Vanessa Marquina v. Ferguson Enterprises Inc et al

Filing 7

ORDER REMANDING CASE TO LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT by Judge Otis D. Wright, II: Because Ferguson fails to sufficiently establish diversity jurisdiction on removal, the Court REMANDS this case to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. cc: order, docket, remand letter to Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case number BC507624 Case Terminated. Made JS-6.(Attachments: # 1 remand letter). (lc) Modified on 6/27/2013 (lc).

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O JS-6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 VANESSA MARQUINA, 12 13 14 v. Plaintiff, FERGUSON ENTERPRISES, INC., and DOES 1–50, inclusive, 15 Case No. 2:13-cv-04237-ODW(AJWx) ORDER REMANDING CASE TO LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT Defendants. 16 17 On June 12, 2013, Defendant Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. filed a Notice of 18 Removal. But after carefully considering the papers filed with the Notice, the Court 19 determines that Ferguson has failed to satisfy its burden of establishing federal 20 jurisdiction. The Court therefore REMANDS this action to Los Angeles County 21 Superior Court. 22 Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject-matter 23 jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and Congress. U.S. 24 Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1; e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 25 375, 377 (1994). A suit filed in state court may be removed to federal court if the 26 federal court would have had original jurisdiction over the suit. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). 27 But courts strictly construe § 1441 against a finding of removal jurisdiction, and 28 “[f]ederal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal 1 in the first instance.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). The 2 party seeking removal bears the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction. Durham v. 3 Lockheed Martin Corp., 445 F.3d 1247, 1252 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing Gaus, 980 F.2d at 4 566). 5 Federal courts have original jurisdiction where an action presents a federal 6 question under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, or diversity of citizenship under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. 7 Ferguson does not assert federal-question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. To 8 exercise diversity jurisdiction under § 1332, a federal court must find complete 9 diversity of citizenship among the adverse parties, and the amount in controversy must 10 exceed $75,000, usually exclusive of interest and costs. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). 11 For the purposes of complete diversity, a natural person’s citizenship is 12 “determined by her state of domicile, not her state of residence.” Kantor v. Warner- 13 Lambert Co., 265 F.3d 853, 857 (9th Cir. 2001); see also Jeffcott v. Donovan, 135 14 F.2d 213, 214 (9th Cir. 1943) (“Diversity of citizenship as a basis for the jurisdiction 15 of a cause in the District Court of the United States is not dependent upon the 16 residence of any of the parties, but upon their citizenship.”). 17 Ferguson’s Notice of Removal asserts that diversity exists in this matter 18 because Plaintiff Vanessa Marquina is a citizen of California and Ferguson is a citizen 19 of Virginia. 20 Marquina’s allegation in her Complaint that she “was, and now is, an individual 21 residing within the County of San Bernardino, State of California.” 22 Removal ¶ 8 (citing Compl. ¶ 3).) “Plaintiff, therefore, is,” Ferguson concludes, “a 23 citizen of California.” (Id.) Ferguson’s citizenship contentions as to Marquina are premised on (Notice of 24 But Ferguson’s logic is flawed. Residency allegations alone are inadequate to 25 establish citizenship. While a party’s residence may be prima facie evidence of that 26 party’s domicile when an action is originally brought in federal court, residency 27 allegations in a complaint alone do not suffice to establish citizenship on removal in 28 light of the strong presumption against removal jurisdiction. See State Farm Mut. 2 1 Auto. Ins. v. Dyer, 19 F.3d 514, 520 (10th Cir. 1994); see Kantor, 265 F.3d at 857; 2 Gaus, 980 F.2d at 567. And Ferguson cites no other objective facts to establish that 3 Hernandez is a California citizen, such as “voting registration and voting practices, 4 location of personal and real property, location of brokerage and bank accounts, 5 location of spouse and family, membership in unions and other organizations, place of 6 employment or business, driver’s license and automobile registration, and payment of 7 taxes.” Lew v. Moss, 797 F.2d 747, 750 (9th Cir. 1986). Fergusson therefore fails to 8 establish complete diversity in this matter. 9 Because Ferguson fails to sufficiently establish diversity jurisdiction on 10 removal, the Court REMANDS this case to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, 11 111 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, case number BC507624. See 28 U.S.C. 12 § 1447(c). All remaining hearings on calendar are hereby VACATED. The Clerk of 13 Court shall close this case. 14 IT IS SO ORDERED. 15 June 26, 2013 16 17 18 ____________________________________ OTIS D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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