Del Mar Financial Management, Inc v. Rizal S. Martin et al

Filing 7

ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING APPLICATION TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES OR COSTS by Judge George H. Wu. Case remanded to Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case number 16UN4231. Case Terminated. Made JS-6. (mrgo)

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JS-6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Case No. CV 17-00730-GW (RAOx) DEL MAR FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT, INC., Plaintiff, ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING APPLICATION TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES OR COSTS v. RIZAL S. MARTIN and GENARASUSAN A. MARTIN, Defendants. 17 18 I. 19 FACTUAL BACKGROUND 20 Plaintiff Del Mar Financial Management, Inc. (“Plaintiff”) filed an unlawful 21 detainer action in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Rizal S. Martin and 22 Genara-Susan A. Martin (“Defendants”) on or about December 29, 2016. Notice of 23 Removal (“Removal”) & Attached Complaint for Unlawful Detainer (“Compl.”) 24 and Demurrer, Dkt. No. 1. Defendants are allegedly occupants and former owners 25 of real property located in Carson, California (“the property”). Compl., ¶¶ 2, 4. 26 Plaintiff is the current owner of the property. Id. at ¶¶ 1-2. 27 Defendants filed a Notice of Removal on January 30, 2017, invoking the 28 Court’s federal question jurisdiction asserting that Defendants’ Demurrer to the 1 Complaint raises issues under federal law and citing to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981-1985.1 2 Removal at 1, 7-8. The same day, Defendant Rizal Martin filed an Application to 3 Proceed Without Prepaying Fees or Costs. Dkt. No. 3. 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 assert that this Court has subject matter 22 jurisdiction due to the existence of a federal question. (Removal at 1, 7-8.) Section 23 1441 provides, in relevant part, that a defendant may remove to federal court a civil 24 action in state court of which the federal court has original jurisdiction. See 28 25 26 27 28 1 The Notice of Removal also cites to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, the federal statute on diversity of citizenship. However, later in their notice of removal, Defendants expressly state that removal is not based on diversity of citizenship. See Removal at 9. Accordingly, the Court does not address the issue of diversity under Section 1332. 2 1 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Section 1331 provides that federal “district courts shall have 2 original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or 3 treaties of the United States.” See id. § 1331. 4 Here, the Court’s review of the Notice of Removal and the attached 5 Complaint and Demurrer makes clear that this Court does not have federal question 6 jurisdiction over the instant matter. Plaintiff could not have brought this action in 7 federal court, in that Plaintiff does not allege facts supplying federal question 8 jurisdiction, and therefore, removal was improper. 9 Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392, 107 S.Ct. 2425, 2429, 96 L.Ed.2d 10 318 (1987) (“Only state-court actions that originally could have been filed in 11 federal court may be removed to federal court by the defendant.”) (footnote 12 omitted). 13 See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a); First, there is no federal question apparent on the face of Plaintiff’s 14 complaint, which alleges only a simple unlawful detainer cause of action. See 15 Wescom Credit Union v. Dudley, No. CV 10-8203 GAF (SSx), 2010 WL 4916578, 16 *2 (C.D.Cal. Nov. 22, 2010) (“An unlawful detainer action does not arise under 17 federal law.”) (citation omitted); IndyMac Federal Bank, F.S.B. v. Ocampo, No. 18 EDCV 09-2337 PA(DTBx), 2010 WL 234828, at *2 (C.D.Cal. Jan. 13, 2010) 19 (remanding an action to state court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction where 20 plaintiff’s complaint contained only an unlawful detainer claim). 21 Second, there is no merit to Defendants’ contention that federal question 22 jurisdiction exists because Defendants’ Demurrer raises issues of federal law under 23 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981-1985. Removal at 1, 7-8. It is well settled that a “case may not 24 be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense . . . even if the defense 25 is anticipated in the plaintiff’s complaint, and even if both parties concede that the 26 federal defense is the only question truly at issue.” Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 393, 27 107 S. Ct. at 2430. Thus, to the extent Defendants’ defenses to the unlawful 28 detainer action are based on alleged violations of federal law, those defenses do not 3 1 provide a basis for federal question jurisdiction. See id. Because Plaintiff’s 2 complaint does not present a federal question, either on its face or as artfully pled, 3 the court lacks jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. 4 III. 5 CONCLUSION 6 7 8 9 10 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 Defendant’s Application to Proceed Without Prepaying Fees or Costs is DENIED as moot. IT IS SO ORDERED. 11 12 DATED: February 2, 2017 ________________________________________ 13 GEORGE H. WU UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 14 15 16 17 18 Presented by: ________________________________________ ROZELLA A. OLIVER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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