VRM Vendor Resource Management v. Clifton Edward Doc Jones et al

Filing 7

ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING REQUEST TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS by Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald that this case is REMANDED to the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, forthwith. FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant Bailey's Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis is DENIED as moot. (Made JS-6 Case Terminated.) (jp)

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JS-6 1 2 9/25/2017 C W 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 VRM (VENDOR RESOURCE MANAGEMENT), duly authorized agent for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, 13 14 15 16 17 Case No. CV 17-07010-MWF (RAOx) ORDER REMANDING ACTION AND DENYING REQUEST TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS Plaintiff, v. CLIFTON EDWARD DOC JONES, et al., Defendants. 18 19 I. 20 FACTUAL BACKGROUND 21 Plaintiff VRM (Vendor Resource Management), duly authorized agent for 22 the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (“Plaintiff”), filed an unlawful detainer action in 23 Los Angeles County Superior Court against Defendants Clifton Edward Doc Jones 24 and Does 1-10, on or about June 14, 2017. Notice of Removal (“Removal”) and 25 Attached Complaint (“Compl.”), Dkt. No. 1. Defendants are allegedly holdover 26 occupants of real property located in Los Angeles, California (“the property”). 27 Compl. ¶¶ 3-6. Plaintiff is the owner of the property, which was acquired after a 28 Trustee’s Sale following foreclosure proceedings. Id. at ¶¶ 4, 6, 7. Plaintiff has 1 filed the unlawful detainer action demanding that defendants quit and deliver up 2 possession of the property. Id. at ¶¶ 8-10. Plaintiff also seeks monetary damages. 3 Id. Defendant Emma Bailey (“Defendant Bailey”) filed a Notice of Removal on 4 5 September 22, 2017, invoking the Court’s federal question jurisdiction based on the 6 Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act 2009, 12 U.S.C. § 5220 (“PTFA”). Removal 7 at 2-6. 8 9 The same day, Defendant Bailey filed a Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. Dkt. No. 2. 10 II. 11 DISCUSSION 12 Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter 13 jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and statute. See, e.g., 14 Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S. Ct. 1673, 128 15 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). It is this Court’s duty always to examine its own subject 16 matter jurisdiction, see Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514, 126 S. Ct. 1235, 17 163 L.Ed.2d 1097 (2006), and the Court may remand a case summarily if there is 18 an obvious jurisdictional issue. Cf. Scholastic Entm’t, Inc. v. Fox Entm’t Grp., Inc., 19 336 F.3d 982, 985 (9th Cir. 2003) (“While a party is entitled to notice and an 20 opportunity to respond when a court contemplates dismissing a claim on the merits, 21 it is not so when the dismissal is for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”) (omitting 22 internal citations). A defendant attempting to remove an action from state to 23 federal court bears the burden of proving that jurisdiction exists. See Scott v. 24 Breeland, 792 F.2d 925, 927 (9th Cir. 1986). Further, a “strong presumption” 25 against removal jurisdiction exists. See Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 567 (9th 26 Cir. 1992). 27 Defendant Bailey asserts that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction due to 28 the existence of a federal question. Removal at 2-6. Section 1441 provides, in 2 1 relevant part, that a defendant may remove to federal court a civil action in state 2 court of which the federal court has original jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). 3 Section 1331 provides that federal “district courts shall have original jurisdiction of 4 all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United 5 States.” See id. § 1331. 6 Here, the Court’s review of the Notice of Removal and attached Complaint 7 makes clear that this Court does not have federal question jurisdiction over the 8 instant matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. First, there is no federal question apparent 9 from the face of the Complaint, which appears to allege only a simple unlawful 10 detainer cause of action. See Wescom Credit Union v. Dudley, No. CV 10-8203 11 GAF (SSx), 2010 WL 4916578, *2 (C.D.Cal. Nov. 22, 2010) (“An unlawful 12 detainer action does not arise under federal law.”) (citation omitted); IndyMac 13 Federal Bank, F.S.B. v. Ocampo, No. EDCV 09-2337 PA(DTBx), 2010 WL 14 234828, at *2 (C.D.Cal. Jan. 13, 2010) (remanding an action to state court for lack 15 of subject matter jurisdiction where plaintiff’s complaint contained only an 16 unlawful detainer claim). 17 Second, there is no merit to Defendant Bailey’s contention that federal 18 question jurisdiction exists because the tenancy at issue is subject to the PTFA. 19 Removal at 3. The PTFA does not create a private right of action; rather, it 20 provides a defense to state law unlawful detainer actions. See Logan v. U.S. Bank 21 Nat. Ass’n, 722 F.3d 1163, 1164 (9th Cir. 2013) (affirming dismissal of the 22 complaint because the PTFA “does not create a private right of action allowing 23 [plaintiff] to enforce its requirements”). It is well settled that a “case may not be 24 removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense . . . even if the defense is 25 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 Defendant Bailey’s 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 Bailey’s Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis is DENIED as moot. IT IS SO ORDERED. 11 12 DATED: September 25, 2017 ________________________________________ 13 MICHAEL W. FITZGERALD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 14 15 Presented by: 16 17 18 19 ________________________________________ ROZELLA A. OLIVER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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