U.S. Bank National Association v. Chan

Filing 12

Order by Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler granting 4 Motion to Remand.(lblc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/4/2011)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 Northern District of California 10 Oakland Division US BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, 12 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 Plaintiff, No. C 11-04394 LB ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO REMAND v. 13 HECTOR CHAN, [ECF No. 4] 14 15 Defendant. _____________________________________/ 16 17 I. INTRODUCTION Defendant Hector Chan removed Plaintiff U.S. Bank National Association’s complaint for 18 unlawful detainer from the California state court, asserting the existence of federal-question 19 jurisdiction on the basis that Plaintiff’s notice allegedly was defective under the federal Protecting 20 Tenants at Foreclosure Act (“PTFA”), 12 U.S.C. § 5220. Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1 at 2-3, ¶¶ 21 6, 10.1 Plaintiff now brings this motion to remand. Motion to Remand, ECF No. 4 at 2. The court 22 grants Plaintiff’s motion because Defendant’s removal was untimely, the unlawful detainer action 23 presents only a state claim on its face, and the PTFA provides tenants with federal defenses to 24 eviction but does not create federal-question jurisdiction. 25 26 Both parties have consented to the court’s jurisdiction. ECF Nos. 8 and 10. Defendant did not file an opposition to Plaintiff’s motion. See N.D. L.R. 7-3(a) (requiring opposition briefs to be filed 27 28 1 Citations are to the Electronic Case File (“ECF”) with pin cites to the electronic page number at the top of the document, not the pages at the bottom. C 11-04394 LB REMAND ORDER 1 within fourteen days after the motion is served and filed). After considering the case history, 2 Plaintiff’s brief, and law, the court determines that this matter is appropriate for resolution without 3 oral argument. N.D. Cal. L.R. 7-1(b). 4 II. FACTS 5 On or about January 6, 2006, Defendant purchased a residential real property commonly 6 described as 1375 Monte Maria Avenue, Novato, California (the “subject property”). Defendant 7 later defaulted on the Deed of Trust secured by the subject property, which ultimately led to a 8 non-judicial foreclosure sale of the subject property. 9 On February 17, 2011, Plaintiff purchased the subject property at the foreclosure sale, which was No. 5 at 13-15. The transfer of title to the subject property was duly perfected in Plaintiff by the 12 For the Northern District of California held in accordance with California Civil Code § 2924, et. seq. Exh. A, ECF No. 1 at 11-13; ECF 11 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 10 recording on March 1, 2011, of a Trustee’s Deed Upon Sale, in the official records of the Marin 13 County Recorder's office, as Inst. No. 2011-00 12447. Id. 14 On March 15, 2011, a California licensed process server served a Notice to Quit on Defendant, 15 in compliance with California Code of Civil Procedure § 1161(a) and 1161(b). Exh. A, ECF No. 1 16 at 14-16; Crosby Decl., ECF No. 4-2 at 7. 17 The notice to quit expired. However, Defendant continues to remain in possession of the subject 18 property despite not having held title to the subject property since March 1, 2011. ECF No. 5 at 20. 19 Plaintiff filed a complaint in state court against Defendant, alleging only a single state law cause 20 of action for unlawful detainer and specifically stating that the amount of damages sought does not 21 exceed $10,00.00. ECF No. 5 at 8. On April 3, 2011, Defendant and other occupants were served 22 via substituted service as well as by mail and posting at the subject residence. Crosby Decl., ECF 23 No. 4-2 at 9-15. Defendant filed a demurrer in state court. ECF No. 1 at 17-22. And, on September 24 2, 2011, Defendant filed a notice of removal. ECF No. 1 at 1. 25 III. LEGAL STANDARDS 26 A defendant in a state court may remove an action to federal court so long as the action could 27 28 C 11-04394 LB REMAND ORDER 2 1 have originally asserted federal-question jurisdiction.2 28 U.S.C. 1441(b). The action must be 2 removed within 30 days of service of the initial pleading. 