United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING REQUEST TO PROCEED
IN FORMA PAUPERIS
D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Omni South Hill, LP (“Plaintiff”) filed an
unlawful detainer action in Los Angeles County Superior Court
against Defendants Andrew Knight, Carol Aitcheson, and Does 1
to 10 (“Defendants”). Amended First Notice of
Motion to Remand to State Court, Attached Complaint
(“Compl.”), Dkt. No. 7 at 11-15. Defendants are
allegedly occupants of real property owned by Plaintiff and
located in Los Angeles, California. Compl. ¶¶ 1-6.
Plaintiff filed the unlawful detainer action seeking
forfeiture of the rental agreement, monetary damages, and
reasonable attorney fees. Id. at ¶ 17.
Knight filed a Notice of Removal on December 2, 2019,
invoking the Court's federal question and diversity
jurisdiction. Notice of Removal, Dkt. No. 1 at 1-3. Defendant
Knight also filed a request to proceed in forma
pauperis. Dkt. No. 3.
December 6, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Motion to
Remand to State Court and an Amended First Notice of Motion
to Remand to State Court. Dkt. Nos. 6, 7.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject
matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the
Constitution and statute. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian
Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128
L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). It is this Court's duty always to
examine its own subject matter jurisdiction, see Arbaugh
v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514, 126 S.Ct. 1235, 163
L.Ed.2d 1097 (2006), and the Court may remand a case
summarily if there is an obvious jurisdictional issue.
Cf. Scholastic Entm't, Inc. v. Fox Entm't Grp.,
Inc., 336 F.3d 982, 985 (9th Cir. 2003) (“While a
party is entitled to notice and an opportunity to respond
when a court contemplates dismissing a claim on the merits,
it is not so when the dismissal is for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction.”) (omitting internal citations). A
defendant attempting to remove an action from state to
federal court bears the burden of proving that jurisdiction
exists. See Scott v. Breeland, 792 F.2d 925, 927
(9th Cir. 1986). Further, a “strong presumption”
against removal jurisdiction exists. See Gaus v. Miles,
Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567 (9th Cir. 1992).
asserts that this Court has federal question and diversity
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332,
and 1441. Removal at 2-3. Section 1441 provides, in relevant
part, that a defendant may remove to federal court a civil
action in state court of which the federal court has original
jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Section
1331 provides that federal “district courts shall have
original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”
See Id. § 1331. Section 1332 provides that
federal “district courts shall have original
jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in
controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000, ” and
is between “citizens of different States.”
See id. § 1332.
the Court's review of the Notice of Removal and attached
Complaint makes clear that this Court neither federal
question nor diversity jurisdiction over the instant matter.
First, there is no federal question apparent from the face of
the Complaint, which appears to allege only a simple unlawful
detainer cause of action. See Wescom Credit Union v.
Dudley, No. CV 10-8203 GAF (SSx), 2010 WL 4916578, at *2
(C. D. Cal. Nov. 22, 2010) (“An unlawful detainer
action does not arise under federal law.”) (citation
omitted); IndyMac Federal Bank, F.S.B. v. Ocampo,
No. EDCV 09-2337-PA (DTBx), 2010 WL 234828, at *2 (C.D. Cal.
Jan. 13, 2010) (remanding an action to state court for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction where plaintiff's
complaint contained only an unlawful detainer claim).
is no merit to Defendant's contention that federal
question jurisdiction exists based on an alleged violation by
Plaintiff of the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act. Removal
at 2. It is well settled that a “case may not be
removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense .
. . even if the defense is anticipated in the plaintiff's
complaint, and even if both parties concede that the federal
defense is the only question truly at issue.”
Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 393, 107
S.Ct. 2425, 2430, 96 L.Ed. 318 (1987). Thus, to the extent
Defendant's defenses to the unlawful detainer action are
based on alleged violations of federal law, those defenses do
not provide a basis for federal question jurisdiction.
See Id. Because Plaintiff's Complaint does not
present a federal question, either on its face or as artfully
pled, the Court lacks jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
there is no basis for diversity jurisdiction because the
amount in controversy does not exceed the diversity
jurisdiction threshold of $75, 000. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332(a). The amount in controversy is determined from
the complaint itself, unless it appears to a legal certainty
that the claim is worth a different amount than that pled in
the complaint. Horton v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 367
U.S. 348, 354, 81 S.Ct. 1570, 6 L.Ed.2d 890 (1961);
Lowdermilk v. United States Bank Nat'l Assoc.,
479 F.3d 994, 999 (9th Cir. 2007). In filing the action,
Plaintiff explicitly limited its demand for damages to
“less than $10, 000.00.” See Dkt. No. 7
at 13. Because the amount of damages that Plaintiff seeks
appears to be below the jurisdictional minimum, the Court
cannot exercise diversity jurisdiction in this case.
IT IS ORDERED that this case is REMANDED to the Superior
Court of California, County of Los Angeles, forthwith.
FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant's request to proceed
in forma pauperis and all other ...