Edrington v. Barr et al

Filing 8

ORDER REMANDING CASE. Signed by Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley on 2/2/2017. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service)(ahm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/2/2017)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 STEVEN EDRINGTON, Plaintiff, 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Case No.16-cv-07395-JSC ORDER REMANDING CASE v. JAMES K. BARR, et al., Defendants. 12 13 Plaintiff brought this state law unlawful detainer action against Defendants James K. Barr 14 and Judy A. Barr in the Superior Court of California for the County of Alameda. The Barr 15 Defendants, representing themselves, removed this action from Alameda County Superior Court. 16 (Dkt. No.1.) Given the lack of subject matter jurisdiction appearing on the face of the complaint, 17 the Court ordered the Barr Defendants to show cause (“OSC”) as to why this case should not be 18 remanded. (Dkt. No. 3.) Although ordered to respond to the OSC by January 26, 2017, the Barr 19 Defendants have failed to do so. 20 All parties have consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction (see Dkt. Nos. 5,6, 7), pursuant 21 to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (See Dkt. Nos. 5, 6, 7.) For the reasons explained below, the Court 22 REMANDS this case to Alameda County Superior Court. 23 DISCUSSION 24 A defendant may remove an action from state court to federal court so long as the federal 25 court has original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Federal subject matter jurisdiction under 28 26 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1) requires complete diversity of citizenship and an amount in controversy in 27 excess of $75,000. Federal subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 requires a civil 28 action to arise under the constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. A claim “arises under” 1 federal law only if a “well-pleaded complaint” alleges a cause of action based on federal law—“an 2 actual or anticipated defense” does not confer federal jurisdiction. Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 3 U.S. 49, 60 (2009). The defendant seeking removal “bears the burden of establishing that removal 4 is proper” and the “removal statute is strictly construed against removal jurisdiction.” Provincial 5 Gov’t of Marinduque v. Placer Dome, Inc., 582 F.3d 1083, 1087 (9th Cir. 2009). Further, when a 6 case is removed to federal court, the court has an independent obligation to satisfy itself that it has 7 federal subject matter jurisdiction. Valdez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1116 (9th Cir. 8 2004). A case removed to federal court must be remanded back to state court “if at any time 9 before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 § 1447(c). Here, Defendants cite both federal question jurisdiction and diversity jurisdiction as bases 12 for removal. As to federal question jurisdiction, the removed complaint makes only a state-law 13 claim for unlawful detainer. It is unclear from the Notice of Removal what federal laws are or 14 may be implicated. Further, as noted above, it is the complaint that must allege a cause of action 15 based on federal law to confer federal jurisdiction, and Plaintiff’s complaint does not do so. Any 16 actual or anticipated defenses that Defendants plan to raise are not sufficient to establish federal 17 jurisdiction. Vaden, 556 U.S. at 60. 18 Nor does diversity jurisdiction exist in this case. Plaintiff’s unlawful detainer action was 19 filed in superior court as a “limited” civil case amounting to less than $10,000 in controversy. 20 (See Dkt. No. 1 at 17, 19.) As such, the amount in controversy does not meet the jurisdictional 21 threshold of $75,000.00 for diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441(b) & 1332(a). In addition, 22 only non-resident defendants can effect removal based on diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. 23 § 1441(b); Spencer v. U.S. Dist. Ct. for Northern Dist. (Altec Indus., Inc.), 393 F.3d 86, 87 (9th 24 Cir. 2004). Once any “local defendant (a citizen of the forum state) has been served, the action 25 cannot be removed by that defendant, or by any other defendant.” Republic W. Ins. Co. v. Int’l 26 Ins. Co., 765 F. Supp. 628, 629 (N.D. Cal. 1991) (internal quotation marks omitted). Here, the 27 complaint alleges that Defendants reside at the subject property located in Alameda, California, 28 and are therefore citizens of California. (Dkt. No. 1 at 17.) Indeed, in their notice of removal 2 1 Defendants allege that they are California citizens. (Id. at 8.) As Defendants are “local,” 2 removal is improper on this basis as well. 3 4 Given Defendants’ failure to respond to the OSC regarding remand and the clear lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the face of the complaint, remand is required. CONCLUSION 5 6 7 8 9 Based on the foregoing, the Court REMANDS this case to Superior Court of California for the County of Alameda. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: February 2, 2017 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 JACQUELINE SCOTT CORLEY United States Magistrate Judge 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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