Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Chon v. Kim

United States District Court, C.D. California

October 11, 2019

Yong Ray Chon
v.
Dorothy Kim, et al.

          Present: The Honorable Fernando M. Olguin, United States District Judge

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         Proceedings: (In Chambers) Order Remanding Action

         On April 8, 2019, plaintiff filed a complaint against several individuals, including Young Bae (“Bae” or “defendant”) asserting state law claims. (See Dkt. 1, Notice of Removal (“NOR”) at ¶ 1 & Exh. A (Complaint)). On October 1, 2019, Bae removed the action based on federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1441. (See Dkt. 1, NOR at ¶ 3).

         “Federal 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).

         “The 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.”).

         “Under 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 sponte).

         The 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, plaintiff could not have originally brought this action in federal court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction since the state court complaint contains only state-law claims. (See Dkt. 1, Exh. A, Complaint).

         For purposes of removal based on federal question jurisdiction, the well-pleaded complaint rule “provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint.” Smallwood v. Allied Van Lines, Inc., 660 F.3d 1115, 1120 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392, 107 S.Ct. 2425, 2429 (1987)). “As the master of the complaint, a plaintiff may defeat removal by choosing not to plead independent federal claims.” ARCO Envt'l Remediation, L.L.C. v. Dep't of Health & Envt'l Quality of Montana, 213 F.3d 1108, 1114 (9th Cir. 2000). Here, the state-court complaint discloses no federal statutory or constitutional question that would support federal question jurisdiction. (See, generally, Dkt. 1, Exh. A (Complaint)).

         To the extent defendant's defenses to the state law claims are based on violations of federal statutes, or the automatic bankruptcy stay, (see Dkt. 1, NOR at ¶ 3), 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); La Wave, LLC v. 55 Trading Corp., 2017 WL 2636032, *2 (C.D. Cal. 2017) (remanding in part because 11 U.S.C. § 362 “cannot serve as the basis for federal question jurisdiction”); Colfin AI-CA5, LLC v. Perez, 2014 WL 12603196, *1 (C.D. Cal. 2014) (“Even assuming . . . that a violation of the [automatic] stay constitutes a defense to the unlawful detainer action, the existence of this defense would not transmute plaintiff's cause of action into one ‘arising under' federal law.”); see also Franchise Tax Bd. of the State of California v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust for Southern California, 463 U.S. 1, 27-28, 103 S.Ct. 2841, 2856 (1983), superseded by statute on other grounds, as recognized in DB Healthcare, LLC v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Inc., 2017 WL 1075050, *4 (9th Cir. 2017) (“Congress has given the lower federal courts jurisdiction to hear, originally or by removal from state court, only those cases in which a well-pleaded 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.”).

         In short, given that any doubt regarding the existence of subject matter jurisdiction must be resolved in favor of remanding the action to state court, see Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566, the court is not persuaded, under the circumstances here, that defendant has met his burden. Therefore, there is no basis for federal question jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         This order is not intended . Nor is it intended to be included in or submitted to any online service such as Westlaw or Lexis.

         CONCLUSION

         Based 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.