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Quentmeyer v. Davis

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 11, 2019




         Before the court is plaintiff's motion to remand. (ECF No. 5.) Plaintiff's motion came on regularly for hearing on June 26, 2019. Michael Mapes appeared for plaintiff. Defendant appeared and represented himself pro se. Upon review of the documents in support and opposition, the parties' arguments, and good cause appearing therefor, THE COURT FINDS AS FOLLOWS:

         I. Background

         Plaintiff is the court appointed trustee of the Wesley D. Davis Irrevocable Trust. According to plaintiff, he received this appointment after defendant was removed from office for breach of fiduciary duties. (ECF No. 5 at 2.) Following his appointment, plaintiff was “tasked with distribution of the estate, ” which required him to “clear liens recorded on the property filed by Defendant and regain possession of real property which was being occupied by Defendant.” (Id.) As a result, two legal actions ensued: a petition to expunge a lien and an unlawful detainer complaint. (Id.; see also ECF No. 1 at 10 (petition for order striking and releasing property based on California Civil Code § 8480); ECF No. 1 at 137 (unlawful detainer complaint).) Plaintiff is not seeking damages, only possession of real property located in Nevada County, California. (ECF No. 5 at 3.)

         On April 9, 2019, defendant removed plaintiff's petition to expunge and unlawful detainer complaint from Nevada County Superior Court to this court. (ECF No. 1.) On May 9, 2019, plaintiff filed a motion to remand under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) based on a defect in removal procedure for one of the complaints and lack of jurisdiction for both complaints. (ECF No. 5.) Defendant filed an opposition on May 29, 2019 (ECF No. 7), and plaintiff filed a reply on June 18, 2019 (ECF No. 8).

         II. Plaintiff's Motion to Remand

         Plaintiff sets forth several arguments in favor of remand. Plaintiff argues that defendant's removal was improper because no federal question is alleged in either underlying matter. (ECF No. 5 at 4.) Plaintiff further argues that defendant failed to timely remove the lien petition within the requisite 30 days, which was served on February 19, 2019; and defendant availed himself to the lien petition proceedings by appearing and contesting the petition. (Id. at 5.)

         Plaintiff requests reimbursement of fees and costs in the amount of $4, 410. (Id.; see also ECF No. 8 at 3, ECF No. 8-1.)

         III. Defendant's Opposition to the Motion to Remand

         Defendant makes a number of arguments in support of federal subject matter jurisdiction. First, defendant argues that Nevada County lacks “territorial jurisdiction” over the removed complaints. (ECF No. 7 at 2.) Second, defendant argues that plaintiff “does not dispute the evidence of the certified copy of the grant deed metes and bounds of the physical location upon which the [Nevada County Court] is currently seated.” (Id. at 2-3.) Although not entirely clear, it appears to the court that defendant's position is that Nevada County has “federal character and status” and therefore federal venue must be “deemed admitted” by plaintiff because the court “conducts its business under the thrust of” a federal employer tax identification number. (Id.) Third, defendant argues that the Foreign Sovereignty Immunities Act has been invoked, which provides a remedy prohibiting any state court from adjudicating any claim against a sovereign entity that has invoked the Act. (Id. at 7.) In that regard, defendant claims he has “asserted [his] inherent right as a free born Caucasian descendant of the posterity of the creators of that noble piece of paper that binds the nation states together . . . .” (Id.) Finally, defendant argues that the Nevada County Superior Court and plaintiff's counsel have federal employee tax identification numbers, which confers subject matter jurisdiction over the complaints at issue. (Id. at 10.)

         IV. Legal Standard

         In relevant part, the federal removal statute provides:

(a) Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of 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 of the United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.

28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). “The defendant bears the burden of establishing that removal is proper.” Provincial Gov't of Marinduque v. Placer Dome, Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir. 2009). “The removal statute is strictly construed against removal jurisdiction, ” id., and removal jurisdiction “must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance, ” Geographic ...

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