United States District Court, S.D. California
MAKSUT MAX INCIYAN, in individual and representative capacity as trustee of the Inciyan Family Trust, Plaintiff,
THE CITY OF CARLSBAD; and ROES 1 through 20, Defendants.
ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT FOR LACK
OF SUBJECT-MATTER JURISDICTION (ECF NO. 1)
JANIS L. SAMMARTINO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is the Complaint Against the City of
Carlsbad for indemnification, comparative indemnity,
declaratory relief, contribution, and affirmative injunction
filed by Plaintiff Maksut Max Inciyan, individually and in
his representative capacity as trustee of the Inciyan Family
Trust, see generally ECF No. 1
(“Compl.”), as well as the Parties' briefs
filed in response to the Court's December 19, 2019 Order
to Show Cause, ECF No. 4. See ECF Nos. 8
(“Pl.'s Resp.”), 9 (“Def.'s
Resp.”), 10 (“Pl.'s Reply”). Having
carefully considered Plaintiff's Complaint, the
Parties' arguments, and the law, the Court
DISMISSES Plaintiff's Complaint for lack
of subject-matter jurisdiction.
court has an independent obligation to address sua
sponte whether [it] ha[s] subject matter
jurisdiction.” Allstate Ins. Co. v. Hughes,
358 F.3d 1089, 1093 (9th Cir. 2004) (citing Dittman v.
California, 191 F.3d 1020, 1025 (9th Cir. 1999)).
“Federal district courts are courts of limited
jurisdiction that ‘may not grant relief absent a
constitutional or valid statutory grant of jurisdiction'
and are ‘presumed to lack jurisdiction in a particular
case unless the contrary affirmatively appears.'”
Cooper v. Tokyo Elec. Power Co., 990 F.Supp.2d 1035,
1038 (S.D. Cal. 2013) (quoting A-Z Int'l v.
Phillips, 323 F.3d 1141, 1145 (9th Cir. 2003)).
subject matter jurisdiction is based on the presence of a
federal question, see 28 U.S.C. § 1331, or on
complete diversity of citizenship between the parties.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Under 28 U.S.C. §
1332, courts have diversity jurisdiction when the
“matter in controversy exceeds . . . $75, 000 . . . and
is between . . . [¶] citizens of different
States.” Federal courts have federal question
jurisdiction for “all civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 1331.
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 arises in two
situations.” Cummings v. Cenergy Int'l Servs.,
LLC, 258 F.Supp.3d 1097, 1106 (E.D. Cal. 2017).
“First, a court may exercise federal-question
jurisdiction where a federal right or immunity is ‘an
element, and an essential one, of the plaintiff's cause
of action.'” Id. (quoting Franchise
Tax Bd. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust for S. Cal.,
463 U.S. 1, 11 (1983)). “Second, federal-question
jurisdiction arises where a state-law claim
‘necessarily raise[s] a stated federal issue, actually
disputed and substantial, which a federal forum may entertain
without disturbing any congressionally approved balance of
federal and state judicial responsibilities.'”
Id. (quoting Grable & Sons Metal Prod., Inc.
v. Darue Eng'g & Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 314
assess federal-question jurisdiction, courts apply the
‘well-pleaded complaint' rule under which
‘federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal
question is presented on the face of the plaintiff's
properly pleaded complaint.'” Id. (quoting
Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 391-92
(1987)). “A defense is not a part of a plaintiff's
properly pleaded statement of his or her claim.”
Id. (quoting Rivet v. Regions Bank, 522
U.S. 470, 475 (1998)).
December 10, 2018, Chris Langer filed a complaint against Mr.
Inciyan for damages and injunctive relief for violations of
the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 12101 et seq., and the Unruh Civil
Rights Act, California Civil Code §§ 51-53.
See Complaint, Langer v. Inciyan et al.
(“Langer”), No. 18CV2767 JLS (MSB) (S.D.
Cal. filed Dec. 10, 2018), ECF No. 1 (“Langer
Compl.”). Mr. Langer alleged that “there is no
compliant parking space marked and reserved for persons with
disabilities at [Mr. Inciyan's] Restaurant.”
Langer Compl. ¶ 13.
12, 2019, Mr. Inciyan sought leave to implead the City of
Carlsbad in Langer. See Motion for Leave to
File Third Party Complaint, Langer (filed July 12,
2019), ECF No. 19 (“Langer Mot.”). The
Court denied Mr. Inciyan's motion on December 2, 2019.
See Order Denying Defendant's Motion for Leave
to File Third-Party Complaint, Langer (filed Dec. 2,
2019), ECF No. 25 (“Langer Order”).
December 10, 2019, Mr. Inciyan filed the instant Complaint
against the City of Carlsbad, alleging five causes of action
for indemnification, comparative indemnity, declaratory
relief, contribution, and an affirmative injunction. See
generally ECF No. 1 (“Compl.”). Mr.
Inciyan's case was transferred to this Court pursuant to
this District's low-number rule as related to
Langer. See ECF No. 3. Following the
transfer, the Court ordered Mr. Inciyan to show cause why
this action should not be dismissed for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction. See ECF No. 4.
Inciyan claims that “[j]urisdiction is proper based on
the existence of a federal question.” Pl.'s Resp.
at 2. Specifically, “[t]he relief sought by INCIYAN,
including declaratory and injunctive relief, arises under the
rights and duties of the parties under the ADA[, ] which
confers federal jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331,
” id., because “INCIYAN is praying that
the City of Carlsbad be compelled to comply with the
ADA.” Id. at 7. Mr. Inciyan contends that
“the action sought to be coerced by the
[Langer] Matter cannot be undertook without a
declaration of the rights and obligations as between INCIYAN
and the CITY with respect to compliance with the ADA.”
Id. at 5.
City of Carlsbad responds that “there is no subject
matter jurisdiction” here because “[f]ederal law
clearly does not create the basis for [Mr. Inciyan's]
causes of action [for indemnification, comparative immunity,
and contribution, which] are state law claims.”
Def.'s Resp. at 3. Mr. Inciyan's causes of action for
declaratory and injunctive relief are not causes of action,
see Id. at 2 n.1, 3 n.2, and-as currently pled-do
not “arise under Title II [of the ADA] but rather state
common law indemnity rights.” Id. at 4 (citing
Compl. ¶¶ 23-25). Further, “no federal
question jurisdiction would exist even if Inciyan sought
declaratory relief on the issue of the City's obligations
under Title II of the ADA, ” id., because
“there still would be neither a case or controversy nor
an independent basis for federal question jurisdiction
because there can be no violation of Title II of the ADA
vis-a-vi[s] Inciyan and the City.” Id. ...