Silicon Valley Homes, LLC v. Lieu et al

Filing 3

ORDER THAT CASE BE REASSIGNED TO A DISTRICT JUDGE, REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 1 Notice of Removal. Signed by Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd on 2/6/12. (hrllc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/6/2012)

Download PDF
1 ** E-filed February 6, 2012 ** 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 For the Northern District of California NOT FOR CITATION 8 United States District Court 7 SAN JOSE DIVISION 11 SILICON VALLEY HOMES, LLC; Plaintiff, 12 13 14 15 No. C12-00533 HRL ORDER THAT CASE BE REASSIGNED TO A DISTRICT COURT JUDGE v. DEANNA LIEU; et al., REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION Defendants. ____________________________________/ [Re: Docket No. 1] 16 17 INTRODUCTION 18 On February 2, 2012, defendants Deanna Lieu and Ting Louangxay, proceeding pro se, 19 removed this case from Santa Clara County Superior Court. Docket No. 1 (“Notice of Removal”). 20 For the reasons stated below, the undersigned recommends that this action be summarily remanded 21 to state court. 22 23 DISCUSSION Plaintiff Silicon Valley Homes, LLC (“SVH”) filed this unlawful detainer action against 24 Deanna Lieu, Ting Louangxay, and five Doe Defendants on January 27, 2012 in Santa Clara County 25 Superior Court. Notice of Removal, Ex. A (“Complaint”). According to the complaint, SVH 26 acquired the subject property through a foreclosure trustee’s sale on January 17, 2012, in accordance 27 with California Civil Code section 2924. Id. at ¶ 4. On January 17, SVH served the defendants with 28 1 a three-day Notice to Quit. Id. at ¶ 6. Defendants did not respond to the Notice, nor did they vacate 2 the property. Id. at ¶ 7. 3 Removal to federal court is proper where the federal court would have original subject 4 matter jurisdiction over the complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Removal jurisdiction can be based on 5 diversity of citizenship or on the existence of a federal question. Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 6 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). If, after a court’s prompt review of a notice of removal, “it clearly appears on 7 the face of the notice and any exhibits annexed thereto that removal should not be permitted, the 8 court shall make an order for summary remand.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(4) (emphasis added). These 9 removal statutes are strictly construed against removal and place the burden on the defendant to For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 demonstrate that removal was proper. Moore-Thomas v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., 553 F.3d 1241, 1244 11 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992)). 12 Here, the defendants assert that removal is proper based on federal question and diversity 13 jurisdiction. See Notice of Removal ¶¶ 14-15. Federal courts have original jurisdiction over civil 14 actions “arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. A 15 claim “arises under” federal law if, based on the “well-pleaded complaint rule,” the plaintiff alleges 16 a federal cause of action. Vaden v. Discovery Bank, 129 S. Ct. 1262, 1272 (2009). Alternatively, the 17 complaint may establish that the plaintiff’s right to relief “necessarily depends on resolution of a 18 substantial question of federal law.” Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Co. v. An Exclusive Gas 19 Storage Leasehold & Easement, 524 F.3d 1090, 1100 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting Franchise Tax Bd. v. 20 Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 U.S. 1, 27–28 (1983). Defenses and counterclaims asserting a 21 federal question do not satisfy this requirement. Discovery Bank, 129 S. Ct. at 1272. 22 Defendants assert that a variety of federal laws are implicated in this action. Notice of 23 Removal ¶¶ 8, 14-15. These appear to be defenses that the defendants have raised or would raise 24 against the claim for unlawful detainer. However, SVH’s complaint alleges only a state law claim 25 for unlawful detainer; it does not allege any federal claims whatsoever. See Complaint. Moreover, 26 resolving SVH’s unlawful detainer claim does not depend on resolution of any substantial issues of 27 federal law. As stated above, defenses and counterclaims that raise questions of federal law will not 28 2 1 suffice. See Discovery Bank, 129 S. Ct. at 1272. Accordingly, the defendants have failed to show 2 that this action arises under federal law. Neither is there diversity jurisdiction over this action. Federal subject-matter jurisdiction 3 4 based on diversity requires complete diversity of citizenship and an amount in controversy in excess 5 of $75,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). In this matter, the plaintiff’s complaint expressly states that the 6 amount in controversy is less than $10,000. Complaint p.1. The defendants appear to be California 7 citizens, and they state that SVH is incorporated in California. 1 See Notice of Removal ¶ 15(a); 8 Complaint ¶ 1. Neither the requirement of complete diversity nor the minimum amount in 9 controversy are satisfied. Therefore, there is no basis for this court to exercise jurisdiction based For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 either upon a federal question or diversity. CONCLUSION 11 Because the parties have yet to consent to the undersigned’s jurisdiction, this court ORDERS 12 13 the Clerk of the Court to reassign this case to a District Court judge. The undersigned further 14 RECOMMENDS that the newly assigned judge summarily remand the case to Santa Clara County 15 Superior Court. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), any party may serve and file 16 objections to this Report and Recommendation within fourteen days after being served. 17 IT IS SO ORDERED. 18 19 Dated: February 6, 2012 HOWARD R. LLOYD 20 UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 Additionally, the “forum defendant rule” ordinarily imposes a limitation on actions removed pursuant to diversity jurisdiction: “such action[s] shall be removable only if none of the parties in interest properly joined and served as defendants is a citizen of the State in which such action is brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b); see Spencer v. U.S. Dist. Ct. for the Northern Dist. of Cal., 393 F.3d 867, 870 (9th Cir. 2004). However, the Ninth Circuit has held this rule to be procedural and a waivable defect in the removal process, and a court acting sua sponte may not base its decision to remand solely upon such a defect. Lively v. Wild Oats Markets, Inc., 456 F.3d 933, 935-36 (9th Cir. 2006). 3 1 C12-00519 HRL Notice will be electronically mailed to: 2 Todd Bennett Rothbard 3 Notice will be mailed to: 4 Deanna Lieu 460 Dempsey Road, Unit 261 Milpitas, CA 95035 5 6 Counsel are responsible for distributing copies of this document to co-counsel who have not registered for e-filing under the court’s CM/ECF program. 7 8 9 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 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?