Allen v. Justice

Filing 6

ORDER REMANDING CASE. Signed by Judge James Donato on 10/17/2016. (jdlc3S, COURT STAFF) ( Filed on 10/17/2016)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 JOHN ALLEN, Plaintiff, 8 Re: Dkt. No. 1 CARLVIN JUSTICE, Defendant. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California ORDER REMANDING CASE v. 9 10 Case No.3:16-cv-05468-JD 12 13 This is an unlawful detainer case alleging $200 in damages that plaintiffs John Allen and 14 Ken David originally filed in Alameda County Superior Court on April 22, 2016. Dkt. No. 1 at 4. 15 On September 26, 2016, pro se defendant Carlvin Justice removed the case to this Court and filed 16 an accompanying application to proceed in forma pauperis. Dkt. Nos. 1, 3. The Court finds this 17 case was removed improvidently and without jurisdiction. The Court remands the action to 18 Alameda County Superior Court and terminates as moot the application to proceed in forma 19 pauperis. 20 A defendant may remove a civil action from state court to federal court if original 21 jurisdiction would have existed at the time the complaint was filed. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). “The 22 ‘strong presumption against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always has the burden 23 of establishing that removal is proper,’ and that the court resolves all ambiguity in favor of remand 24 to state court.” Hunter v. Philip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Gaus 25 v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992)). 26 Defendant Justice alleges subject matter jurisdiction on a federal question. Dkt. No. 1-1 at 27 1. For the Court to have federal question jurisdiction, the plaintiff’s case must arise under federal 28 law. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. And the federal question on which jurisdiction is premised must “‘be 1 disclosed on the face of the complaint’” not “supplied via a defense.” Provincial Gov’t of 2 Marinduque v. Placer Dome, Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1086 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Phillips 3 Petroleum Co. v. Texaco, Inc., 415 U.S. 125, 127–28 (1974)). 4 These conditions do not exist here. The complaint alleges a single claim for unlawful 5 detainer and no other causes of action. Dkt. No. 1 at 3-5. “The right to relief on the unlawful 6 detainer action does not depend on the resolution of a substantial question of federal law.” Litton 7 Loan Servicing, L.P. v. Villegas, Case No. C 10-05478 PJH, 2011 WL 204322, at *2 (N.D. Cal. 8 Jan. 21, 2011). Defendant’s brief description of the cause of action states “This action did arose 9 [sic] under federal law and is now removable pursuant to U.S. Const. 8 Amendment XIV section 1.” Dkt. No. 1 at 2. It is impossible to discern from defendant’s notice of removal any of the 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 essential details that would trigger federal court jurisdiction or the legal theories for which he 12 seeks relief in federal court. Even so, any possible federal question defenses would not arise as 13 part of the well-pleaded complaint. Defendant has not met his burden of establishing federal 14 question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. 15 Federal district courts may also have jurisdiction over suits for more than $75,000 where 16 the citizenship of each plaintiff is different from that of each defendant. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. But 17 the damages sought in the complaint appear to be $200, and in any event no diversity of 18 citizenship appears on the face of the complaint. Dkt. No. 1 at 3-6. Consequently this Court lacks 19 diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. This case is remanded to Alameda County Superior 20 Court. 21 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: October 17, 2016 23 24 JAMES DONATO United States District Judge 25 26 27 28 2

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