28 U.S.C. 1446(b). The defendant has the 3 burden of proving the basis for the federal court’s jurisdiction. Shizuko Nishimoto v. Federman- 4 Bachrach & Assocs., 903 F.2d 709, 712 (9th Cir. 1990). Removal jurisdiction statutes are strictly 5 construed against removal. Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108 (1941); Takeda 6 v. Northwestern Nat’l. Life Ins. Co., 765 F.2d 815, 818 (9th Cir.1985). 7 The “well-pleaded complaint” rule requires a federal question to be presented on the face of the 8 plaintiff's complaint at the time of removal for federal-question jurisdiction to exist. Duncan v. 9 Stuetzle, 76 F.3d 1480, 1485 (9th Cir. 1996). A plaintiff may “by eschewing claims based on federal 399 (1987). And an anticipated federal defense is not sufficient to confer jurisdiction. Franchise 12 For the Northern District of California law, choose to have the cause be heard in state court.” Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 11 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 10 Tax Bd. of California v. Construction Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 10 (1983). But a 13 plaintiff may not defeat removal by omitting necessary federal questions from his or her complaint. 14 Id. at 22. 15 A federal court may exercise removal under the “artful pleading” doctrine even if a federal 16 question does not appear on the face of the complaint. ARCO Environmental Remediation, L.L.C. v. 17 Dep’t of Health and Environmental Quality of the State of Montana, 213 F.3d 1108, 1114 (9th Cir. 18 2000). The artful pleading doctrine applies when: (1) federal law completely preempts state law; (2) 19 the claim is necessarily federal in character; or (3) the right to relief depends on the resolution of a 20 substantial, disputed federal question. Id. However, courts should “invoke the [artful pleading] 21 doctrine only in limited circumstances as it raises difficult issues of state and federal relationships 22 and often yields unsatisfactory results.” Lippitt v. Raymond James Financial Services, 340 F.3d 23 1033, 1041 (9th Cir. 2003). Additionally, the “mere presence of a federal issue in a state cause of 24 action does not automatically confer federal-question jurisdiction.” Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals 25 Inc. v. Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 813 (1986). 26 /// 27 28 2 District courts have original jurisdiction over cases that arise under the law of the United States. U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl.1. C 11-04394 LB REMAND ORDER 3 1 2 3 IV. DISCUSSION A. Whether the Complaint Was Timely Removed Plaintiff argues that Defendant did not timely remove the complaint. Motion to Remand, ECF 4 No. 4 at 7. Defendant did not file the notice of removal until September 2, 2011. Notice of 5 Removal, ECF No. 1 at 1. Even if the court accepted the representation made in Defendant’s 6 demurrer that he was not served until April 6, 2011, see ECF No. 1 at 20, his time to remove the 7 action would have expired on May 6, 2011. 28 U.S.C. 1446(b). Accordingly, the court finds that 8 Defendant’s removal was untimely. 9 B. Whether the PTFA Provides a Basis for Federal-Question Jurisdiction 10 Plaintiff states that its complaint asserts only a cause of action for unlawful detainer pursuant to section 1161(a)(b)(3) of the California Code of Civil Procedure. Motion, ECF No 4 at 9. Defendant 12 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 asserted only federal-question jurisdiction as a basis for removal. Complaint, ECF No. 1 at 2, ¶ 6. 13 As the court discussed in Wells Fargo Bank v. Lapeen, NO. C 11-01932 LB, 2011 WL 2194117 14 (N.D. Cal. June 6, 2011), in these circumstances, the PTFA does not create federal-question 15 jurisdiction. V. CONCLUSION 16 17 For the foregoing reasons, the court GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion to remand. 18 This disposes of ECF No. 4. 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. 20 Dated: November 4, 2011 _______________________________ LAUREL BEELER United States Magistrate Judge 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 C 11-04394 LB REMAND ORDER 4

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?