United States District Court, E.D. California
U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, as trustee for Lehman XS Trust Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2006-18N, Plaintiff,
DARYL C. CHANG, SR., Defendant.
November 5, 2019, defendant Daryl C. Chang, Sr., proceeding
pro se, removed this unlawful detainer action from San
Joaquin County Superior Court to this court. Not. of Removal,
ECF No. 1. Chang also filed a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. ECF No. 2. As explained below, this matter is
REMANDED to San Joaquin County Superior Court and the motion
to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED as moot.
SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION
case “of which the district courts of the United States
have original jurisdiction” is initially brought in
state court, a defendant may remove it to federal court. 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a). Primarily, there are two bases for
federal subject matter jurisdiction: (1)federal question
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and (2) diversity
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
courts have federal question jurisdiction over “all
civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
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].” Louisville
& Nashville R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 152
(1908). Federal question jurisdiction cannot rest upon an
actual or anticipated defense or counterclaim. Vaden v.
Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49, 60 (2009). In other words,
it is the plaintiff's assertions in the complaint, not
defendant's assertions in response to the complaint, that
form the ground upon which federal question jurisdiction
stands. See Holmes Grp., Inc. v. Vornado Air Circulation
Sys., Inc., 535 U.S. 826, 831 (2002) (“[S]ince the
plaintiff is the master of the complaint, the
well-pleaded-complaint rule enables him, by eschewing claims
based on federal law, . . . to have the cause heard in state
court.”) (some alterations in original) (citations and
internal quotations omitted).
diversity jurisdiction exists where the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000 and the parties are in complete diversity.
28 U.S.C. § 1332. “Where it is not facially
evident from the complaint that more than $75, 000 is in
controversy, the removing party must prove, by a
preponderance of the evidence, that the amount in controversy
meets the jurisdictional threshold.” Matheson v.
Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th
Cir. 2003) (per curiam).
federal district court may remand a case sua sponte where it
is readily apparent no federal subject matter jurisdiction
exists. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) (“If at
any time before final judgment it appears that the district
court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be
remanded.”); Enrich v. Touche Ross & Co.,
846 F.2d 1190, 1195 (9th Cir. 1988) (citing Wilson v.
Republic Iron & Steel Co., 257 U.S. 92, 97 (1921)).
notice of removal asks the court to “recognize that
Plaintiffs are in violation of 12 USC § 3708,
Implementing Regulation, § 1.1-1, Title 24 C.F.R.
220.814.” Not. of Removal at 2. Although not explicitly
stated, it appears Chang is attempting to invoke federal
question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 by alleging
a violation of federal law. Plaintiff's complaint,
however, provides no basis for federal question jurisdiction
because it invokes no federal law giving rise to a federal
cause of action, nor does it assert a right to relief
requiring resolution of a question of federal law. See K2
Am. Corp. v. Roland Oil & Gas, LLC, 653 F.3d 1024,
1029 (9th Cir. 2011).
state-court complaint brings an unlawful detainer action
seeking damages for the period Chang remains in the subject
property after plaintiff obtained title through a valid
trustee's sale. Not. of Removal at 10. An unlawful
detainer action does not create federal question
jurisdiction. Petaluma Theatre Square, LLC v.
Hirsch, No. 19-CV-00026-LB, 2019 WL 1171162, at *1 (N.D.
Cal. Feb. 25, 2019), report and recommendation
adopted, No. 19-CV-00026-JST, 2019 WL 1168538 (N.D. Cal.
Mar. 13, 2019). Nor does the fact Chang alludes to questions
of federal law in his removal papers. Not. of Removal at 2;
see Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir.
1996) (“An action filed in state court may be removed
only if the district court could have exercised jurisdiction
over the action if originally filed there.”).
although defendant makes no assertion that diversity creates
jurisdiction here, to the extent such an argument is implied,
diversity is also lacking. As explained, diversity
jurisdiction requires both diversity of citizenship and an
amount in controversy exceeding $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. §
1332. The court need not reach the question of citizenship
because the complaint fails to satisfy the $75, 000
amount-in-controversy threshold, and Chang does not show
otherwise. See Matheson, 319 F.3d at 1090. The
complaint characterizes this action as a
“limited” civil case, demanding less than $10,
000 in recovery. Not. of Removal at 10, 22. Chang's
removal papers do not dispute the value of the recovery
sought. See generally id.
it is worth noting this is Chang's fourth attempt to
remove an unlawful detainer action to this court within the
last eleven months. See U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n v.
Chang, 2:19-cv-00094-TLN-DB (E.D. Cal. Jan. 17, 2019)
(remanding for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction); US
Bank Nat'l Ass'n as Trustee v. Chang,
2:19-cv-00820-TLN-DB (E.D. Cal. June 24, 2019) (same); US
Bank Nat'l Ass'n as Trustee v. Chang,
2:19-cv-01280-JAM-KJN (E.D. Cal. July, 11, 2019) (same).
federal question and diversity jurisdiction do not exist, the
court must remand the case to the San Joaquin County Superior
Court from which it came.
foregoing reasons, the court REMANDS this case to San Joaquin
County Superior Court. The motion to proceed in forma