United States District Court, S.D. California
U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, As Trustee for Harborview Mortgage Loan Trust 2005-8, Mortgage Loan Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2005-8, its assignees and/or successors, Plaintiff,
SALEM SOMO and DOES 1-10, Inclusive, Defendant.
ORDER: SUA SPONTE REMANDING THE CASE BACK TO SAN
DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT
ANTHONY J. BATTAGLIA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Salem Somo (“Defendant”) removed this unlawful
detainer case to federal court. (Doc. No. 1.) Although no
motion to remand has been filed, the Court has a continuous
duty to evaluate its jurisdiction over cases. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(g)(3). Thus, for the reasons herein, the Court
REMANDS this action back to San Diego
has authorized a defendant to remove a civil action from
state court to federal court. 28 U.S.C. §1441. However,
the removing party “always has the burden of
establishing that removal was proper.” Gaus v.
Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). The
district court must remand any case previously removed from a
state court “if at any time before final judgment it
appears that the district court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. §1447(c). Moreover, there
is a strong presumption against removal jurisdiction. Thus,
doubts as to whether the federal court has subject matter
jurisdiction must be resolved in favor of remand. See
Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir. 1996);
see also 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.”).
Plaintiffs have not moved the Court to remand, “a
district court's duty to establish subject matter
jurisdiction is not contingent upon the parties'
arguments.” See United Investors Life Ins. Co. v.
Waddell & Reed Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 966 (9th Cir.
2004). Courts may consider the issue sua sponte.
Demery v. Kupperman, 735 F.2d 1139, 1149 n.8 (9th
Cir. 1984). Indeed, the Supreme Court has emphasized that
“district courts have an ‘independent obligation
to address subject-matter jurisdiction sua
sponte.'” Grupo Dataflux v. Atlas Global
Grp., L.P., 541 U.S. 567, 593 (2004) (quoting United
States v. S. Cal. Edison Co., 300 F.Supp.2d 964, 972
(E.D. Cal. 2004)).
Notice of Removal asserts this Court has jurisdiction under
28 U.S.C. § 1331, 1441(a) and 1446. (Doc. No. 1 at 1.)
Specifically, Defendant argues Plaintiff “expressly
references and incorporates the ‘Protecting Tenants at
Foreclosure Act of 2009.'” For the reasons
explained below, the Court does not have federal question
jurisdiction nor diversity jurisdiction over this action.
there is no federal question because the unlawful detainer
complaint only invokes California law. (See Doc. No.
1 at 6-7.) Generally, “[f]ederal jurisdiction typically
exists only when a federal question is presented on the face
of the plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint.”
Valles v. Ivy Hill Corp., 410 F.3d 1071, 1075 (9th
Cir. 2005). The complaint filed in state court solely
concerns unlawful detainer under California law and does not
even reference a federal statute as Defendant suggests.
See Aurora Loan Servs., LLC v. Montoya, No.
2:11-cv-2485-MCE-KJN-PS, 2011 WL 5508926, at *3 (E.D. Cal.
Nov. 9, 2011) (“[P]laintiff filed its Complaint in
Superior Court asserting a single claim for unlawful detainer
premised solely on California law. Because a claim for
unlawful detainer does not by itself present a federal
question or necessarily turn on the construction of federal
law, no basis for federal question jurisdiction appears on
the face of the Complaint.”); see also Sage Home
Mortg., LLC v. Roohan, No.: 17-cv-1409-AJB-JMA, 2017
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118119, at * (S.D. Cal. July 27, 2017)
(same). Accordingly, federal question jurisdiction does not
jurisdiction also fails to provide this Court with
jurisdiction as Plaintiffs' principal place of business
is California and Defendant resides in California. Moreover,
the amount in controversy in the complaint does not exceed
the statutory minimum of $75, 000 required to invoke
diversity jurisdiction. “In unlawful detainer actions,
. . . the amount of damages sought in the complaint, not the
value of the subject real property, determines the amount in
controversy.” Litton Loan Servicing, L.P. v.
Villegas, No. C 10-05478 PJH, 2011 WL 204322, *2 (N.D.
Cal. Jan. 21, 2011). Here, the state court complaint states
the “amount demanded does not exceed $10, 000.”
(Doc. No. 1 at 5.) Thus, the total amount of damages is well
below the $75, 000 statutory minimum for diversity
Defendant cannot establish federal jurisdiction or diversity
jurisdiction, removal was improper. The Court, sua
sponte, REMANDS this case back to the
San Diego Superior Court for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. The Court Clerk is ORDERED to
then close the case.