United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO REMAND 
D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
Rusty Rendon initiated this action against Defendant
Bracketron, Inc. in the Superior Court for the State of
California, County of Los Angeles. (See Notice of
Removal (“Removal”) ¶ 1, ECF No. 1.) Rendon
asserts a single cause of action for violation of the
California Unruh Civil Rights Act (“Unruh”), Cal.
Civ. Code § 51 et seq. (Removal Ex. A
(“Compl.”) ¶¶ 21-28, ECF No. 1-1.) On
October 16, 2019, Bracketron removed the action to this Court
on the basis of federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1331. Bracketron argues that Rendon's Unruh
claim raises a federal question because it is predicated on a
violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12182 et seq.
(Removal ¶¶ 3-4.)
moves to remand for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
(“Motion”). (Mot. to Remand (“Mot.”),
ECF No. 8.) For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS
courts have subject matter jurisdiction only as authorized by
the Constitution and Congress. U.S. Const. art. III, §
2, cl. 1; see also Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). A suit filed in state
court may be removed to federal court only if the federal
court would have had original jurisdiction over the suit. 28
U.S.C. § 1441(a). Federal courts have original
jurisdiction where an action arises under federal law or
where each plaintiff's citizenship is diverse from each
defendant's citizenship and the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332(a).
removal statute is strictly construed against removal, and
“[f]ederal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is
any doubt as to the right of removal in the first
instance.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564,
566 (9th Cir. 1992). A court resolves all ambiguity in favor
of remand to state court. Id. The party seeking
removal bears the burden of establishing federal
jurisdiction. Durham v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 445
F.3d 1247, 1252 (9th Cir. 2006).
argues the Court must remand because his sole claim is a
state-law claim for violation of Unruh that does not give
rise to federal question jurisdiction. (Mot. 1.) Bracketron
opposes remand and contends that Rendon's Unruh claim is
premised “solely” on violation of the ADA, making
federal law a necessary element of his claim. (See
Opp'n to Mot. (“Opp'n”) 1, ECF No. 11.)
a state law claim gives rise to a federal question only when
a federal law is a necessary element of the state claim.
Wander v. Kaus, 304 F.3d 856, 857-58 (9th Cir.
2002). However, the “mere presence of a federal issue
in a state cause of action does not automatically confer
federal-question jurisdiction.” Merrell Dow Pharms.
Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 813 (1986). “When
a claim can be supported by alternative and independent
theories-one of which is a state law theory and one of which
is a federal law theory-federal question jurisdiction does
not attach because federal law is not a necessary element of
the claim.” Rains v. Criterion Sys., Inc., 80
F.3d 339, 346 (9th Cir. 1996).
present context, Unruh may be violated in a number of ways,
only one of which is an ADA violation. See generally
Cal. Civ. Code § 51. In his Complaint, Rendon pleads
alternate theories of liability, that Bracketron violated
Unruh by (1) intentionally discriminatory conduct (Compl.
¶ 24) and (2) violation of the ADA (Compl. ¶ 25).
Thus, the federal law theory is not a necessary element of
the Unruh claim and federal question jurisdiction does not
attach. See Licea v. Reebok Int'l Ltd, No. CV
19-00970 TJH (Ex), 2019 WL 4014431, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 23,
2019) (remanding because “the Unruh Act's
incorporation of the ADA is insufficiently substantial to
make the ADA a necessary element”).
argues the Court should not remand because Rendon will
abandon his non-ADA theory of liability once firmly in state
court and his non-ADA theory of liability is not actionable.
(Opp'n 1, 7-8.) To begin, the Court evaluates removal
jurisdiction based on a federal question from the complaint
as it existed at the time of removal. Libhart v. Santa
Monica Dairy Co., 592 F.2d 1062, 1065 (9th Cir. 1979).
Rendon's Complaint clearly alleges alternate theories of
liability under both state and federal law, as discussed
above. The Court declines to speculate as to how Rendon may
pursue his claim going forward. See Martinez v.
Greatcollections.com, LLC, No. 8:19-CV-01647-JLS (KESx),
2019 WL 4742299, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 27, 2019) (declining
to “speculate about developments that may alter the
jurisdictional analysis down the road”). Similarly, the
merits of Rendon's Unruh claim are not presently before
the Court; rather, the Court considers only whether
Rendon's Complaint gives rise to federal question
jurisdiction. It does not. As such, the Court must remand.
reasons discussed above, the Court GRANTS Rendon's Motion
to Remand. (ECF No. 8). The Court REMANDS this action to the
Superior Court for the State of California, County of Los
Angeles, Stanley Mosk Courthouse, 111 North Hill Street, Los