MMD Family Foundation et al v. Leech et al

Filing 8

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION RE SUA SPONTE REMAND. The December 2, 2016 Case Management Conference is vacated. Signed by Judge Joseph C. Spero on October 11, 2016. (jcslc1S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/11/2016) (Additional attachment(s) added on 10/11/2016: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service) (klhS, COURT STAFF).

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 MMD FAMILY FOUNDATION, et al., Plaintiffs, 8 v. 9 10 JAMES LEECH, et al., REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION RE SUA SPONTE REMAND Defendants. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No. 16-cv-04967-JCS 12 13 I. INTRODUCTION Defendants James and Janeen Leach, pro se, removed this unlawful detainer action from 14 15 state court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction. The undersigned recommends that this 16 case be REMANDED sua sponte to the Superior Court of California for the County of Alameda. 17 Because the parties have not consented to the jurisdiction of a United States magistrate judge, this 18 case will be reassigned to a United States district judge for further proceedings, including action 19 on these recommendations. Any party may file objections to these recommendations within 20 fourteen days of being served with a copy of this Report. 21 II. 22 ANALYSIS Federal courts have limited subject matter jurisdiction, and may only hear cases falling 23 within their jurisdiction. A defendant may remove a civil action filed in state court if the action 24 could have been filed originally in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. The removal statutes are 25 construed restrictively so as to limit removal jurisdiction. Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 26 313 U.S. 100, 108−09 (1941). The Ninth Circuit recognizes a “strong presumption against 27 removal.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (internal quotations omitted). 28 Any doubts as to removability should be resolved in favor of remand. Matheson v. Progressive 1 Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003). The defendant bears the burden of 2 showing that removal is proper. Valdez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1117 (9th Cir. 2004). Defendant’s Notice of Removal invokes federal question jurisdiction. See Notice of 3 4 Removal at p. 9. Federal question jurisdiction under § 1331 encompasses civil actions that arise 5 under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. “A case 6 ‘arises under’ federal law either where federal law creates the cause of action or ‘where the 7 vindication of a right under state law necessarily turns on some construction of federal law.’” 8 Republican Party of Guam v. Gutierrez, 277 F.3d 1086, 1088 (9th Cir. 2002) (citations omitted). 9 “The presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed by the ‘well-pleaded complaint rule,’ which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 presented on the face of the plaintiff’s properly pleaded complaint.” Wayne v. DHL Worldwide 12 Express, 294 F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 13 392 (1987)). A federal question must arise from the complaint—it is “settled law that a case may 14 not be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense.” Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 393. 15 Here, the Complaint alleges only violations of California state law. The federal statutory 16 and constitutional provisions that Defendants invoke in the Notice of Removal are federal 17 defenses, which do not provide a basis for removal. See Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 393. The 18 undersigned therefore finds no basis for federal jurisdiction, and recommends that the case be 19 remanded.1 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 The Court notes that Defendants expressly state in the Notice of Removal that federal jurisdiction is not based on diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Notice of Removal at 9. In any event, Defendants could not properly remove the action to federal court from California state court on the basis of diversity because it is apparent from the Notice of Removal that Defendant James Leach is a local defendant. See 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2). 2 1 2 III I. CONCLUSION For the reasons stat above, th undersign recomme ted he ned ends that this action be s 3 RE EMANDED to the Califo ornia Superio Court for Alameda Co or ounty. The Court vaca the e ates 4 De ecember 2, 2016 Case Management Conferenc 2 M t ce. 5 6 Da ated: October 11, 2016 r 7 8 9 ___ __________ ___________ __________ ________ JO OSEPH C. SP PERO hief ate Ch Magistra Judge 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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