Mayda Tichakmakjian v. Taquawania L. Davis et al

Filing 9

ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING APPLICATIONS TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES OR COSTS by Judge Christina A. Snyder: IT IS ORDERED that this case is REMANDED to the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, Case Number 16U12889, forthwith. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants' Applications to Proceed Without Prepaying Fees or Costs 3 , 4 are DENIED as moot. ( Case Terminated. Made JS-6 ) (gk)

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1 JS-6 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 Plaintiff, 12 13 14 15 16 Case No. CV 17-00049-CAS (RAOx) MAYDA TCHAKMAKJIAN, v. ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING APPLICATIONS TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES OR COSTS TAQUAWANIA L. DAVIS, NIKEYA D. LONGINO, aka Sindro N. Longino, et al., Defendants. 17 18 I. 19 FACTUAL BACKGROUND 20 Plaintiff Mayda Tchakmakjian (“Plaintiff”) filed an unlawful detainer action 21 in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Taquawania L. Davis, Nikeya D. 22 Longino, also known as Sindro N. Longino, and Does 1 to 10 (“Defendants”) on or 23 about November 3, 2016. Notice of Removal (“Removal”) & Attached Complaint 24 for Unlawful Detainer (“Compl.”) and Answer, Dkt. No. 1. Defendants are 25 allegedly tenants of real property located in Los Angeles, California (“the 26 property”). Compl., ¶¶ 1, 3, 6. Plaintiff is the owner of the property. Id. at ¶ 4. 27 28 Defendants Davis and Longino filed a Notice of Removal on January 4, 2017, invoking the Court’s federal question jurisdiction asserting that Defendants’ 1 Answer to the Complaint raises issues under federal law. Removal at 2. The same 2 day, Defendants Davis and Longino filed Applications to Proceed Without 3 Prepaying Fees or Costs. Dkt. Nos. 3, 4. 4 II. 5 DISCUSSION 6 Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter 7 jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and statute. See, e.g., 8 Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S. Ct. 1673, 128 9 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). It is this Court’s duty always to examine its own subject 10 matter jurisdiction, see Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514, 126 S. Ct. 1235, 11 163 L.Ed.2d 1097 (2006), and the Court may remand a case summarily if there is 12 an obvious jurisdictional issue. Cf. Scholastic Entm’t, Inc. v. Fox Entm’t Grp., Inc., 13 336 F.3d 982, 985 (9th Cir. 2003) (“While a party is entitled to notice and an 14 opportunity to respond when a court contemplates dismissing a claim on the merits, 15 it is not so when the dismissal is for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”) (omitting 16 internal citations). A defendant attempting to remove an action from state to 17 federal court bears the burden of proving that jurisdiction exists. See Scott v. 18 Breeland, 792 F.2d 925, 927 (9th Cir. 1986). Further, a “strong presumption” 19 against removal jurisdiction exists. See Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567 (9th 20 Cir. 1992). 21 As noted above, Defendants Davis and Longino assert that this Court has 22 subject matter jurisdiction due to the existence of a federal question. (Removal at 23 2.) Section 1441 provides, in relevant part, that a defendant may remove to federal 24 court a civil action in state court of which the federal court has original jurisdiction. 25 See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Section 1331 provides that federal “district courts shall 26 have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or 27 treaties of the United States.” See id. § 1331. 28 /// 2 1 Here, the Court’s review of the Notice of Removal and the attached 2 Complaint and Answer makes clear that this Court does not have federal question 3 jurisdiction over the instant matter. Plaintiff could not have brought this action in 4 federal court, in that Plaintiff does not allege facts supplying federal question 5 jurisdiction, and therefore removal was improper. See 28 U.S.C. 1441(a); 6 Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392, 107 S.Ct. 2425, 2429, 96 L.Ed.2d 7 318 (1987) (“Only state-court actions that originally could have been filed in 8 federal court may be removed to federal court by the defendant.”) (footnote 9 omitted). 10 First, there is no federal question apparent on the face of Plaintiff’s 11 complaint, which alleges only a simple unlawful detainer cause of action. See 12 Wescom Credit Union v. Dudley, No. CV 10-8203 GAF (SSx), 2010 WL 4916578, 13 *2 (C.D.Cal. Nov. 22, 2010) (“An unlawful detainer action does not arise under 14 federal law.”) (citation omitted); IndyMac Federal Bank, F.S.B. v. Ocampo, No. 15 EDCV 09-2337 PA(DTBx), 2010 WL 234828, at *2 (C.D.Cal. Jan. 13, 2010) 16 (remanding an action to state court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction where 17 plaintiff’s complaint contained only an unlawful detainer claim). 18 Second, there is no merit to Defendants Davis and Longino’s contention that 19 federal question jurisdiction exists because Defendants’ Answer raises issues of 20 federal law. Removal at 2-3. It is well settled that a “case may not be removed to 21 federal court on the basis of a federal defense . . . even if the defense is anticipated 22 in the plaintiff’s complaint, and even if both parties concede that the federal defense 23 is the only question truly at issue.” Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 393, 107 S. Ct. at 2430. 24 Thus, to the extent Defendants’ defenses to the unlawful detainer action are based 25 on alleged violations of federal law, those defenses do not provide a basis for 26 federal question jurisdiction. See id. Because Plaintiff’s complaint does not 27 present a federal question, either on its face or as artfully pled, the court lacks 28 jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. 3 1 III. 2 CONCLUSION 3 4 5 6 7 Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that this case is REMANDED to the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, forthwith. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants’ Applications to Proceed Without Prepaying Fees or Costs are DENIED as moot. IT IS SO ORDERED. 8 9 DATED: January 9, 2017 ________________________________________ 10 CHRISTINA A. SNYDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 11 12 Presented by: 13 ________________________________________ 14 ROZELLA A. OLIVER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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