Castle Creek Company, Inc. v. Stewart

Filing 6

REPORT & RECOMMENDATION RE SUA SPONTE REMAND. The Case Management Conference set for January 6, 2017 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).

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 CASTLE CREEK COMPANY, INC., Plaintiff, 8 v. 9 10 JESSIE STEWART, REPORT & RECOMMENDATION RE SUA SPONTE REMAND Defendant. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No. 16-cv-05747-JCS 12 13 I. INTRODUCTION Plaintiff Castle Creek Company, Inc. brought an unlawful detainer action in state court 14 15 against Defendant Jessie Stewart. Defendant, proceeding pro se, removed the case to this Court. 16 See Notice of Removal (dkt. 1). The undersigned recommends that this case be REMANDED sua 17 sponte to the Superior Court of California for the County of Contra Costa. Because the parties 18 have not consented to the jurisdiction of a United States magistrate judge, this case will be 19 reassigned to a United States district judge for further proceedings, including action on these 20 recommendations. Any party may file objections to these recommendations within fourteen days 21 of being served with a copy of this Report. 22 II. 23 ANALYSIS Federal courts have limited subject matter jurisdiction, and may only hear cases falling 24 within their jurisdiction. A defendant may remove a civil action filed in state court if the action 25 could have been filed originally in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. The removal statutes are 26 construed restrictively so as to limit removal jurisdiction. Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 27 313 U.S. 100, 108−09 (1941). The Ninth Circuit recognizes a “strong presumption against 28 removal.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992) (internal quotations omitted). 1 Any doubts as to removability should be resolved in favor of remand. Matheson v. Progressive 2 Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003). The defendant bears the burden of 3 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 4 5 Removal ¶10. Federal question jurisdiction under § 1331 encompasses civil actions that arise 6 under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. “A case 7 ‘arises under’ federal law either where federal law creates the cause of action or ‘where the 8 vindication of a right under state law necessarily turns on some construction of federal law.’” 9 Republican Party of Guam v. Gutierrez, 277 F.3d 1086, 1088 (9th Cir. 2002) (citations omitted). “The presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed by the ‘well-pleaded 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 complaint rule,’ which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is 12 presented on the face of the plaintiff’s properly pleaded complaint.” Wayne v. DHL Worldwide 13 14 15 Express, 294 F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987)). A federal question must arise from the complaint—it is “settled law that a case may not be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense.” Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 393. Here, the Complaint alleges only violations of California state law. Defendant’s Notice of 16 17 18 19 20 21 Removal states that a “[f]ederal question exists because Defendant’s Answer, a pleading depend [sic] on the determination of Defendant’s rights and Plaintiff’s duties under federal law.” Notice of Removal ¶ 10. Even if that is so, a federal defense presented in the Answer provides no basis for removal. See Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 393. The undersigned therefore finds no basis for federal jurisdiction, and recommends that the case be remanded. 1 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 The Court notes that Defendant has not invoked diversity as a basis for federal jurisdiction and that removal on that basis would have been improper. The diversity jurisdiction statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332, provides that “district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between . . . citizens of different States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). However, a “civil action otherwise removable solely on the basis of [diversity jurisdiction] may not be removed if any of the parties in interest properly joined and served as defendants is a citizen of the State in which such action is brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)(2). It is apparent from the Notice of Removal that Defendant is a citizen of California and therefore he may not invoke diversity jurisdiction under § 1332 to remove an action filed in California state court. 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 Contra Cost County. T Case M or ta The Management t 4 Co onference se for January 6, 2017 is vacated. et 5 6 7 8 Da ated: Octobe 11, 2016 er ___ __________ ___________ __________ ________ JO OSEPH C. SP PERO hief ate Ch Magistra Judge 9 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

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?