United States District Court, C.D. California
460 S. LAKE AVENUE, LTD., Plaintiff,
LAURENT APPLETON, et al., Defendants.
ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING REQUEST TO PROCEED
WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF FEES OR COSTS
CHRISTINA A. SNYDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
460 S. Lake Avenue, Ltd. (“Plaintiff”) filed an
unlawful detainer action in Los Angeles County Superior Court
against Defendants Laurent Appleton and Does 1 to 10
(“Defendants”). Notice of Removal
(“Removal”) and Attached Complaint
(“Compl.”), Dkt. No. 1. Defendants are allegedly
occupants of real property owned by Plaintiff and located in
Burbank, 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.
Appleton filed a Notice of Removal on December 13, 2019,
invoking the Court's federal question jurisdiction.
Removal at 2-3.
also filed a request to proceed without prepayment of fees or
costs. Dkt. No. 3.
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 subject matter jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1441. Removal at
2. 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.
the Court's review of the Notice of Removal and attached
Complaint makes clear that this Court does not have federal
question jurisdiction over the instant matter under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. 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
there is no merit to Defendant's contention that federal
question jurisdiction exists based on the Protecting Tenants
at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (“PTFA”). Removal at
2. The PTFA does not create a private right of action;
rather, it provides a defense to state law unlawful detainer
actions. See Logan v. U.S. Bank Nat. Ass'n, 722
F.3d 1163, 1164 (9th Cir. 2013) (affirming dismissal of the
complaint because the PTFA “does not create a private
right of action allowing [plaintiff] to enforce its
requirements”); see 12 U.S.C. § 5220. 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. § 1441.