San Diego Pacificvu LLC et al v. Wade et al

Filing 3

ORDER Remanding Case; Denying as moot 2 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. Based on the foregoing, the Court sua sponte REMANDS this action in its entirety to San Diego Superior Court. Because the Court remands this action pursuant to its independent obligation to examine [its] own jurisdiction, FW/PBS, Inc., 493 U.S. at 231, the Court DENIES AS MOOT Defendant's application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 2). Signed by Judge Anthony J. Battaglia on 1/10/2017. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service) Copy of order sent to Superior Court of California, via U.S. mail.(acc)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 SAN DIEGO PACIFICVU LLC, GREG HINCHY, 15 ORDER: Plaintiffs, 13 14 Case No.: 17-CV-0026-AJB-RBB v. (1) SUA SPONTE REMANDING FOR LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION; AND EARL WADE, KARLA AUZU, DOES 1 through 3, 16 Defendants. (2) DENYING AS MOOT MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS, (Doc. No. 2) 17 18 19 20 21 On January 9, 2017, Defendant Earl Wade (“Defendant”), acting pro se, filed a 22 notice of removal, (Doc. No. 1), and application to proceed in forma pauperis, (Doc. No. 23 2). The notice of removal seeks to remove an unlawful detainer proceeding initiated in San 24 Diego Superior Court by Plaintiffs San Diego Pacificvu LLC and Greg Hinchy 25 (“Plaintiffs”). (Doc. No. 1-2.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court sua sponte 26 REMANDS the action to San Diego Superior Court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction 27 and DENIES AS MOOT Defendant’s application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 28 2.) 1 17-CV-0026-AJB-RBB LEGAL STANDARD 1 2 Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter jurisdiction 3 only over matters authorized by the Constitution and Congress. See Kokkonen v. Guardian 4 Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). A defendant may remove a civil action to federal 5 court only if the district court would have original jurisdiction over the matter. 28 U.S.C. 6 § 1441(a). “[R]emoval statutes are strictly construed against removal.” Luther v. 7 Countywide Home Loans Servicing LP, 533 F.3d 1031, 1034 (9th Cir. 2008). There is a 8 “strong presumption” against removal jurisdiction, and the party seeking removal always 9 bears the burden of establishing that removal is proper. Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 10 566 (9th Cir. 1992). If there is any doubt as to the propriety of removal, federal jurisdiction 11 must be rejected. Id. at 566–67. 12 “[F]ederal courts are under an independent obligation to examine their own 13 jurisdiction[.]” FW/PBS, Inc. v. City of Dallas, 493 U.S. 215, 231 (1990). Accordingly, 14 “[i]f at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter 15 jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). 16 DISCUSSION 17 As set forth in the notice of removal, Defendant alleges the Court has federal 18 question jurisdiction over the present action. (Doc. No. 1 ¶¶ 5–14.) Federal question 19 jurisdiction exists over “all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of 20 the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331; see also U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1. Jurisdiction in 21 a federal question case is “governed by the ‘well-pleaded complaint rule,’ which provides 22 that federal [question] jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the 23 face of the plaintiff’s properly pleaded complaint.” California ex rel. Sacramento Metro. 24 Air Quality Mgmt. Dist. v. United States, 215 F.3d 1005, 1014 (9th Cir. 2000) (quoting 25 Audette v. Int’l Longshoremen’s & Warehousemen’s Union, 195 F.3d 1107, 1111 (9th Cir. 26 1999)); see Smith v. Kansas City Title & Trust Co., 255 U.S. 180, 199 (1921). Accordingly, 27 the federal question may not be aided by the notice of removal, Gully v. First Nat’l Bank, 28 299 U.S. 109, 113 (1936), nor may a case be removed on the basis of a federal defense, 2 17-CV-0026-AJB-RBB 1 Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392–93 (1987), or counterclaim, Holmes Grp., 2 Inc. v. Vornado Air Circulation Sys., Inc., 535 U.S. 826, 831–32 (2002). 