Canoga Hotel Corp. v. Christopher Manelski

Filing 6

MINUTE ORDER IN CHAMBERS - COURT ORDER by Judge Percy Anderson remanding case to Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case number 16B03280. Case Terminated. Made JS-6. (mrgo)

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JS-6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL Case No. CV 16-7636 PA (FFMx) Title Canoga Hotel Corp. v. Christopher Manelski Present: The Honorable Date October 18, 2016 PERCY ANDERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE Stephen Montes Kerr Not Reported N/A Deputy Clerk Court Reporter Tape No. Attorneys Present for Plaintiff: Attorneys Present for Defendants: None None Proceedings: IN CHAMBERS - COURT ORDER The Court is in receipt of a Notice of Removal filed by defendant Christopher Manelski (“Defendant”) on October 13, 2016. In its Complaint, plaintiff Canoga Hotel Corp. (“Plaintiff”) alleges a single state law claim for unlawful detainer. Defendant, who is appearing pro se, asserts that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction on the basis of federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Federal courts are of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S. Ct. 1673, 1675, 128 L. Ed. 2d 391 (1994). A “strong presumption” against removal jurisdiction exists. Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567 (9th Cir. 1992). In seeking removal, the defendant bears the burden of proving that jurisdiction exists. Scott v. Breeland, 792 F.2d 925, 927 (9th Cir. 1986). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, this Court has original jurisdiction over civil actions “arising under” federal law. Removal based on § 1331 is governed by the “well-pleaded complaint” rule. Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392, 107 S. Ct. 2425, 2429, 96 L. Ed. 2d 318 (1987). Under the rule, “federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of plaintiff’s properly pleaded complaint.” Id. at 392, 107 S. Ct. at 2429, 96 L. Ed. 2d 318. If the complaint does not specify whether a claim is based on federal or state law, it is a claim “arising under” federal law only if it is “clear” that it raises a federal question. Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir. 1996). Thus, plaintiff is generally the “master of the claim.” Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 392, 107 S. Ct. at 2429, 96 L. Ed. 2d 318. “A case may not be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense, including the defense of pre-emption.” Id. at 393, 107 S. Ct. at 2430, 96 L. Ed. 2d 318 (emphasis in original). The only exception to this rule is where plaintiff’s federal claim has been disguised by “artful pleading,” such as where the only claim is a federal one or is a state claim preempted by federal law. Sullivan v. First Affiliated Sec., Inc., 813 F.2d 1368, 1372 (9th Cir. 1987). Here, the underlying Complaint contains only a single cause of action for unlawful detainer. Defendant asserts that “[f]ederal question exists because Defendant’s Answer, a pleading [sic] depend on the determination of Defendant’s rights and Plaintiff’s duties under federal law.” (Notice of Removal, ¶ 10.) Defendant’s allegations concerning Plaintiff’s potential violations of federal law and CV-90 (06/04) CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL Page 1 of 2 JS-6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL Case No. CV 16-7636 PA (FFMx) Date Title October 18, 2016 Canoga Hotel Corp. v. Christopher Manelski his reliance on federal law for a defense do not constitute a proper basis for removal, as neither a federal defense nor an actual or anticipated federal counterclaim forms a basis for removal. See, e.g., Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49, 61-62, 129 S. Ct. 1262, 1272, 173 L. Ed. 2d 206 (2009). For the foregoing reasons, Defendant has failed to meet his burden of showing that federal question jurisdiction exists over this action. Because the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, this action is hereby remanded to Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case No. 16B03280. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). Defendant’s Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Docket No. 3) is denied as moot. IT IS SO ORDERED. CV-90 (06/04) CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL Page 2 of 2

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