E&S Ring Management Corporation v. Card

Filing 4

ORDER signed by District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on 1/11/17 ORDERING that this Action is REMANDED to Sacramento County Superior Court, and defendant's Motion to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED as moot. Copy of remand order sent to other court. CASE CLOSED.

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 E&S RING MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, Plaintiff, 13 ORDER v. 14 15 No. 2:16-cv-03043-KJM-CKD PS DARNELL LAMONT CARD; and DOES 1 through 10 inclusive, 16 Defendants. 17 On December 29, 2016, defendant Darnell L. Card, proceeding pro se, removed 18 19 this unlawful detainer action from Sacramento County Superior Court. ECF No. 1. Card also 20 filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. ECF No. 2. As explained below, the court 21 REMANDS the case to Sacramento County Superior Court and DENIES as moot Card’s motion 22 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 Card’s Notice of Removal asserts the court has federal question jurisdiction under 23 § 1331 because “Defendant’s answer, a pleading depend [sic] on the determination of 24 Defendant’s rights and Plaintiff’s duties under federal law.” ECF No. 1 at 2. The complaint 25 plaintiff filed in state court asserts only a claim for unlawful detainer, which is a matter of state 26 law. Id. at 8. 27 28 As explained above, Card’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 this “action is a limited civil case” where the “amount demanded does not 6 exceed $10,000.” ECF No. 1 at 6. The complaint seeks possession of the premises, reasonable 7 attorney fees, and damages in the amount of $1,526.04 for past due rent and $52.43 per day for 8 each day from December 1, 2016 until the date of judgment. Id. at 8. These damages, taken 9 together, are not likely to total more than $75,000, and Card has provided no other evidence or 10 allegations as to the amount in controversy. According, the court cannot exercise diversity 11 jurisdiction over the action. 12 II. 13 REQUEST TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS For the foregoing reasons, the court has determined sua sponte that it lacks subject 14 matter jurisdiction, and thus remands the case to Sacramento County Superior Court. Cf. 15 Matheson, 319 F.3d at 1090 (“Where doubt regarding the right to removal exists, a case should be 16 remanded to state court.”). As a result, defendant’s motion for in forma pauperis status is moot. 17 III. 18 19 CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, this action is REMANDED to Sacramento County Superior Court, and defendant’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED as moot. 20 IT IS SO ORDERED. 21 This order resolves ECF Nos. 1 and 2. 22 DATED: January 11, 2017. 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?