United States District Court, C.D. California
PRESENT HONORABLE THE PERCY ANDERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
IN CHAMBERS - COURT ORDER
the the Court is a Notice of Removal filed by defendant
Gabriel Garcia (“Defendant”) on July 23, 2019.
(Docket No. 1.) Plaintiff 5800 Harold, LLC
(“Plaintiff”) filed its complaint in Los Angeles
County Superior Court alleging a single state-law claim for
unlawful detainer. Defendant, who is appearing pro se,
asserts that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction on
the basis of federal question jurisdiction. (Id.
¶¶ 5-14.) See 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
courts are of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter
jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution
and Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian
Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673,
128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). A “strong presumption”
against removal jurisdiction exists. Gaus v. Miles,
Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567 (9th Cir. 1992). In seeking
removal, the defendant bears the burden of proving that
jurisdiction exists. Scott v. Breeland, 792 F.2d
925, 927 (9th Cir. 1986).
28 U.S.C. § 1331, this Court has original jurisdiction
over civil actions “arising under” federal law.
Removal based on § 1331 is governed by the
“well-pleaded complaint” rule. Caterpillar,
Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392, 107 S.Ct. 2425, 96
L.Ed.2d 318 (1987). Under the rule, “federal
jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented
on the face of plaintiff's properly pleaded
complaint.” Id. at 392. If the complaint does
not specify whether a claim is based on federal or state law,
it is a claim “arising under” federal law only if
it is “clear” that it raises a federal question.
Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir.
1996). Thus, plaintiff is generally the “master of the
claim.” Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 392. There is
no federal question jurisdiction simply because there is a
federal defense to the claim. Id. The only exception
to this rule is where a plaintiff's federal claim has
been disguised by “artful pleading, ” such as
where the only claim is a federal one or is a state claim
preempted by federal law. Sullivan v. First Affiliated
Sec., Inc., 813 F.2d 1368, 1372 (9th Cir. 1987).
the underlying Complaint contains a single cause of action
for unlawful detainer, which does not arise under federal
law. Defendant alleges that removal is proper because
Plaintiff's actions in attempting to evict Defendant
violate the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (the
“PTFA”) and that Plaintiff's unlawful
detainer action is an artfully pleaded action that is in fact
for violation of the PTFA. (See Notice of Removal
¶¶ 5-14.) However, the PTFA does not create a
private right of action; rather, it provides a defense to
state law unlawful detainer actions. See Logan v. U.S.
Bank Nat'l Ass'n, 722 F.3d 1163, 1165 (9th Cir.
2013) (affirming dismissal of complaint because the PTFA
“does not create a private right of action allowing
[plaintiff] to enforce its requirements”). Neither a
federal defense nor a federal counterclaim forms a basis for
removal. See Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 392; see
also Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49,
59-62, 129 S.Ct. 1262, 173 L.Ed.2d 206 (2009) (“Under
the longstanding well-pleaded complaint rule, . . . a suit
‘arises under' federal law ‘only when the
plaintiff's statement of his own cause of action shows
that it is based upon [federal law].'” (quoting
Louisville & Nashville R.R. Co. v. Mottley, 211
U.S. 149, 152, 29 S.Ct. 42, 53 L.Ed. 126 (1908))). Defendant
therefore has failed to invoke this Court's federal
foregoing reasons, Defendant has failed to meet his burden to
demonstrate that federal subject matter jurisdiction exists
over this action. Because the Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, this action is hereby remanded to Los Angeles
County Superior Court, No. 19STUD03697. See 28
U.S.C. § ...