Robert J. Kulick v. Leisure Village Association, Inc.

Filing 11

ORDER OF DISMISSAL by Judge Virginia A. Phillips: (see attached order) Because of the fundamental nature of the jurisdictional defect discussed herein, amendment of the Complaint would be futile. Therefore, the action is dismissed without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Case Terminated. Made JS-6. (jm)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 ROBERT J. KULICK, ) NO. CV 19-7630-E ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) ORDER OF DISMISSAL ) LEISURE VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, ) INC., et al., ) ) Defendants. ) ______________________________) 17 18 BACKGROUND 19 20 Plaintiff filed a “Complaint and Request for Injunction and 21 Declaratory Relief” on September 3, 2019. Plaintiff, a resident of 22 Leisure Village in Camarillo, California, alleges wrongdoing by the 23 Leisure Village Association and/or its board of directors. 24 Complaint purports to allege claims for: (1) alleged use of improper 25 nomination procedures in violation of California Civil Code section 26 5105; and (2) alleged enforcement of invalid operating rules in 27 violation of California Civil Code section 4350. 28 declaratory and injunctive relief. The Plaintiff seeks 1 On September 5, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued a Minute Order 2 stating that it appeared the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction 3 over Plaintiff’s claims.1 4 show cause in writing, if there be any, why the Court should not 5 dismiss the action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Magistrate Judge ordered Plaintiff to 6 7 8 On September 19, 2019, Plaintiff filed “Plaintiff’s Statement Regarding the Court’s Jurisdiction” (“Plaintiff’s Statement”). 9 10 DISCUSSION 11 12 In response to the September 5, 2019 Order to Show Cause, 13 Plaintiff argues that, although the Complaint “concerns violations of 14 California law. . . 15 district court based on a federal question” (Plaintiff’s Statement, p. 16 2).2 17 “[a] mere error of state law is not a denial of due process.” 18 Swarthout v. Cooke, 562 U.S. 216, 222 (2011) (internal quotations 19 omitted); see also Cornejo v. County of San Diego, 504 F.3d 853, 855 Plaintiff has brought the case in this federal As the Court advised Plaintiff in the September 5, 2019 Order, 20 21 22 23 1 A court may consider the issue of subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte at any time. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3); WMX Technologies, Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133, 1135 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc). 2 24 25 26 27 28 Plaintiff does not allege, nor could he, any basis for diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1332. See Strawbridge v. Curtiss, 7 U.S. (Cranch) 267 (1806), overruled on other grounds, Louisville C & C. R. Co. v. Letson, 43 U.S. (2 How.) 497 (1844). Plaintiff alleges that he is a “resident” of California, and that Defendant Leisure Village Association Inc. is a California corporation doing business in California (Complaint, ¶¶ 1-2). Plaintiff allegedly has been “a member and owner of LVA property for more than thirty-two (32) years (Complaint, ¶ 11). 2 1 n.2 (9th Cir. 2007) (“a claim for violation of state law is not 2 cognizable under [42 U.S.C.] § 1983”) (citation omitted). 3 Complaint fails to allege any claim under federal law. The 4 5 Moreover, even if the Court were to interpret the Complaint to 6 attempt to allege a constitutional claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 7 1983, jurisdiction would still be lacking. 8 Plaintiff in the September 5, 2019 Order, section 1983 creates a 9 remedy only against a person acting under color of state law. As the Court advised See 42 10 U.S.C. § 1983; Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981), overruled 11 on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327 (1986); Haygood v. 12 Younger, 769 F.2d 1350, 1353 (9th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 478 U.S. 13 1020 (1986). 14 jurisdictional requisite for a § 1983 action.” 15 U.S. 42, 46 (1988); see Gritchen v. Collier, 254 F.3d 807, 812 (9th 16 Cir. 2001). 