United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
DEBORAH BARNES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
April 1, 2019, defendant Michael Ingram El filed a notice of
removal of this action from the Sacramento County Superior
Court. (ECF No. 1.) Defendant is proceeding pro se.
Accordingly, the matter has been referred to the undersigned
for all purposes encompassed by Local Rule 302(c)(21).
September 27, 2019, the undersigned issued to defendant an
order to show cause as to why this action should not be
remanded to the Sacramento County Superior court due to a
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (ECF No. 4.) Defendant
was provided fourteen days to file a response. The time for
filing a response has passed and defendant has failed to
respond to the order to show cause.
explained to defendant in the September 27, 2019 order,
jurisdiction is a threshold inquiry that must precede the
adjudication of any case before the district court.
Morongo Band of Mission Indians v. Cal. State Bd. of
Equalization, 858 F.2d 1376, 1380 (9th Cir. 1988).
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and may
adjudicate only those cases authorized by federal law.
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375,
377 (1994); Willy v. Coastal Corp., 503 U.S. 131,
136-37 (1992). “Federal courts are presumed to lack
jurisdiction, ‘unless the contrary appears
affirmatively from the record.'” Casey v.
Lewis, 4 F.3d 1516, 1519 (9th Cir. 1993) (quoting
Bender v. Williamsport Area Sch. Dist., 475 U.S.
534, 546 (1986)).
subject matter jurisdiction may be raised by the court at any
time during the proceedings. Attorneys Trust v. Videotape
Computer Prods., Inc., 93 F.3d 593, 594-95 (9th Cir.
1996). A federal court “ha[s] an independent obligation
to address sua sponte whether [it] has subject-matter
jurisdiction.” Dittman v. California, 191 F.3d
1020, 1025 (9th Cir. 1999). It is the obligation of the
district court “to be alert to jurisdictional
requirements.” Grupo Dataflux v. Atlas Global
Group, L.P., 541 U.S. 567, 593 (2004). Without
jurisdiction, the district court cannot decide the merits of
a case or order any relief. See Morongo, 858 F.2d at
basic federal jurisdiction statutes are 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331 and 1332, which confer “federal
question” and “diversity” jurisdiction,
respectively. Federal jurisdiction may also be conferred by
federal statutes regulating specific subject matter.
“[T]he existence of federal jurisdiction depends solely
on the plaintiff's claims for relief and not on
anticipated defenses to those claims.” ARCO Envtl.
Remediation, LLC v. Dep't of Health & Envtl.
Quality, 213 F.3d 1108, 1113 (9th Cir. 2000).
courts have diversity jurisdiction only over “all civil
actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or
value of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs, ”
and the action is between: “(1) citizens of different
States; (2) citizens of a State and citizens or subjects of a
foreign state; (3) citizens of different States and in which
citizens or subjects of a foreign state are additional
parties; and (4) a foreign state . . . as plaintiff and
citizens of a State or of different States.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332. “To demonstrate citizenship for diversity
purposes a party must (a) be a citizen of the United States,
and (b) be domiciled in a state of the United States.”
Lew v. Moss, 797 F.2d 747, 749 (9th Cir. 1986).
“Diversity jurisdiction requires complete diversity
between the parties-each defendant must be a citizen of a
different state from each plaintiff.” In re
Digimarc Corp. Derivative Litigation, 549 F.3d 1223,
1234 (9th Cir. 2008).
well established that the statutes governing removal
jurisdiction must be “strictly construed against
removal.” Libhart v. Santa Monica Dairy Co.,
592 F.2d 1062, 1064 (9th Cir. 1979) (citing Shamrock Oil
& Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108 (1941));
see also Syngenta Crop Prot., Inc. v. Henson, 537
U.S. 28, 32 (2002); Provincial Gov't of Martinduque
v. Placer Dome, Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir.
2009). “Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there
is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first
instance.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564,
566 (9th Cir. 1992). “‘The burden of establishing
federal jurisdiction falls on the party invoking
removal.'” Harris v. Provident Life &
Accident Ins. Co., 26 F.3d 930, 932 (9th Cir. 1994)
(quoting Gould v. Mut. Life Ins. Co., 790 F.2d 769,
771 (9th Cir.1986)); see also Provincial Gov't of
Martinduque, 582 F.3d at 1087.
plaintiff is the State of California and defendant is a
citizen of California. And plaintiff is attempting to remove
a state law misdemeanor action that does not involve a
federal question. (ECF No. 1 at 15-16.) In this regard, there
appears to be no basis for either federal question or
the Younger abstention doctrine generally forbids
federal courts from interfering with ongoing state judicial
proceedings. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37,
53-54 (1971); Kenneally v. Lungren, 967 F.2d 329,
331 (9th Cir. 1992). “Younger abstention is appropriate
only when the state proceedings: (1) are ongoing, (2) are
quasi-criminal enforcement actions or involve a state's
interest in enforcing the orders and judgments of its courts,
(3) implicate an important state interest, and (4) allow
litigants to raise federal challenges.” ReadyLink
Healthcare, Inc. v. State Compensation Ins. Fund, 754
F.3d 754, 759 (9th Cir. 2014). “If these four threshold
elements are established, we then consider a fifth prong: (5)
‘whether the federal action would have the practical
effect of enjoining the state proceedings and whether an
exception to Younger applies.'”
Rynearson v. Ferguson, 903 F.3d 920, 924-25 (9th
Cir. 2018) (quoting ReadyLink, 754 F.3d at 759)).
it appears that there are ongoing proceedings that are
criminal in nature, implicate an important state interest,
and which allows plaintiff to raise a federal challenge.
Moreover, this federal action would have the practical effect
of enjoining the state proceedings. Accordingly, it appears
that Younger abstention is appropriate. See
Potrero Hills Landfill Inc. v. County of Solano, 657
F.3d 876, 882 (9th Cir. 2011) (“absent extraordinary
circumstances, a federal court may not interfere with a
pending state criminal prosecution”).
for the reasons stated above, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that
this action be summarily remanded to the Sacramento County
findings and recommendations will be submitted to the United
States District Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the
provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Within fourteen
(14) days after being served with these findings and
recommendations, defendant may file written objections with
the court. A document containing objections should be titled
“Objections to Magistrate Judge's Findings and
Recommendations.” Defendant is advised that failure to
file objections within the specified time may, ...