court, filed a Notice of Removal of that
action apparently on federal question jurisdiction grounds
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1441.
(See Dkt. 1, Notice of Removal of Action
(“NOR”) at 1-3).
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only
that power authorized by Constitution and statute[.]”
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 1675 (1994). The courts are
presumed to lack jurisdiction unless the contrary appears
affirmatively from the record. See DaimlerChrysler Corp.
v. Cuno, 547 U.S. 332, 342 n. 3, 126 S.Ct. 1854, 1861
(2006). Federal courts have a duty to examine jurisdiction
sua sponte before proceeding to the merits of a
case, see Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S.
574, 583, 119 S.Ct. 1563, 1569 (1999), “even in the
absence of a challenge from any party.” Arbaugh v.
Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514, 126 S.Ct.
1235, 1244 (2006).
right of removal is entirely a creature of statute and a suit
commenced in a state court must remain there until cause is
shown for its transfer under some act of Congress.”
Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. v. Henson, 537 U.S.
28, 32, 123 S.Ct. 366, 369 (2002) (internal quotation marks
omitted). Where Congress has acted to create a right of
removal, those statutes, unless otherwise stated, are
strictly construed against removal jurisdiction. See
id. Unless otherwise expressly provided by Congress,
“any civil action brought in a State court of which the
district courts of the United States have original
jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant or the
defendants, to the district court[.]” 28 U.S.C. §
1441(a); see Dennis v. Hart, 724 F.3d 1249, 1252
(9th Cir. 2013) (same). A removing defendant bears the burden
of establishing that removal is proper. See Abrego Abrego
v. The Dow Chem. Co., 443 F.3d 676, 684 (9th Cir. 2006)
(per curiam) (noting the “longstanding,
near-canonical rule that the burden on removal rests with the
removing defendant”); Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980
F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (“The strong presumption
against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always
has the burden of establishing that removal is
proper.”) (internal quotation marks omitted). Moreover,
if there is any doubt regarding the existence of subject
matter jurisdiction, the court must resolve those doubts in
favor of remanding the action to state court. See
Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566 (“Federal jurisdiction must
be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal
in the first instance.”).
the plain terms of § 1441(a), in order properly to
remove [an] action pursuant to that provision, [the removing
defendants] must demonstrate that original subject-matter
jurisdiction lies in the federal courts.” Syngenta
Crop Protection, 537 U.S. at 33, 123 S.Ct. at 370.
Failure to do so requires that the case be remanded, as
“[s]ubject matter jurisdiction may not be waived, and.
. . the district court must remand if it lacks
jurisdiction.” Kelton Arms Condo. Owners Ass'n,
Inc. v. Homestead Ins. Co., 346 F.3d 1190, 1192 (9th
Cir. 2003). Indeed, “[i]f 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); see Emrich v. Touche Ross &
Co., 846 F.2d 1190, 1194 n. 2 (9th Cir. 1988) (“It
is elementary that the subject matter jurisdiction of the
district court is not a waivable matter and may be raised at
anytime by one of the parties, by motion or in the responsive
pleadings, or sua sponte by the trial or reviewing
court.”); Washington v. United Parcel Serv.,
Inc., 2009 WL 1519894, *1 (C.D. Cal. 2009) (a district
court may remand an action where the court finds that it
lacks subject matter jurisdiction either by motion or sua
court's review of the NOR and the attached state court
Complaint makes clear that this court does not have
jurisdiction over the instant matter. In other words,
plaintiffs could not have originally brought this action in
federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction or
federal question jurisdiction. The state court complaint
contains a single cause of action for unlawful detainer.
(See Dkt. 1 (Complaint for Unlawful Detainer)).
See also Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. v. Yanez,
2016 WL 5911752, *2 (C.D. Cal. 2016) (“In unlawful
detainer actions, only the right to possession is at issue,
not the title to the property.”). Even if the amount in
controversy were satisfied, defendant has failed to
adequately show diversity of the parties as it does not set
forth the citizenship of any party. (See, generally,
Dkt. 1, Complaint for Unlawful Detainer); 28 U.S.C. §
1332(a) (providing that a district court has diversity
jurisdiction “where the matter in controversy exceeds
the sum or value of $75, 000, . . . and is between . . .
citizens of different States” or “citizens of a
State and citizens or subjects of a foreign state”);
Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d
1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003) (per curiam)
(“Where it is not facially evident from the complaint
that more than $75, 000 is in controversy, the removing party
must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the
amount in controversy meets the jurisdictional threshold.
Where doubt regarding the right to removal exists, a case
should be remanded to state court.”) (footnotes
Complaint also discloses no federal statutory or
constitutional question that would support federal question
jurisdiction. (See, generally, Dkt. 1
(Complaint for Unlawful Detainer)); see also Wescom
Credit Union v. Dudley, 2010 WL 4916578, *2 (C.D. Cal.
2010) (“An unlawful detainer action does not arise
under federal law.”) (citation omitted); see a l s
o lndymac Fed. Bank., F.S.B. v. Ocampo, 2010 WL 234828,
*2 (C.D. Cal. 2010) (“No federal claim is alleged in
the Complaint, ” where “[t]he Complaint contains
a single cause of action for unlawful detainer.”). To
the extent defendant's defenses to the unlawful detainer
action are based on alleged violations of federal law,
(see Dkt. 1, NOR), such defenses do not provide a
basis for federal question jurisdiction. 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
(1987). Thus, there is no federal question jurisdiction.
short, there is no subject matter jurisdiction.
order is not intended . Nor is it intended to be included in
or submitted to any online service such as Westlaw or
on the foregoing, IT IS ORDERED that:
1. The above-captioned action shall be
remanded to the Superior Court of the State
of California for the County of Los Angeles, 111 N. Hill St.,
Los Angeles, CA 90012, for lack of subject matter