GMAC Mortgage, LLC v. Amaya et al

Filing 12

ORDER REMANDING CASE TO ALAMEDA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT; Denying 3 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis filed by Jose Amaya,and Denying 4 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis filed by Maria Elena Montano, Motions terminated. Signed by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on 11/26/12. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(fs, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/26/2012)

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 6 7 8 9 GMAC MORTGAGE, LLC, formerly known as GMAC MORTGAGE CORPORATION, Plaintiff, 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 Case No.: 4:12-cv-05028-YGR ORDER DENYING APPLICATIONS TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND REMANDING ACTION TO STATE COURT vs. JOSE AMAYA, MARIA ELENA MONTANO, and MAIRA ISABEL FLORES, Defendants. 15 16 Defendants Jose Amaya and Maria Elena Montano have filed Applications to Proceed in 17 Forma Pauperis. (Dkt. Nos. 3 & 4.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1915, a district court may 18 authorize the commencement of a civil action in forma pauperis if the court is satisfied that the 19 would-be plaintiff cannot pay the filing fees necessary to pursue the action. 28 U.S.C. § 20 1915(a)(1). The court may deny in forma pauperis status, however, if it appears from the face of 21 the proposed complaint that the action is frivolous or without merit. O’Loughlin v. Doe, 920 F.2d 22 614, 616 (9th Cir. 1990); Tripati v. First National Bank & Trust, 821 F.2d 1368, 1370 (9th Cir. 23 1987). In addition, federal courts are under a duty to raise and decide issues of subject matter 24 jurisdiction sua sponte at any time it appears subject matter jurisdiction may be lacking. Fed. R. 25 Civ. P. 12(h)(3); Augustine v. United States, 704 F.2d 1074, 1077 (9th Cir. 1983). If the Court 26 determines that subject matter jurisdiction is lacking, the Court must dismiss the case. Id. 27 28 Defendants removed this action on September 27, 2012. (Notice of Removal of Action under 28 U.S.C. Section 1441(b) (“Notice of Removal”) (Dkt. No. 1).) Defendants assert that 1 Plaintiff’s “state court action involve[s] several claims in which [sic] is based solely in Federal 2 Law.” (Notice of Removal at 2.) Specifically, Defendants contend that Plaintiff’s claims are 3 purportedly based on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the Truth in Lending 4 Act (“TILA”), and relate to a Consent Order issued by the Board of Governors of the Federal 5 Reserve System Washington, D.C. as well as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 6 Washington, D.C. (Id.) Having reviewed the Notice of Removal and the state court complaint in 7 this action (Dkt. No. 1), the Court REMANDS this action because it is without subject matter 8 jurisdiction. 9 Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1441(a), “any civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 or the defendants, to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing 12 the place where such action is pending.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Under 28 U.S.C. section 1331, a 13 district court has original jurisdiction over “all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or 14 treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction is 15 on the party seeking removal, and courts strictly construe the removal statute against removal 16 jurisdiction. Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566–67 (9th Cir. 1992) (internal citations omitted). 17 Accordingly, “federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in 18 the first instance.” Id. at 566. A district court must remand the case to state court if it appears at 19 any time before final judgment that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 20 1447(c). 21 Defendants’ characterizations of the complaint as raising claims under FDCPA and TILA 22 do not create a federal question. A claim “arises under” federal law if, based on the “well-pleaded 23 complaint rule,” the plaintiff alleges a federal claim for relief. Vaden v. Discovery Bank, 556 U.S. 24 49, 60 (2009). Defenses and counterclaims asserting a federal question do not satisfy this 25 requirement. Id.; Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 393 (1987) (“[I]t is now settled law 26 that a case may not be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense.”). The federal 27 question must be presented by the plaintiff’s complaint as it stands at the time of removal. The 28 record indicates that Plaintiff’s state court complaint presents one state law claim for unlawful 2 1 detainer under California Code of Civil Procedure section 1161a. The complaint is clearly 2 captioned as a “Complaint for Unlawful Detainer” and does not allege any federal claims 3 whatsoever. Defendants’ allegations in the Notice of Removal cannot provide this Court with 4 federal question jurisdiction. Moreover, there is no diversity jurisdiction in this matter. The complaint indicates that the 5 6 amount demanded is less than $10,000. As such, removal to federal court cannot be based on 7 diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C §§ 1441(b) & 1332(a). Federal courts can only adjudicate cases which the Constitution or Congress authorize them 8 9 to adjudicate: those cases involving diversity of citizenship (where the parties are from diverse states), or a federal question, or those cases to which the United States is a party. See, e.g., 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Federal courts 12 are presumptively without jurisdiction over civil cases and the burden of establishing the contrary 13 rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction. Id. Having failed to identify a basis for federal question 14 jurisdiction, the Court must remand this action. Accordingly, Defendants’ Applications to Proceed in Forma Pauperis are DENIED and this 15 16 action is hereby REMANDED to the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda. 17 This Order terminates Dkt. Nos. 3 & 4. The Clerk of this Court is further ordered to forward 18 certified copies of this Order and all docket entries to the Clerk of the Alameda County Superior 19 Court. 20 IT IS SO ORDERED. 21 22 23 Dated: November 26, 2012 _______________________________________ YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE 24 25 26 27 28 3

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