Tim Sauer v. Gloria M. Vilchez et al

Filing 6

ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING APPLICATION TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING by Judge Percy Anderson: 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. Please refer to the Court's order for specifics. (Terminated. Made JS-6.) (cr)

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1 2 3 4 5 JS-6 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 TIM SAUER, Plaintiff, 12 13 14 15 Case No. CV 17-02104-PA (RAOx) v. ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING APPLICATION TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYING FEES OR COSTS GLORIA M. VILCHEZ and DOES 110, Defendants. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND Plaintiff Tim Sauer (“Plaintiff”) filed an unlawful detainer action in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Defendants Gloria M. Vilchez and Does 110, on or about January 13, 2017. Notice of Removal (“Removal”) and Attached Complaint for Unlawful Detainer (“Compl.”) and Demurrer. Dkt. No. 1. Defendants are allegedly unauthorized tenants of real property located in North Hollywood, California (“the property”). Compl., ¶¶ 3, 6. Defendant Vilchez (“Defendant”) filed a Notice of Removal on March 16, 2017, invoking the Court’s federal question jurisdiction based on congressional enactment of Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (“PTFA”), 12 U.S.C. 1 § 5220. Removal at 2. The same day, Defendant filed a request to proceed in 2 forma pauperis. Dkt. No. 2. 3 II. 4 DISCUSSION 5 Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter 6 jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and statute. See, e.g., 7 Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S. Ct. 1673, 128 8 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). It is this Court’s duty always to examine its own subject 9 matter jurisdiction, see Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514, 126 S. Ct. 1235, 10 163 L.Ed.2d 1097 (2006), and the Court may remand a case summarily if there is 11 an obvious jurisdictional issue. Cf. Scholastic Entm’t, Inc. v. Fox Entm’t Grp., Inc., 12 336 F.3d 982, 985 (9th Cir. 2003) (“While a party is entitled to notice and an 13 opportunity to respond when a court contemplates dismissing a claim on the merits, 14 it is not so when the dismissal is for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”) (omitting 15 internal citations). A defendant attempting to remove an action from state to 16 federal court bears the burden of proving that jurisdiction exists. See Scott v. 17 Breeland, 792 F.2d 925, 927 (9th Cir. 1986). Further, a “strong presumption” 18 against removal jurisdiction exists. See Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567 (9th 19 Cir. 1992). 20 Defendant asserts that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction due to the 21 existence of a federal question. (Removal at 2.) Section 1441 provides, in relevant 22 part, that a defendant may remove to federal court a civil action in state court of 23 which the federal court has original jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Section 24 1331 provides that federal “district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil 25 actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” See 26 id. § 1331. 27 Here, the Court’s review of the Notice of Removal and attached Complaint 28 and Demurrer makes clear that this Court does not have federal question 2 1 jurisdiction over the instant matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. First, there is no 2 federal question apparent from the face of the Complaint, which appears to allege 3 only a simple unlawful detainer cause of action. See Wescom Credit Union v. 4 Dudley, No. CV 10-8203 GAF (SSx), 2010 WL 4916578, *2 (C.D.Cal. Nov. 22, 5 2010) (“An unlawful detainer action does not arise under federal law.”) (citation 6 omitted); IndyMac Federal Bank, F.S.B. v. Ocampo, No. EDCV 09-2337 7 PA(DTBx), 2010 WL 234828, at *2 (C.D.Cal. Jan. 13, 2010) (remanding an action 8 to state court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction where plaintiff’s complaint 9 contained only an unlawful detainer claim). Second, there is no merit to Defendant’s contention that federal question 10 11 jurisdiction exists because the Complaint failed to comply with the requirements of 12 the PTFA. Removal at 2. The PTFA does not create a private right of action; 13 rather, it provides a defense to state law unlawful detainer actions. See Logan v. 14 U.S. Bank Nat. Ass’n, 722 F.3d 1163, 1164 (9th Cir. 2013) (affirming dismissal of 15 the complaint because the PTFA “does not create a private right of action allowing 16 [plaintiff] to enforce its requirements”). It is well settled that a “case may not be 17 removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense . . . even if the defense is 18 anticipated in the plaintiff’s complaint, and even if both parties concede that the 19 federal defense is the only question truly at issue.” Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 20 482 U.S. 386, 393, 107 S.Ct. 2425, 2430, 96 L.Ed.2d 318 (1987). Thus, to the 21 extent Defendant’s defenses to the unlawful detainer action are based on alleged 22 violations of federal law, those defenses do not provide a basis for federal question 23 jurisdiction. See id. Because Plaintiff’s complaint does not present a federal 24 question, either on its face or as artfully pled, the court lacks jurisdiction under 28 25 U.S.C. § 1331. 26 /// 27 /// 28 /// 3

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