17 Association, Inc. “are not generally acting under color of state law.” 18 Price v. State of Hawaii, 939 F.2d 702, 707-08 (9th Cir. 1991), cert. 19 denied, 503 U.S. 938 (1992). The “color of law” or “state actor” requirement is “a West v. Atkins, 487 “[P]rivate parties” such as Defendant Leisure Village 20 21 Plaintiff argues that Defendant is a “quasi-government entity” 22 (Plaintiff’s Statement, p. 2). Plaintiff cites state law case for 23 propositions that homeowners’ associations “function in many respects 24 as small municipal governments regulating many aspects of the daily 25 lives of their members” and that a homeowners’ association is “in 26 effect a quasi-government entity paralleling in almost every case the 27 powers, duties, and responsibilities of a municipal government” 28 (Plaintiff’s Statement, p. 2, citing Chantiles v. Lake Forest II 3 1 Master Homeowners Assn., 37 Cal. App. 4th 914, 45 Cal. Rptr. 2d 1 2 (1995) (concerning the right of a homeowners’ association director to 3 inspect association’s records under state law), and Cohen v. Kite Hill 4 Community Assn., 142 Cal. App. 3d 642, 191 Cal. Rptr. 209 (1983) 5 (concerning association’s approval of a nonconforming fence)). 6 Plaintiff also argues that homeowners’ associations perform “public- 7 service functions” such as utility services, road maintenance, common 8 area lighting and refuse removal, assertedly financed through 9 “assessments or taxes” levied by the association (Plaintiff’s 10 Statement, pp. 2-3, citing Damon v. Ocean Hills Journalism Club, 85 11 Cal. App. 4th 468, 102 Cal. Rptr. 2d 205 (2000) (former association 12 manager’s defamation action against members of board of directors and 13 others raising anti-SLAPP issue)). 14 15 Plaintiff’s arguments for subject matter jurisdiction are 16 unpersuasive. In none of the cases cited by Plaintiff did the court 17 rule that a homeowners’ association constitutes a state actor for 18 purposes of section 1983. 19 the functional equivalent of a municipality or a purported “quasi- 20 governmental” entity. 21 Ass’n, 379 Fed. App’x 636, 637 (9th Cir. 2010) (Nevada homeowners’ 22 association not a state actor; association did not perform the 23 traditional and exclusive function of municipal governance; rather it 24 provided “an assortment of basic amenities and simple services to its 25 paying members, all within the fenced-in confines of its private 26 property”); Hupp v. Solera Valley Greens Ass’n, 2015 WL 13447707, at 27 *3 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 8, 2015) (rejecting contention that homeowners’ 28 association was a “quasi-government agency” and hence acted under of A private homeowners’ association is not See Snowdon v. Preferred RV Resort Owners 4 1 color of law within the meaning of section 1983); Wong v. Village 2 Green Owners’ Ass’n, 2014 WL 12587040, at *4 (C.D. Cal. June 26, 2014) 3 (the fact that state law governs the formation and operation of a 4 homeowners’ association does not make the association a state actor); 5 Yan Sui v. 2176 Pacific Homeowners Ass’n, 2012 WL 6632758, at *11-12 6 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 30, 2012), adopted, 2012 WL 4900427 (C.D. Cal. 7 Oct. 16, 2012), aff’d in part, remanded in part on other grounds, 582 8 Fed. App’x 733 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 135 S. Ct 709 (2014) 9 (homeowners’ association not a state actor; distinguishing state cases 10 referring to an association’s functions as “quasi-governmental,” none 11 of which concerned issue of whether the association acted under color 12 of law for purposes of section 1983); see also O’Connor v. Village 13 Green Owners Ass’n, 33 Cal. 3d 790, 796, 191 Cal. Rptr. 320, 662 P.2d 14 427 (1983) (homeowners’ association is analogous to a landlord and 15 hence is a “business establishment” for purposes of California’s Unruh 16 Act); Talega Maintenance Corp. v. Standard Pacific Corp., 225 Cal. 17 App. 4th 722, 730-32, 170 Cal. Rptr. 3d 453 (2014) (homeowners’ 18 association meetings not official proceedings under California’s anti- 19 SLAPP statute California Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16(e)(1); 20 associations do not perform or assist in the performance of the actual 21 government’s duties). 22 23 Because of the fundamental nature of the jurisdictional defect 24 discussed herein, amendment of the Complaint would be futile. 25 /// 26 /// 27 /// 28 5 1 Therefore, the action is dismissed without prejudice for lack of 2 subject matter jurisdiction. 3 4 IT IS SO ORDERED. 5 6 Dated: October 2 , 2019. 7 8 9 ____________________________ 10 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 11 12 Presented this 24th day 13 of September, 2019, by: 14 15 16 ______________________________ CHARLES F. EICK UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 6

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