The Bank of New York Mellon v. Palmer et al

Filing 9

ORDER SUA SPONTE REMANDING MATTER to the Fresno County Superior Court 1 , 5 , signed by District Judge Dale A. Drozd on 6/28/17. Certified Copy of Order served on the Fresno County Superior Court. (CASE CLOSED)(Hellings, J)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON, 12 13 14 15 16 No. 1:17-cv-00707-DAD-SKO Plaintiff, v. ORDER SUA SPONTE REMANDING MATTER TO THE FRESNO COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT RANDY PALMER; YOLANDA PALMER, (Doc. Nos. 1, 5) Defendants. 17 18 This is an unlawful detainer action brought under California state law by plaintiff the 19 Bank of New York Mellon against defendants Randy Palmer and Yolanda Palmer. On May 22, 20 2017, defendants removed this case to federal court from the Fresno County Superior Court. 21 (Doc. No. 1.) Defendants assert that the basis for removal is the presence of supplemental 22 jurisdiction in connection with the related federal case Palmer v. The Bank of New York Mellon, 23 et al., No. 1:17-cv-00043-DAD-SKO. (Id. at 2.) 24 A district court has “a duty to establish subject matter jurisdiction over the removed action 25 sua sponte, whether the parties raised the issue or not.” United Investors Life Ins. Co. v. Waddell 26 & Reed, Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 967 (9th Cir. 2004). The removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441, is 27 strictly construed against removal jurisdiction. Geographic Expeditions, Inc. v. Estate of Lhotka, 28 559 F.3d 1102, 1107 (9th Cir. 2010); Provincial Gov’t of Marinduque v. Placer Dome, Inc., 582 1 1 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir. 2009). It is presumed that a case lies outside the limited jurisdiction of 2 the federal courts, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting 3 jurisdiction. Geographic Expeditions, 559 F.3d at 1106–07; Hunter v. Philip Morris USA, 582 4 F.3d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 2009). In addition, “the existence of federal jurisdiction depends solely 5 on the plaintiff’s claims for relief and not on anticipated defenses to those claims.” ARCO Envtl. 6 Remediation, LLC v. Dep’t of Health & Envtl. Quality, 213 F.3d 1108, 1113 (9th Cir. 2000). 7 “The strong presumption against removal jurisdiction” means that “the court resolves all 8 ambiguity in favor of remand to state court.” Hunter, 582 F.3d at 1042; Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 9 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). That is, federal jurisdiction over a removed case “must be rejected 10 if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance.” Geographic Expeditions, 559 11 F.3d at 1107; Duncan v. Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir. 1996); Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566. “If 12 at any time prior to judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the 13 case shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); Gibson v. Chrysler Corp., 261 F.3d 927, 932 (9th 14 Cir. 2001). Remand under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) “is mandatory, not discretionary.” Bruns v. 15 NCUA, 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997); see also California ex. rel. Lockyer v. Dynegy, Inc., 16 375 F.3d 831, 838 (9th Cir. 2004). Where it appears, as it does here, that the district court lacks 17 subject matter jurisdiction over a removed case, “the case shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C. 18 § 1447(c). 19 “The presence or absence of federal question jurisdiction is governed by the ‘well-pleaded 20 complaint rule,’ which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is 21 presented on the face of the plaintiff’s properly pleaded complaint.” California v. United States, 22 215 F.3d 1005, 1014 (9th Cir. 2000); see also Dynegy, 375 F.3d at 838; Duncan, 76 F.3d at 1485. 23 Under the well-pleaded complaint rule, courts look to what “necessarily appears in the plaintiff’s 24 statement of his own claim in the bill or declaration, unaided by anything in anticipation of 25 avoidance of defenses which it is thought the defendant may interpose.” California, 215 F.3d at 26 1014. Accordingly, “a case may not be removed on the basis of a federal defense . . . even if the 27 defense is anticipated in the plaintiff’s complaint and both parties concede that the federal defense 28 is the only question truly at issue.” Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987); 2 1 Wayne v. DHL Worldwide Express, 294 F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir. 2002); see also Vaden v. 2 Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49, 70 (2009) (“It does not suffice to show that a federal question lurks 3 somewhere inside the parties’ controversy, or that a defense or counterclaim, or that a defense or 4 counterclaim would arise under federal law.”). 5 Here, defendants have not shown that removal of this action to this federal court is 6 appropriate. Plaintiff’s complaint in this case is a straight-forward unlawful detainer action that is 7 based entirely on state law. As stated above, defendants rely solely on supplemental jurisdiction 8 in connection with the currently pending, related federal case Palmer v. The Bank of New York 9 Mellon, et al., No. 1:17-cv-00043-DAD-SKO. Under § 1367(a), “in any civil action of which the 10 district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction 11 over all other claims that are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction 12 that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States 13 Constitution.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). Section 1367(a), however, “does not authorize supplemental 14 jurisdiction over free-standing state law claims that are related to a separate action over which the 15 court has jurisdiction.” Wescom Credit Union v. Dudley, No. 2:10-cv-08203-GAF-SS, 2010 WL 16 4916578, at *3 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 22, 2010); see also Fabricius v. Freeman, 466 F.2d 689, 693 (7th 17 Cir. 1972) (“That a related case was pending in federal court was not in itself sufficient grounds 18 for removal under 28 U.S.C. § 1441.”); Putnam Inv., Inc. v. R.E.F.S. Inc., No. 1:12-cv-00862- 19 AWI-DLB, 2012 WL 3288241, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 10, 2012) (“The Court cannot exercise 20 supplemental jurisdiction over claims made in a separate complaint.”); Fed. Nat. Mortg. Ass’n. v. 21 Bridgeman, No. 2:10-cv-02619-JAM, 2010 WL 5330499, at *5 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 20, 2010) 22 (“[T]hat a related case was pending in federal court at the time of removal is not a proper basis, 23 by itself, for removal and does not establish subject matter jurisdiction.”). Thus, even where the 24 court has jurisdiction over a related action, that does not provide a basis for supplemental 25 jurisdiction over this action presenting a purely state law claim. 26 Because there is no federal question appearing in plaintiff’s complaint in this case, 27 defendant has failed to properly invoke this court’s jurisdiction. Remand to the Fresno County 28 Superior Court is therefore appropriate and mandatory. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); Geographic 3 1 Expeditions, 559 F.3d at 1107; Bruns, 122 F.3d at 1257. 2 Accordingly, 3 1. This action is remanded forthwith to the Fresno County Superior Court, pursuant to 28 4 5 U.S.C. § 1447(c), for lack of subject matter jurisdiction; 2. Defendant’s motion to remand (Doc. No. 5) is dismissed as having been rendered 6 7 8 9 moot by this order; and 3. The Clerk of the Court is directed to close this case. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: June 28, 2017 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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