United States District Court, S.D. California
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA and CITY OF SAN DIEGO, a municipal corporation, Plaintiffs,
JUDITH JEAN HOFFMAN, an individual; and DOES 1 through 50, inclusive, Defendants.
WILLIAM Q. HAYES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Leave
to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (ECF No. 2).
14, 2017, Plaintiffs initiated this action by filing a
Complaint in the Superior Court of California for the County
of San Diego, assigned case number
37-2017-00021581-CU-MC-CTL, against Defendant Judith Jean
Hoffman. (ECF No. 1-3 at 1).
November 22, 2019, Defendant filed a Notice of Removal. (ECF
No. 1). The same day, Defendant filed a Motion for Leave 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.”).
relevant part, the federal removal statute provides:
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
OF THE COMPLAINT
allege that Defendant is the equitable owner of a
single-family dwelling located in San Diego, CA. (ECF No. 1-3
at 3). Plaintiffs allege that, beginning in 2008,
Defendant's property has a history of state and local law
violations related to nuisance and substandard housing.
Id. Plaintiffs allege that, on September 21, 2016,
the City Code Enforcement Division (“CED”) issued
Defendant a Notice and Order to Vacate, Repair Substandard
Building, and Abate Public Nuisance pursuant to California
Health and Safety Code § 17980.6. Id. at 7.
Plaintiffs allege that, on September 21, 2016, the City
posted a copy of the Notice and Order at the property and
mailed the Notice to Defendant via first class and certified
mail. Id. Plaintiffs allege that City inspectors
conducted compliance inspections on November 2, 2016 and
April 5, 2017. Id. at 8. Plaintiffs allege that,
during both inspections, inspectors observed that Defendant
had not taken any action to remedy the nuisance and
substandard conditions identified in the Notice and Order.
Id. Plaintiffs allege that the nuisance and
substandard conditions continue to exist at the property and
the interior of the property remains extremely hoarded.
Id. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant has not vacated
the property as required in the Notice and order.
Id. Plaintiffs allege that on, April 21, 2017, the
City served notice of its intent to seek the appointment of a
receiver for the property on all parties with a recorded
interest in the property. Id. Plaintiffs allege
that, on April 25, 2017, a City Attorney Investigator
personally delivered a written notice to Hoffman regarding
the City's intent to seek a receivership. Id.
bring the following three causes of action: (1) appointment
of a receiver pursuant to California Health & Safety Code
§ 17980.7(c); (2) maintenance of a public nuisance in
violation of California Civil Code §§ 3479 and
3480; and (3) violations of the San Diego Municipal Code and
California Building Code. (ECF No. 1-3). Plaintiffs seek
appointment of a receiver, injunctive relief, costs, and
fees. Id. at 16-19.
OF THE ...