CitiMortgage Incorporated v. Dulaney et al

Filing 6

ORDER that the Clerk of the Court REMAND this action back to Maricopa County Superior Court. Signed by Judge G Murray Snow on 1/14/2013. (LFIG)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 CitiMortgage, Incorporated, its assignees and/or successors, No. CV-12-02737-PHX-GMS ORDER 10 Plaintiff, 11 v. 12 Charles Dulaney; et al., 13 Defendants. 14 15 The present action was improperly removed and the Court lacks subject-matter 16 jurisdiction over it; accordingly, the Court remands this case to Maricopa County 17 Superior Court. 18 19 Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject-matter jurisdiction 20 only over those matters specifically authorized by Congress or the Constitution. 21 Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). As the proponent of the 22 Court's jurisdiction, the removing defendant bears the burden of establishing it. Abrego 23 24 25 26 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 27 28 detainer, otherwise known as an eviction action. And while it appears that Defendant 1 2 3 Steven Hardman (“Defendant”) may assert a federal defense based on due process, the assertion of a federal 4 5 defense to a state-law claim does not convert the state-law claim into one “arising under” 6 federal law for purposes of federal question jurisdiction. See Moore-Thomas v. Alaska 7 Airlines, Inc., 553 F.3d 1241, 1244 (9th Cir. 2009) (discussing the “well-pleaded 8 9 complaint rule”). Therefore, the Court has no federal question jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. 10 § 1331 (conferring on federal courts subject-matter jurisdiction over cases arising under 11 federal law). 12 To the extent that the Notice of Removal purports to invoke the Court’s diversity 13 14 jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, the requirements for diversity jurisdiction are also 15 not satisfied. To invoke the Court’s diversity jurisdiction, a defendant must show both 16 that he and plaintiff are not residents of the same state, and that the amount in 17 18 controversy exceeds $75,000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (setting forth requirements for 19 diversity jurisdiction). In addition, even when there is diversity between the parties, a 20 federal court may not exercise jurisdiction where the moving defendant is a resident of 21 22 the forum state. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b). Here, the Court need not decide whether there is 23 diversity between the parties or whether the amount in controversy requirement is met as 24 Defendant reports his address as the property at issue in this action (located in Queen 25 Creek, Arizona); thus, he is clearly a forum defendant who may not remove a state-court 26 27 28 -2- 1 2 action. See id. 3 Further, to the extent that Defendant is attempting to appeal the state court’s final 4 5 judgment in the forcible detainer action, jurisdiction would not be proper in this case 6 because federal jurisdiction is barred under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. See Albrecht v. 7 Demuniz, 315 F. App’x 654, 2009 WL 2914215, at *1 (9th Cir. 2009) (affirming the 8 9 district court’s sua sponte dismissal of a pro se defendant’s appeal of a state court 10 judgment under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine). 11 federal district courts from considering “cases brought by state-court losers complaining 12 The Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars of injuries caused by state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings 13 14 commenced and inviting district court review and rejection of those judgments.” Exxon 15 Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280 (2005). 16 In the absence of subject-matter jurisdiction, this Court is empowered to sua 17 18 sponte order summary remand. See 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(4) (requiring district courts to 19 examine notices of removal and their exhibits and authorizing summary remand in 20 appropriate circumstances); 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) (requiring district courts to remand cases 21 22 23 24 25 26 if it appears, at any time before final judgment is entered, that the court lacks subjectmatter jurisdiction). /// /// /// 27 28 -3- 1 2 3 4 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court REMAND this action back to Maricopa County Superior Court. Dated this 14th day of January, 2013. 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -4-

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