PNC Bank National Association successor in interest to National City Real Estate Services LLC SBM National City Mortgage, Inc. v. Medina et al

Filing 5

ORDER REMANDING CASE. Signed by Judge Hamilton on 11/23/2010. (pjhlc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/23/2010)

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PNC Bank National Association v. Medina et al Doc. 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 PNC BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff, v. ALBERT MEDINA, et al., Defendants. _______________________________/ Defendants Albert Medina and Virginia Medina removed this action from the Superior Court of San Joaquin County on November 9, 2010, alleging diversity jurisdiction. Because the court finds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case is hereby REMANDED. Federal courts can adjudicate only those cases which the Constitution and Congress authorize them to adjudicate those involving diversity of citizenship or a federal question, or those to which the United States is a party. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction for purposes of removal is on the party seeking removal. Valdez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 1115, 1117 (9th Cir. 2004). The removal statutes are construed restrictively, so as to limit removal jurisdiction. Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108-09 (1941); see also Matheson v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003) (doubts as to removability are resolved in favor of remanding case to state court). A defendant has a No. C 10-5069 PJH ORDER REMANDING CASE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA United United States District Court 11 For the Northern District of California 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Dockets.Justia.com 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 particularly heavy burden where the state court complaint specifically indicates that it seeks damages of less than $75,000. The district court must remand the case if it appears before final judgment that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. 1447(c). The complaint at issue, which was filed in the Superior Court of San Joaquin County on August 27, 2010, alleges a single cause of action under state law, for unlawful detainer following a non-judicial foreclosure sale in April 2010. The complaint further alleges that on May 21, 2010. defendants were served with a 90-day notice to vacate vacate the premises. The caption of the complaint states "Amount Demanded Does not Exceed $10,000." In the prayer for relief, plaintiff seeks "restitution and possession of the property" and the sum of $31.67 per day, which represents "the unpaid fair market value" for use and occupancy of the property and premises from August 20, 2010 until rendition of Judgment herein," and "such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper." In the notice of removal, defendants assert diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1332, alleging only that parties are citizens of different states. However, there are two requirements for establishing diversity jurisdiction the parties on each side must be diverse, and the amount in controversy must exceed $75,000. 28 U.S.C. 1332(a). Under 28 U.S.C. 1447(c), the district court is required to remand state law claims where the court lacks removal jurisdiction that is, where there is no federal question or diversity jurisdiction. Albingia Versicherungs A.G. v. Schenker Int'l, Inc., 344 F.3d 931, 936, amended, 350 F.3d 916 (9th Cir. 2003). Subject matter jurisdiction is fundamental and cannot be waived. Billingsly v. C.I.R., 868 F.2d 1081, 1085 (9th Cir. 1989). Federal courts have no power to consider claims for which they lack subject-matter jurisdiction. See Chen-Cheng Wang ex rel. United States v. FMC Corp., 975 F.2d 1412, 1415 (9th Cir. 1992). Thus, in the present case, the court must consider whether it has subject matter jurisdiction over the removed unlawful detainer action before it can consider whether the unlawful detainer action should be consolidated with the related wrongful foreclosure action. Here, defendants have not met their burden of establishing that the amount in 2 United States District Court 11 For the Northern District of California 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 controversy exceeds $75,000. When a state court complaint affirmatively alleges that the amount in controversy is less than the jurisdictional threshold, the party seeking removal must prove with "legal certainty" that the jurisdictional amount is met. See Lowdermilk v. U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n, 479 F.3d 994, 998-1000 (9th Cir. 2007). Here, the face of the complaint makes clear that plaintiff is seeking an amount less than $10,000, and as of the time of removal, the amount claimed ($31.67 per day, from August 20, 2010 to November 9, 2010) was well under that amount. Moreover, plaintiff filed this unlawful detainer action as a "limited civil case," which necessarily means that the "whole amount of damages claimed is twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) or less." Cal. Civ. Proc. Code 86(a)(4). In accordance with the foregoing, this case is hereby REMANDED to the San Joaquin Superior Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1447(c) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. See Singer v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 116 F.3d 373, 376-77 (9th Cir. 1997) (where plaintiff does not claim damages in excess of $75,000 and defendant offers no facts whatsoever to show that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, then defendant has not borne the burden on removal of proving that the amount in controversy requirement is satisfied). United States District Court 11 For the Northern District of California 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: November 23, 2010 ______________________________ PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON United States District Judge 3

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