United States Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development v. Todd et al
ORDER that the Clerk shall REMAND the present action back to the Maricopa County Justice Courts/San Marcos Justice Court. Signed by Judge G Murray Snow on 9/18/12. (Attachments: # 1 Remand Letter). (LSP)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
United States Secretary for the Department
of Housing and Urban Development,
Sandra Todd, et al.
The present action was improperly removed and the Court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction over it; accordingly, the Court remands this case to Maricopa County Justice
Courts/San Marcos Justice Court.
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject-matter jurisdiction
only over those matters specifically authorized by Congress or the Constitution.
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). As the proponent of the
Court's jurisdiction, the removing defendant bears the burden of establishing it. Abrego
Abrego v. The Dow Chemical Co., 443 F.3d 676, 685 (9th Cir. 2006).
Although the Notice of Removal states that a claim in the present action arises
under federal law, a review of the complaint reveals that it is a straightforward forcible
detainer, otherwise known as an eviction action. And while it appears that Defendant
Sandra Todd (“Defendant”) may assert a federal defense based on due process, the
assertion of a federal defense to a state-law claim does not convert the state-law claim
into one “arising under” federal law for purposes of federal question jurisdiction. See
Moore-Thomas v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., 553 F.3d 1241, 1244 (9th Cir. 2009) (discussing
the “well-pleaded complaint rule”). Therefore, the Court has no federal question
jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (conferring on federal courts subject-matter
jurisdiction over cases arising under federal law).
To the extent that the Notice of Removal purports to invoke the Court’s diversity
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, the requirements for diversity jurisdiction are also
not satisfied. In order to invoke the Court’s diversity jurisdiction, a defendant must show
both that she and plaintiff are not residents of the same state, and that the amount in
controversy exceeds $75,000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (setting forth requirements for
diversity jurisdiction). In addition, even when there is diversity between the parties, a
federal court may not exercise jurisdiction where the moving defendant is a resident of
the forum state. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b). Here, the Court need not decide whether there is
diversity between the parties or whether the amount in controversy requirement is met as
Defendant reports her address as the property at issue in this action (located in Chandler,
Arizona); thus, she is clearly a forum defendant who may not remove a state-court action.
In the absence of subject-matter jurisdiction, this Court is empowered to sua
sponte order summary remand. See 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(4) (requiring district courts to
examine notices of removal and their exhibits and authorizing summary remand in
appropriate circumstances); 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) (requiring district courts to remand cases
if it appears, at any time before final judgment is entered, that the court lacks subject-
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court shall REMAND the
present action back to the Maricopa County Justice Courts/San Marcos Justice Court.
Dated this 18th day of September, 2012.
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