United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING REQUEST TO PROCEED
IN FORMA PAUPERIS
CHRISTINA A. SNYDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Villa Del Sol Investments, LP (“Plaintiff”) filed
an unlawful detainer action in Los Angeles County Superior
Court against Defendants Kenneth Bell and Does 1 to 5
(“Defendants”). Notice of Removal
(“Removal”) and Attached Complaint
(“Compl.”), Dkt. No. 1. Defendants are allegedly
occupants of real property owned by Plaintiff and located in
Gardena, California. Compl. ¶¶ 1-6. Plaintiff filed
the unlawful detainer action seeking forfeiture of the rental
agreement, monetary damages, and reasonable attorney fees.
Id. at ¶ 17.
Bell filed a Notice of Removal on July 22, 2019, invoking the
Court's federal question jurisdiction. Removal at 2-7.
also filed a request to proceed in forma pauperis.
Dkt. No. 2. On July 24, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to
Remand Action to State Court. Dkt. No. 6.
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).
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. Here, 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 claim).
there is no merit to Defendant's contention that federal
question jurisdiction exists based on the Protecting Tenants
at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (“PTFA”). Removal at
2-7. 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. Ass'n, 722
F.3d 1163, 1164 (9th Cir. 2013) (affirming dismissal of the
complaint because the PTFA “does not create a private
right of action allowing [plaintiff] to enforce its
requirements”); see 12 U.S.C. § 5220. 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. § 1441.
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
in forma pauperis and Plaintiffs ...