United States District Court, S.D. California
William Q. Hayes United States District Court
matter before the Court is the Motion for Leave to Proceed In
Forma Pauperis filed by Defendant Devin Bell. (ECF No. 2).
9, 2019, Plaintiff Bank of America, National Association
(“Bank of America”), initiated this action by
filing a Verified Complaint for Unlawful Detainer and Damages
in the Superior Court for the State of California, County of
San Diego, against Defendants Gloria Bernice German and Does
1 through 10. (ECF No. 1-2). In the Complaint, Bank of
America alleges that it is entitled to possession of real
property located at 3965 Newton Avenue, San Diego,
California, 92113 (the “Property”). Bank of
America alleges that it served Defendants with a written
notice requiring Defendants to vacate the property, and
Defendants failed to vacate the property. Bank of America
alleges a single claim for unlawful detainer under California
August 27, 2019, Devin Bell filed a Prejudgment Claim of
Right to Possession in state court and was added as a
Defendant in this case. See ECF No. 1-2 at 23.
November 20, 2019, Bell removed the action to this Court.
(ECF No. 1). In the Notice of Removal, Bell alleges that
Defendant German is Bell's deceased grandmother. Bell
alleges that German bequeathed the Property to Bell's
mother pursuant to a written will. Bell alleges that removal
is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441(a) through
1446. Bell alleges that the Court has jurisdiction pursuant
to “Diversity requirements” and “28 U.S.C.,
section 1443 (1): Denial of due process in U.D.
actions.” (Id. at 2).
November 20, 2019, Bell filed a Motion to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis. (ECF No. 2).
court has an independent duty to assess whether federal
subject matter jurisdiction exists. See United Investors
Life Ins. Co. v. Waddell & Reed Inc., 360 F.3d 960,
967 (9th Cir. 2004) (stating that “the district court
had a duty to establish subject matter jurisdiction over the
removed action sua sponte, whether the parties raised the
issue or not”); accord Rains v. Criterion Sys.,
Inc., 80 F.3d 339, 342 (9th Cir. 1996). Because subject
matter jurisdiction may not be waived by the parties, a
district court must remand a removed case if it lacks
jurisdiction over the matter. Kelton Arms Condominium
Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. Homestead Ins. Co., 346 F.3d
1190, 1192 (9th Cir. 2003); accord Sparta Surgical Corp.
v. Nat'l Ass'n of Sec. Dealers, Inc., 159 F.3d
1209, 1211 (9th Cir. 1998); see also 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.”).
federal removal statute provides, in relevant part:
Except as otherwise expressly provided by Act of 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 of the United States for
the district and division embracing the place where such
action is pending.
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). “The defendant bears the
burden of establishing that removal is proper.”
Provincial Gov't of Marinduque v. Placer Dome,
Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir. 2009). “The
removal statute is strictly construed against removal
jurisdiction, ” id., and removal jurisdiction
“‘must be rejected if there is any doubt as to
the right of removal in the first instance'”
Geographic Expeditions, Inc. v. Estate of Lhotka,
599 F.3d 1102, 1106 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting Gaus v.
Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (per
courts have original jurisdiction where “the parties
[are] in complete diversity and the amount in controversy
exceed[s] $75, 000.” Matheson v. Progressive
Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003)
(citing 28 U.S.C. § 1332). “Subject matter
jurisdiction based upon diversity of citizenship requires
that no defendant have the same citizenship as any
plaintiff.” Tosco Corp. v. Cmtys. for a Better
Env't, 236 F.3d 495, 499 (9th Cir. 2001). For the
purposes of determining diversity of citizenship, “like
a partnership, an LLC is a citizen of every state of which
its owners/members are citizens.” Johnson v.
Columbia Props. Anchorage, LP, 437 F.3d 894, 899 (9th
Cir. 2006). A corporation is a citizen of “every State
and foreign state by which is has been incorporated and of
the State or foreign state where it has its principal place
of business . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1).
“The natural person's state of citizenship is [ ]
determined by her state of domicile.” Kanter v.
Warner-Lambert Co., 265 F.3d 853, 857 (9th Cir. 2001).
courts further have original jurisdiction over “all
civil actions that arise under the Constitution, laws, or
treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
“A case ‘arises under' federal law either
where federal law creates the cause of action or ‘where
the vindication of a right under state law necessarily
turn[s] on some construction of federal law.'”
Republican Party of Guam v. Gutierrez, 277 F.3d
1086, 1088-89 (9th Cir. 2002) (modification in original)
(citing Franchise Tax Bd. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation
Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1983)). “[T]he presence or
absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed by the
‘well-pleaded complaint rule,' which provides that
federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is
presented on the face of the plaintiff's properly pleaded
complaint.” Placer Dome, Inc., 582 F.3d at
1091; Ultramar Am. Ltd. v. Dwelle, 900 F.2d 1412,
1414 (9th Cir. 1990) (“Ordinarily, the existence of
federal question jurisdiction is determined from the face of
the complaint.”). “In determining the existence