3 Defendant’s entire assertion of federal question jurisdiction is based upon the 4 argument that Plaintiffs have artfully pled a federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act 5 (“PTFA”) claim disguised as an unlawful detainer action. (Doc. No. 1 ¶¶ 5–7.) However, 6 the face of Plaintiffs’ complaint alleges only a single claim for unlawful detainer, which is 7 a California state law cause of action. (Doc. No. 1-2.) Wells Fargo Bank v. Lapeen, No. C 8 11-01932 LB, 2011 WL 2194117, at *3 (N.D. Cal. June 6, 2011) (“An unlawful detainer 9 action, on its face, does not arise under federal law but is purely a creature of California 10 law.”). 11 Defendant’s contention that Plaintiffs’ right to relief rests on the resolution of an 12 embedded federal PFTA question, (Doc. No. 1 ¶¶ 9–10), likewise carries no clout. As 13 stated, the complaint invokes only state unlawful detainer law. While PFTA may provide 14 Defendant with a defense to the unlawful detainer claim, 1 federal question jurisdiction 15 cannot be predicated upon a defense to the complaint; rather, the complaint itself must raise 16 the federal question. Wayne v. DHL Worldwide Express, 294 F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir. 17 2002) (“the existence of a defense based upon federal law is insufficient to support [federal 18 question] jurisdiction,” (citing Franchise Tax Bd. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust, 463 19 U.S. 1, 10–12 (1983))); Wescom Credit Union v. Dudley, No. CV 10-8203 GAF (SSx), 20 2010 WL 4916578, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 22, 2010) (“The PTFA’s provisions requiring 21 that notice be given ninety days in advance and preventing termination of a bona fide lease 22 unless a purchaser will occupy the unit as a primary residence, see P.L. No. 111-22 § 23 24 25 26 27 28 Defendant asserts that Plaintiffs’ three-day notice is insufficient notice under PFTA. (Doc. No. 1 ¶ 7.) While Defendant argues that “PFTA is not a defense, but the entire basis for the action to eject a bona fide residential tenant of a foreclosed landlord,” (Doc. No. 1 ¶ 13), nothing on the face of the complaint suggests he is being ejected because the former landlord was foreclosed upon. Rather, the complaint states Plaintiffs instituted the unlawful detainer proceedings because Defendant has failed to pay rent in compliance with the written agreement. (See Doc. No. 1-2 at 3 ¶¶ 10, 17.c.) 1 3 17-CV-0026-AJB-RBB 1 702(a)(2)(A), offer Kreisel a federal defense to an unlawful detainer action where the 2 plaintiff fails to comply with these requirements. A federal defense, however, does not 3 support federal-question jurisdiction.”). 4 Finally, to the extent Defendant contends that PFTA preempts state-law unlawful 5 detainer actions, (Doc. No. 1 ¶ 6), “[h]e is incorrect. The PTFA creates no cause of action 6 allowing for evictions, either explicitly or implicitly.” Wescom Credit Union, 2010 WL 7 4916578, at *3. For all these reasons, the Court finds that Plaintiffs’ complaint neither 8 explicitly invokes federal law nor “necessarily raise[s] a stated federal issue, actually 9 disputed and substantial” that the Court “may entertain without disturbing any 10 congressionally approved balance of federal and state judicial responsibilities.” Grable & 11 Sons Metal Prods., Inc. v. Darue Eng’g & Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 314 (2005). CONCLUSION 12 13 Based on the foregoing, the Court sua sponte REMANDS this action in its entirety 14 to San Diego Superior Court. Because the Court remands this action pursuant to its 15 “independent obligation to examine [its] own jurisdiction,” FW/PBS, Inc., 493 U.S. at 231, 16 the Court DENIES AS MOOT Defendant’s application to proceed in forma pauperis. 17 (Doc. No. 2.) 18 19 IT IS SO ORDERED. 20 Dated: January 10, 2017 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4 17-CV-0026-AJB-RBB

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