Comana Company, Inc v. Rainey et al

Filing 4

ORDER Remanding Action to State Court. Signed by Judge Roger T. Benitez on 12/19/2016.(Sent certified copy to State Court)(All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(knb)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 COMANA COMPANY, INC., Case No.: 3:16-cv-02881-BEN-MDD Plaintiff, 12 13 v. 14 ORDER REMANDING ACTION TO STATE COURT JEFFERY RAINEY; MARIA RAINEY; and DOES 1 through X, inclusive, 15 Defendants. 16 17 18 19 Before the Court is Plaintiff Comana Company, Inc.’s Ex Parte Application for 20 Order to Remand. (Docket No. 3.) For the reasons expressed below, the Court 21 GRANTS Plaintiff’s ex parte application to remand. 22 23 BACKGROUND In early October 2016, Plaintiff, a property manager, served Defendants with a 24 three day notice to pay rent or quit, based on Defendants’ failure to pay rent for the 25 property at 1320 San Miguel Avenue, Spring Valley, CA 91977 (“Subject Property”). 26 Defendants did not pay or vacate the property and, subsequently, Plaintiff filed and 27 served an unlawful detainer action on October 14, 2016. The complaint had one claim 28 for relief—unlawful detainer. 1 3:16-cv-02881-BEN-MDD 1 On November 23, 2016, five days before trial was set to begin, Defendants 2 removed the case to this Court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction. (Docket No. 3 1.) Defendants contend that “Plaintiff has actually filed a Federal Question action in 4 State Court” because “to evict a bona fide residential tenant of a foreclosed Landlord, 5 Plaintiff was required to state a cause of action under the [Protecting Tenants at 6 Foreclosure Act (‘PTFA’)],” 15 U.S.C. § 5220, et seq. (Id. at 3-4.) Defendants claim 7 that Plaintiff engaged in “artful pleading” and “sought to avoid [the] protections [of the 8 PTFA] by filing this action as” one for unlawful detainer. (Id.) 9 10 11 12 Plaintiff filed the ex parte application to remand the case to state court on December 5, 2016. (Docket No. 3.) Defendants have not filed an opposition. DISCUSSION The Court must determine whether it has subject matter jurisdiction to hear the 13 case. If “at any time” the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, “the case shall be 14 remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). “A defendant may remove a case only if the claim 15 could have been brought in federal court.” Merrell Dow Pharm. v. Thompson. 478 U.S. 16 804, 808 (1986) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b)). “Absent diversity of citizenship, federal- 17 question jurisdiction is required.” Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). 18 The Court determines that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Under federal 19 question jurisdiction, “[a] defendant may not remove a case to federal court unless the 20 plaintiff’s complaint establishes that the case ‘arises under’ federal law.” Franchise Tax 21 Bd. of State of Cal. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust for S. Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 10 (1983). 22 “A defense that raises a federal question is inadequate to confer federal jurisdiction.” 23 Merrell Dow, 478 U.S. at 808 (citing Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. Mottley, 211 U.S. 24 149, 152-53 (1908)). Here, the only claim for relief is one for unlawful detainer, which 25 arises under state law. (Docket No. 1-2.) No federal claim is presented on the face of the 26 complaint. See Wescom Credit Union v. Dudley, No. CV 10-8203, 2010 WL 4916578, at 27 *2 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 22, 2010) (finding no federal question jurisdiction in case with single 28 claim for unlawful detainer). Defendants claim that the PTFA is the proper basis for this 2 3:16-cv-02881-BEN-MDD 1 action, but the PTFA is inapplicable here because there has been no foreclosure on the 2 Subject Property. (Docket No. 3-1 at 4-5.) Therefore, Defendants have not established 3 that this Court has jurisdiction based on a federal question. 28 U.S.C. § 1331.1 Because the Court concludes that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction, Plaintiff’s Ex 4 5 Parte Application to Remand is GRANTED. (Docket No. 3.) Defendants’ motion to 6 proceed in forma pauperis in federal court is DENIED AS MOOT. (Docket No. 2.) The 7 case is REMANDED to Superior Court of California, County of San Diego, Central 8 Division, Case Number 37-2016-00035971-CL-UD-CTL. 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. 10 11 Dated: December 19, 2016 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 In addition, although not the basis for Defendants’ removal, this Court lacks diversity jurisdiction. The amount in controversy is less than $75,000, precluding jurisdiction even if diversity of citizenship existed. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The complaint indicates that the amount demanded is less than $5,000. 1 26 27 28 3 3:16-cv-02881-BEN-MDD

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