United States District Court, S.D. California
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
R. Krinsky, Law Offices of Daniel R. Krinsky, San Diego, CA,
Richard Sutherland, Clyde and Co. U.S. LLP, San Francisco,
CA, for Defendants.
REMANDING ACTION TO THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF
CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO
Janis L. Sammartino, United States District Judge.
before the Court is the Notice of Removal of Japan Airlines
Co., Ltd. to United States District Court ("Not. of
Removal," ECF No. 1). On December 27, 2019, Defendant
removed this action from the Superior Court of the State of
California, County of San Diego on the grounds that "it
is a civil action between a citizen of the State of
California and a citizen of a foreign state, and the amount
in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive
of interest and costs," id. ¶ 7, and
"[t]his is an action over which the Court has original
jurisdiction based on the existence of a federal question
under 28 U.S.C. Section 1331" because
"plaintiff's claims indisputably arise under the
Montreal Convention." Id. ¶¶ 22, 25.
Although Plaintiff Pamela Mozingo did not file a motion to
remand, "[t]he court may—indeed
must—remand an action sua sponte if it
determines that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction."
GFD, LLC v. Carter, No. CV 12-08985 MMM FFMX, 2012
WL 5830079, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 15, 2012) (citing
Kelton Arms Condominium Owners Ass'n v. Homestead
Ins. Co., 346 F.3d 1190, 1192 (9th Cir. 2003)); 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
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only
that power authorized by Constitution and statute."
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128
L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). Consequently, it is "presume[d] that
federal courts lack jurisdiction unless the contrary appears
affirmatively from the record." DaimlerChrysler
Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U.S. 332, 342, 126 S.Ct. 1854, 164
L.Ed.2d 589 (2006) (quoting Renne v. Geary, 501 U.S.
312, 316, 111 S.Ct. 2331, 115 L.Ed.2d 288 (1991)). "The
right of removal is entirely a creature of statute and a suit
commenced in a state court must remain there until cause is
shown for its transfer under some act of Congress."
Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. v. Henson, 537 U.S.
28, 32, 123 S.Ct. 366, 154 L.Ed.2d 368 (2002). The party
invoking the removal statute bears the burden of establishing
that federal subject-matter jurisdiction exists. Emrich
v. Touche Ross & Co., 846 F.2d 1190, 1195 (9th Cir.
1988). Moreover, courts "strictly construe the removal
statute against removal jurisdiction." Gaus v.
Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (citing
Boggs v. Lewis, 863 F.2d 662, 663 (9th Cir. 1988));
Takeda v. Nw. Nat'l Life Ins. Co., 765 F.2d 815,
818 (9th Cir. 1985). Therefore, "[f]ederal jurisdiction
must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of
removal in the first instance." Gaus, 980 F.2d
at 566 (citing Libhart v. Santa Monica Dairy Co.,
592 F.2d 1062, 1064 (9th Cir. 1979)).
courts have diversity jurisdiction "where the amount in
controversy" exceeds $75,000, and the parties are of
"diverse" state citizenship. 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
"Where it is not facially evident from the complaint
that more than $75,000 is in controversy, the removing party
must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the
amount in controversy meets the jurisdictional
threshold." Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins.
Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003) (per curiam);
accord Valdez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115,
1117 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Matheson, 319 F.3d at
1090). "Where doubt regarding the right to removal
exists, a case should be remanded to state court."
Matheson, 319 F.3d at 1090.
the underlying complaint states only that it is an unlimited
civil case seeking in excess of $25,000. See Compl.
(ECF No. 1-2) at 10. Nonetheless, Defendant
claims—based on the severity of the injuries Plaintiff
alleges she sustained, see Not. of Removal
¶¶ 17-19 (citing Compl. ¶¶ 9-10,
17-18)—that "[i]t is facially apparent" that
she is seeking damages in excess of $75,000 because she
"seeks compensatory damages, general damages for past
and future pain and ...