Wells Fargo Bank N.A., v. Brown et al

Filing 12

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: COURT'S JURISDICTION. Signed by Judge Jeffrey S. White on 6/14/17. Show Cause Response due by 6/30/2017. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(jjoS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/15/2017)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 WELLS FARGO BANK N.A.,, Plaintiff, 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Case No. 17-cv-02854-JSW ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE COURT'S JURISDICTION v. CAROL A. BROWN, et al., Defendants. 12 13 Federal courts have a duty to raise and decide issues of subject matter jurisdiction sua 14 sponte at any time it appears subject matter jurisdiction may be lacking. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12; 15 Augustine v. United States, 704 F.2d 1074, 1077 (9th Cir. 1983). It appears that this Court lacks 16 jurisdiction to hear this matter. 17 On January 31, 2017, Plaintiff Wells Fargo Bank (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint for 18 unlawful detainer in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Alameda 19 (“Alameda County Superior Court”) against Defendant Carol A. Brown and five “Doe” 20 defendants. On May 17, 2017, Rudolph J. Davis (an individual who is not named as a defendant 21 in Plaintiff’s complaint) removed this action on the basis that “this Court has original jurisdiction 22 under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 . . . in that it arises under U.S.C. 42 Deprivation of Rights.” (Dkt. No. 1, 23 Notice of Removal, at 1-2.) 24 “[A]ny civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States 25 have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the defendant . . . to the district court of the United 26 States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.” Franchise 27 Tax Bd. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 7-8 (1983) (citation omitted); see also 28 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). However, federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. See, e.g., Kokkonen 1 v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Accordingly, the burden of 2 establishing federal jurisdiction for purposes of removal is on the party seeking removal, and the 3 removal statute is strictly construed against removal jurisdiction. Valdez v. Allstate Ins. Co., 372 4 F.3d 1115, 1117 (9th Cir. 2004); see also Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). 5 “Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first 6 instance.” Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566. 7 “The presence or absence of federal-question jurisdiction is governed by the ‘well-pleaded 8 complaint rule.’” Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 382, 392 (1987). The well-pleaded 9 complaint rule recognizes that the plaintiff is the master of his or her claim. “[H]e or she may avoid federal jurisdiction by exclusive reliance on state law.” Id. Thus, under the well-pleaded 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 complaint rule, federal-question jurisdiction arises where the “complaint establishes either that 12 federal law creates the cause of action or that the plaintiff’s right to relief necessarily depends on 13 resolution of a substantial question of federal law.” Franchise Tax Bd., 463 U.S. at 27-28. 14 This action is an unlawful detainer action and, thus, federal law does not create the cause 15 of action. Moreover, the Court finds that the claim will not necessarily depend on the resolution 16 of a substantial question of federal law, because Plaintiff need not prove compliance with any 17 provision of Title 42 of the United States Code in order to establish its claim. See, e.g., Grable & 18 Sons Metal Prods. v. Darue Eng. & Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 314-15 (2005). To the extent Mr. Davis 19 believes that a provision of Title 42 will be relevant or essential in mounting a defense to the 20 unlawful detainer action, this is an insufficient basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction. 21 Franchise Tax Bd., 463 U.S. at 10, 14; see also Caterpillar, 482 U.S. at 393 (“[I]t is now settled 22 law that a case may not be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense . . . even if 23 the defense is anticipated in the plaintiff’s complaint and even if both parties concede that the 24 federal defense is the only question truly at issue.”). 25 It thus appears that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear this matter, and that 26 the action must be remanded back to Alameda County Superior Court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c); 27 see also Maniar v. FDIC, 979 F.2d 782, 785 (9th Cir. 1992). 28 Accordingly, the Court HEREBY ISSUES this order to show cause to Rudolph J. Davis to 2 1 res spond in writ ting no later than June 30, 2017 why this case sh 3 y hould not be remanded t Alameda e to 2 County Superio Court. In addition, Mr. Davis sha address w he has st or n M all why tanding to re emove this 3 act tion when it appears he is not a name defendant See 28 U. ed t. .S.C. § 1441(a) (“[A]ny civil action 4 bro ought in Stat court of which the dist te w trict courts o the United States have original jur of d e risdiction, 5 ma be remove by the def ay ed fendant . . . .” (emphasis added)); see also Tanha v. Macy’s Inc., No. 12. s a 6 cv-6471-SC, 20 WL 136 013 65953 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 3, 2013) (“Ma , acy’s West i not a party to this is y 7 act tion and has no standing to remove Plaintiff’s ca under the removal sta P ase e atutes.”). Sh hould Mr. 8 Da fail to re avis espond, this case shall be remanded f lack of su c e for ubject matte jurisdiction er n. 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 IT IS SO ORDER S RED. Da ated: June 14 2017 4, ___ __________ ___________ __________ ________ JEF FFREY S. W WHITE Un nited States D District Judg ge 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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