CAM IX Trust v. Bertsch

Filing 3

ORDER signed by District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on 1/5/2017 REMANDING CASE to El Dorado County Superior Court. Copy of remand order sent to other court. DENYING as MOOT 2 Motion to Proceed IFP. CASE CLOSED (Washington, S)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 CAM IX TRUST, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 No. 2:16-cv-03026-KJM-DB v. ORDER JOHN E. BERTSCH, 15 Defendant. 16 17 18 On December 28, 2016, defendant John E. Bertsch, proceeding pro se, removed 19 this unlawful detainer action from El Dorado County Superior Court. ECF No. 1. Bertsch also 20 filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. ECF No. 2. As explained below, the court 21 REMANDS the case to the El Dorado County Superior Court and DENIES as moot Bertsch’s 22 motion to proceed in forma pauperis. 23 I. 24 25 SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION A. Legal Standard When a case “of which the district courts of the United States have original 26 jurisdiction” is initially brought in state court, a defendant may remove it to federal court. 28 27 U.S.C. § 1441(a). There are two primary bases for federal subject matter jurisdiction: (1) federal 28 1 1 question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and (2) diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 2 § 1332. 3 Under § 1331, district courts have federal question jurisdiction over “all civil 4 actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. 5 Under the longstanding well-pleaded complaint rule, a suit “arises under” federal law “only when 6 the plaintiff’s statement of his own cause of action shows that it is based upon [federal law].” 7 Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 152 (1908). Federal question jurisdiction 8 cannot rest upon an actual or anticipated defense or counterclaim. Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 9 U.S. 49, 60 (2009). 10 Under § 1332, district courts have diversity-of-citizenship jurisdiction where the 11 amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 and the parties are in complete diversity. 28 U.S.C. 12 § 1332. “Where it is not facially evident from the complaint that more than $75,000 is in 13 controversy, the removing party must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the amount 14 in controversy meets the jurisdictional threshold.” Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 15 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003) (per curiam). 16 A federal district court may remand a case sua sponte where a defendant has not 17 established federal jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) (“If at any time before final judgment it 18 appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded . . . .”); 19 Enrich v. Touche Ross & Co., 846 F.2d 1190, 1195 (9th Cir. 1988) (citing Wilson v. Republic 20 Iron & Steel Co., 257 U.S. 92, 97 (1921)). 21 B. 22 Discussion Bertsch’s Notice of Removal asserts the court has federal question jurisdiction 23 under § 1331 because “Defendant alleges that the plaintiffs intentionally violated the federal 24 statute, [Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act].” ECF No. 1 at 2. The complaint plaintiff filed 25 in state court asserts only a claim for unlawful detainer, which is a matter of state law. ECF No. 1 26 at 8. 27 28 As explained above, Bertsch’s answer or counterclaim cannot serve as the basis for federal question jurisdiction. Vaden, 556 U.S. at 60. Plaintiff is the master of the complaint and 2 1 may, as here, “avoid federal jurisdiction by pleading solely state-law claims.” Valles v. Ivy Hill 2 Corp., 410 F.3d 1071, 1075 (9th Cir. 2005). Because plaintiff’s complaint does not show that it 3 is based upon federal law, the court does not have federal question jurisdiction over the action. 4 Neither does the court appear to have diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiff’s complaint 5 expressly states that “demand does not exceed $10,000.” ECF No. 1 at 8. Additionally, the 6 complaint seeks possession of the premises, costs and reasonable attorney’s fees, and damages of 7 $91.67 per day for each day from October 5, 2016, until the date of judgment. ECF No. 1 at 10. 8 These damages are not likely to total more than $75,000, and Bertsch has provided no other 9 evidence or allegations as to the amount in controversy. According, the court cannot exercise 10 diversity jurisdiction over the action. 11 II. 12 REQUEST TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS For the foregoing reasons, the court has determined sua sponte that it lacks subject 13 matter jurisdiction, and thus remands the case to the El Dorado County Superior Court. Cf. 14 Matheson, 319 F.3d at 1090 (“Where doubt regarding the right to removal exists, a case should be 15 remanded to state court.”). As a result, defendant’s motion for in forma pauperis status is moot. 16 III. CONCLUSION 17 For the foregoing reasons, this action is REMANDED to El Dorado County 18 Superior Court, and defendant’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED as moot. 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. 20 This order resolves ECF Nos. 1 and 2. 21 DATED: January 5, 2017. 22 23 24 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 25 26 27 28 3

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?