Dorris v. Alrich et al

Filing 5

ORDER signed by District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on 3/27/2017; REMANDING CASE to Yolo County Superior Court. Copy of remand order sent to other court. The motions for in forma pauperis status are DENIED as moot. CASE CLOSED (Washington, S)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 10 RIC DORRIS, 11 12 13 14 15 No. 2:17-cv-00404-KJM-GGH Plaintiff, v. SANDI ALRICH, THOMAS ALDRICH, DOES 1 TO 100, ORDER Defendants. 16 Defendants Sandi Alrich and Thomas Aldrich (collectively “defendants”) removed 17 this unlawful detainer action from Yolo County Superior Court on February 23, 2017. ECF No. 18 1. Defendants also move to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). ECF Nos. 3–4. As explained 19 below, the court remands this case to the Yolo County Superior Court for lack of subject matter 20 jurisdiction and denies defendants’ IFP request as moot. 21 Removal to federal court is proper where the federal court would have original 22 subject-matter jurisdiction over the complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. A federal court has “federal 23 question” subject-matter jurisdiction where the complaint is predicated on a claim or right arising 24 under the “Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. To properly 25 invoke federal jurisdiction, the basis for federal jurisdiction must come from the face of 26 complaint, and cannot derive from an anticipated defense in the case. Louisville & Nashville R. 27 Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 149, 152 (1908). 28 1 1 If a case is improperly removed from state to federal court, the federal court has an 2 independent responsibility to remand that case back to state court. This responsibility derives 3 from the mandate in 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) to remand a case “[i]f at any time before final judgment 4 it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). 5 Moreover, it is the district court’s “duty to establish subject matter jurisdiction over [a] removed 6 action sua sponte, whether the parties raised the issue or not.” United Investors Life Ins. Co. v. 7 Waddell & Reed, Inc., 360 F.3d 960, 967 (9th Cir. 2004). Courts construe removal statutes 8 strictly against removal and place the burden on defendant to demonstrate that removal is proper. 9 Moore–Thomas v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., 553 F.3d 1241,1244 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing Gaus v. 10 Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (“The ‘strong presumption’ against removal means 11 that the defendant always has the burden of establishing that removal is proper.”)). 12 Here, defendants assert this court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 13 § 1441. Notice Removal 2, ECF No. 1. The duty now lies with the court to determine if federal 14 jurisdiction exists in this case. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). Defendants do not assert that the complaint 15 itself raises a federal question. Id. Instead, defendants assert that a federal question exists 16 because “Defendant’s [sic] Demurrer, a pleading[,] depend on the determination of Defendant’s 17 rights and Plaintiff’s duties under federal law.” Notice Removal 2. However, removal cannot be 18 based only on a defense that raises a federal question. Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49, 54 19 (2009) (“federal-court jurisdiction cannot be invoked on the basis of a defense or counterclaim”); 20 Nationstar, LLC v. Graves, No. 1:12-CV-02018-AWI, 2012 WL 6720368, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 21 26, 2012) (citations omitted) (remanding unlawful detainer action sua sponte). Even if the 22 defendants’ demurrer to the complaint was relevant for jurisdictional purposes, defendants’ notice 23 explains that their answer asserted defective notice only under Code of California Civil Procedure 24 § 1161(2). For these reasons, defendant fails to establish a basis for federal question jurisdiction. 25 The court finds that defendant has not shown any proper basis for removal. Thus, 26 the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded and defendant’s motion for 27 in forma pauperis status is moot. 28 ///// 2 1 Based on the foregoing, it is HEREBY ORDERED that: 2 1. This action is REMANDED to Yolo County Superior Court. 3 2. The motions for in forma pauperis status are DENIED as moot. 4 DATED: March 27, 2017. 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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