Poon-Atkins et al v. Poon et al

Filing 15

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO REMAND by Judge Jon S. Tigar granting 10 Motion to Remand. (kc, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/5/2024)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 CHRISTY POON-ATKINS, et al., 7 Plaintiffs, 8 ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO REMAND v. 9 JOHN POON, et al., 10 Re: ECF No. 10 Defendants. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No. 24-cv-01345-JST 12 Pro se plaintiffs Christy Poon-Atkins, Rhonda Barnette, Willie James Poon, Jr., and Kesha 13 14 Poon (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) initiated this action against Defendants John W. Poon and David 15 Poon (collectively, “Defendants”) in the Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County in 16 August 2021. ECF No. 1 ¶ 1. The dispute concerns the parties’ protected interests within the 17 Torrie D. Nunnally Family Trust. Id. ¶ 3. On March 6, 2024, Plaintiffs removed this action to the 18 Northern District of California. Id. at 1. Now before the Court is Defendants’ motion to remand. 19 ECF No. 10. The Court will grant the motion.1 “[A]ny civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the United States 20 21 have original jurisdiction, may be removed by the . . . defendants, to the district court of the 22 United States for the district and division embracing the place where such action is pending.” 28 23 U.S.C. § 1441(a) (emphasis added). Courts should “strictly construe the removal statute against 24 removal jurisdiction.” Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992). “Where doubt 25 regarding the right to removal exists, a case should be remanded to state court.” Matheson v. 26 Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 319 F.3d 1089, 1090 (9th Cir. 2003). This “‘strong presumption’ 27 28 1 The Court finds the motion suitable for disposition without oral argument and hereby vacates the June 27, 2024 motion hearing. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b); Civil L.R. 7-1(b). United States District Court Northern District of California 1 against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always has the burden of establishing that 2 removal is proper.” Gaus, 980 F.2d at 566 (quoting Nishimoto v. Federman-Bachrach & Assocs., 3 903 F.2d 709, 712 n.3 (9th Cir. 1990)). 4 Defendants’ motion to remand must be granted for one simple reason—Plaintiffs cannot 5 seek removal. ECF No. 10 at 8–9; Am. Int’l Underwriters (Philippines), Inc. v. Cont’l Ins. Co., 6 843 F.2d 1253, 1260–61 (9th Cir. 1988) (“The right to remove a state court case to federal court is 7 clearly limited to defendants.”) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1441). “A plaintiff who commences his action 8 in a state court cannot effectuate removal to a federal court even if he could have originated the 9 action in a federal court and even if a counterclaim is thereafter filed that states a claim cognizable 10 in a federal court.” Oregon Egg Producers v. Andrew, 458 F.2d 382, 383 (9th Cir. 1972) (citing 11 28 U.S.C. § 1441; Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 104–05 (1941)). 12 Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ attempt to remove this action to federal court is legally void and remand is 13 appropriate.2 14 The motion to remand is granted. 15 IT IS SO ORDERED. 16 Dated: June 5, 2024 ______________________________________ JON S. TIGAR United States District Judge 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Because the Court finds this argument dispositive, it declines to reach Defendants’ remaining arguments. 2 2

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