United States District Court, E.D. California
WILIMINGTON SAVINGS FUND SOCIETY, FSB, D/B/A/CHRISTIANA TRUST AS OWNER TRUSTEE OF THE RESIDENTIAL CREDIT OPPORTUNITIES TRUST V, Plaintiff,
MIRIAM CROWLEY, and DOES 1 through 10, inclusive, Defendants.
MORRISON C. ENGLAND, JR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
26, 2019, Defendant MIRIAM CROWLEY, proceeding in pro se,
filed a Notice of Removal of this unlawful detainer action
from the El Dorado County Superior Court. ECF No. 1. This
Court has an independent duty to ascertain its jurisdiction
and may remand sua sponte for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
“The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction is on
the party seeking removal, and the removal statute is
strictly construed against removal jurisdiction.”
Emrich v. Touche Ross & Co., 846 F.2d 1190, 1195
(9th Cir. 1988) (internal citation omitted). “Federal
jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the
right of removal in the first instance.” Gaus v.
Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). As
explained below, Defendant has failed to meet that burden.
initially premises her Notice of Removal on the argument that
this Court has federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1443(1). See ECF No. 1, 2:26-3:2. Elsewhere in her
Notice she also claims federal jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1441(a). However, a review of the Complaint reveals
that does not allege any federal claims; instead, it alleges
only unlawful detainer under state law. ECF No. 1 at 15-17
presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is
governed by the ‘well-pleaded complaint rule,'
which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a
federal question is presented on the fact of plaintiff's
properly pleaded complaint.” Caterpillar, Inc. v.
Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). This is the case
where the complaint “establishes either that 
federal law creates the cause of action or that  the
plaintiff's right to relief necessarily depends on
resolution of a substantial question of federal law.”
Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Co. v. An Exclusive
Gas Storage Leasehold & Easement, 524 F.3d 1090,
1100 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Franchise Tax Bd. v.
Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 27-28
Plaintiff's sole claim is for unlawful detainer under
state law. At most, Defendant argues that she has a defense
under federal law. “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 admit that the defense is the only
question truly at issue in the case.” ARCO Envtl.
Remediation, LLC v. Dep't. of Health & Envtl. Quality
of the State of Montana, 213 F.3d 1108, 1113 (9th Cir.
2000) (citation and quotation marks omitted). Therefore, this
Court lacks jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a) or
goes on to assert that the Court has diversity jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) and 1441(b). She fails to
demonstrate, however, beyond an unsubstantiated assertion,
that the citizenship of the parties is diverse as required by
the statute. Moreover, even if Defendant could show the
requisite diversity, she cannot show that the amount in
controversy exceeds the sum of $75, 000 as also required by
§ 1332(a). Indeed, examination of Plaintiff's
Complaint shows that it is an unlawful detainer complaint
whose demand is specifically limited at less than $10, 000.
Consequently, the requirements for diversity jurisdiction
have not and cannot be satisfied in this case.
1. The action is REMANDED to the El Dorado County Superior
2. The Clerk of Court is directed to serve a certified copy
of the order on the Clerk of the El Dorado County Superior
Court, and reference the state case number (No. PCU20190019)
in the proof of service.
3. The Clerk of Court is directed to close this case and
vacate all dates.
4. The Clerk of the Court is ordered not to open another case
removing the following unlawful detainer action: No.