Esenwein et al v. Stewart

Filing 3

ORDER signed by District Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. on 12/04/17 REMANDING CASE to San Joaquin County Superior Court with certified copy of remand order sent to other court; DENYING 2 Motion to Proceed IFP as moot. Clerk not to open another case removing the following unlawful detainer action: No. MAN-CV-LUDRF-2017-011608. CASE CLOSED (Benson, A.)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 DENNIS ESENWEIN and KEVIN WENTWORTH, Plaintiffs, 13 14 15 Case No. 2:17-cv-02523-MCE-AC PS ORDER v. RUSSELL STEWARD, and DOES 120, 16 Defendants. 17 18 On December 1, 2017, Defendant RUSSELL STEWARD, proceeding pro se, filed 19 a Notice of Removal of this unlawful detainer action from the San Joaquin County 20 Superior Court.1 ECF No. 1. This Court has an independent duty to ascertain its 21 jurisdiction and may remand sua sponte for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. See 28 22 U.S.C. § 1447(c). “The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction is on the party seeking 23 removal, and the removal statute is strictly construed against removal jurisdiction.” 24 Emrich v. Touche Ross & Co., 846 F.2d 1190, 1195 (9th Cir. 1988) (internal citation 25 omitted). “Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of 26 removal in the first instance.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). As 27 1 28 Despite Defendants pro se status, the undersigned revokes any actual or anticipated referral to a Magistrate Judge. See L.R. 302(c)(21). 1 1 2 explained below, Defendants have failed to meet that burden. The Notice of Removal is premised on the argument that this Court has federal 3 jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. ECF No. 1 at 2. However, a review of the 4 Complaint reveals that Plaintiffs do not allege any federal claims; instead, Plaintiffs 5 allege only unlawful detainer under state law. ECF No. 1 at 5-12. 6 “The presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed by the ‘well- 7 pleaded complaint rule,’ which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a 8 federal question is presented on the face of plaintiff’s properly pleaded complaint.” 9 Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). This is the case where the 10 complaint “establishes either that [1] federal law creates the cause of action or that 11 [2] the plaintiff’s right to relief necessarily depends on resolution of a substantial question 12 of federal law.” Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Co. v. An Exclusive Gas Storage 13 Leasehold & Easement, 524 F.3d 1090, 1100 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Franchise Tax Bd. 14 v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 27-28 (1983)). 15 Here, Plaintiffs one cause of action is for unlawful detainer under state law. At 16 most, Defendants argue that they have a defense under federal law. “A case may not 17 be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense . . . even if the defense is 18 anticipated in the plaintiff’s complaint, and even if both parties admit that the defense is 19 the only question truly at issue in the case.” ARCO Envtl. Remediation, LLC v. Dep’t. of 20 Health & Envtl. Quality of the State of Montana, 213 F.3d 1108, 1113 (9th Cir. 2000) 21 (citation and quotation marks omitted). Therefore, this Court lacks jurisdiction under 22 28 U.S.C. § 1331.2 23 Accordingly: 24 1. The action is REMANDED to the San Joaquin County Superior Court. 25 2. The Clerk of Court is directed to serve a certified copy of the order on the 26 2 27 28 Nor has Defendants established that this Court has diversity jurisdiction, since the Notice of Removal does not establish diversity of the parties or that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. See Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp. v. Cantillano, No. CV 12-01641 GAF (CMx), 2012 WL 1193613, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 9, 2012) (“The appropriate dollar amount in determining the amount of controversy in unlawful detainer actions is the rental value of the property, not the value of the property as a whole.”). 2 1 Clerk of the San Joaquin County Superior Court, and reference the state 2 case number (No. MAN-CV-LUDRF-2017-011608) in the proof of service. 3 3. 4 Defendants Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 2) is DENIED as moot. 5 4. The Clerk of Court is directed to close this case and vacate all dates. 6 5. The Clerk of the Court is ordered not to open another case removing the 7 8 9 following unlawful detainer action: No. MAN-CV-LUDRF-2017-011608. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: December 4, 2017 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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