Mission Capital Properties, Inc. v. Dominguez et al

Filing 4

ORDER Sua Sponte Remanding Action to State Court. Signed by Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel on 7/12/17.(All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(certified copy sent to State Court)(dlg)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 10 MISSION CAPITAL PROPERTIES, Case No.: 17-cv-1389-GPC(KSC) Plaintiff, 11 12 13 ORDER SUA SPONTE REMANDING ACTION TO STATE COURT v. SEAN DOMINGUEZ, PAIGE DOMINGUEZ and DOES 1 to 10, inclusive, 14 15 Defendants. 16 17 On July 10, 2017, Defendants Sean Dominguez and Paige Dominguez 18 (“Defendants”), proceeding pro se, filed a notice of removal of this unlawful detainer 19 action from the Superior Court of the State of California for San Diego County. Based 20 on the reasoning below, the Court sua sponte REMANDS the action to state court for 21 lack of subject matter jurisdiction. 22 Discussion 23 “Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. 24 Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). “It is to be presumed that a cause lies outside this 25 limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party 26 asserting jurisdiction.” Id. It is well-established that a federal court cannot reach the 27 merits of any dispute until it confirms that it retains subject matter jurisdiction to 28 adjudicate the issues presented. Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Environ., 523 U.S. 83, 1 17-cv-1389-GPC(KSC) 1 94-95 (1988). Accordingly, federal courts are under a continuing duty to confirm their 2 jurisdictional power and are “obliged to inquire sua sponte whenever a doubt arises as to 3 [its] existence . . . .” Mt. Healthy City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 4 278 (1977) (citations omitted). 5 Federal subject matter jurisdiction may be based on (1) federal question 6 jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331; and (2) diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 7 1332. Here, Defendants assert federal question jurisdiction. For an action to be removed 8 on the basis of federal question jurisdiction, the complaint must establish either that 9 federal law creates the cause of action or that the plaintiff’s right to relief necessarily 10 depends on the resolution of substantial questions of federal law. Franchise Tax Bd. of 11 Cal. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation Trust for S. Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 10-11 (1983). The 12 presence or absence of federal question jurisdiction “is governed by the ‘well-pleaded 13 complaint rule,’ which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal 14 question is presented on the face of plaintiff’s properly pleaded complaint.” Caterpillar 15 Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). It is well settled that a “case may not be 16 removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense . . . even if the defense is 17 anticipated in the plaintiff's complaint, and even if both parties concede that the federal 18 defense is the only question truly at issue.” Id. at 393. 19 A review of the state court complaint in this case shows that Plaintiff Mission 20 Capital Properties, Inc. (“Plaintiff”) alleges a single cause of action for unlawful detainer 21 under California state law. In the notice of removal, Defendants argue that a federal 22 statute, Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure (“PTFA”)1, applies to their case and thus, 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 states that: . . . . In the case of any foreclosure on a federally-related mortgage loan or on any dwelling or residential real property after the date of enactment of this title, any immediate successor in interest in such property pursuant to the foreclosure shall assume such interest subject to— 2 17-cv-1389-GPC(KSC) 1 2 provides the Court with federal question jurisdiction. Foremost, “the PTFA expired on December 31, 2014.” Fairview Tasman LLC v. 3 Young, Case No. 15cv5493-LHK, 2016 WL 199060, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 18, 2016) 4 (citing Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Pub. L. No. 111- 5 203, 124 Stat. 1376, 2204 (2010) (setting date of expiration)); see also Franks v. Franks, 6 Case No. 17cv893-CAB-AGS, 2017 WL 1735169, at *2 (S.D. Cal. May 4, 2017). Here, 7 the unlawful detainer action was filed on March 9, 2017, and there is no indication that 8 any of the facts constituting the unlawful detainer action occurred prior to December 31, 9 2014. In fact, Plaintiff became the owner of the subject property on March 1, 2017, after 10 the PTFA expired. (See Dkt. No. 1 at 9.2) However, even if the PTFA applied, 11 Defendants’ argument is still without merit. 12 The PTFA does not create a cause of action for a tenant. Logan v. U.S. Bank Nat’l 13 Ass'n, 722 F.3d 1163, 1169 (9th Cir. 2013). In Logan, the court analyzed the 14 Congressional record to determine that Congress showed no implicit or explicit intent to 15 create a cause of action under the PTFA. Id; see also Nativi v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l 16 Trust Co., No. 09-06096 PVT, 2010 WL 2179885 (N.D. Cal. May 26, 2010). The Ninth 17 Circuit held that the PTFA neither explicitly nor implicitly creates a cause of action, but 18 19 20 (1) the provision, by such successor in interest of a notice to vacate to any bona fide tenant at least 90 days before the effective date of such notice; and 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 (2) the rights of any bona fide tenant, as of the date of each notice of foreclosure— (B) without a lease or with a lease terminable at will under state law, subject to the receipt by the tenant of the 90 day notice under subsection (1)[.] See Pub. L. No. 111– 22, § 702, 123 Stat. 1632, 1660-61 (2009). The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act was enacted to provide certain protections to tenants of foreclosed properties, including the right to live on the foreclosed property for the duration of the lease and the right to receive a 90 day notice to vacate. Nativi v. Deutsche Bank Nat. Trust Co., No. 09-06096 PVT, 2010 WL 2179885, at *3 (N.D. Cal. May 26, 2010) (holding that the PTFA does not create a private right of action but rather created protections for tenants in state court proceedings.). 2 Page numbers are based on the CM/ECF pagination. 3 17-cv-1389-GPC(KSC) 1 instead explained that the PTFA is a defense in California state eviction proceedings. 2 Logan, 722 F.3d at 1173. Therefore, the PTFA does not create a cause of action that 3 could have originally been brought in federal court, and as a defense, it is insufficient to 4 confer subject matter jurisdiction. See Caterpillar Inc., 482 U.S. at 393 (“a case may not 5 be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense”). 6 7 Thus, Defendants’ assertion of federal subject matter jurisdiction is without merit and Plaintiff’s state law unlawful detainer claim is not removable. 8 9 10 11 12 13 Conclusion Based on the above, the Court sua sponte REMANDS the action to the Superior Court of the State of California for San Diego County. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: July 12, 2017 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4 17-cv-1389-GPC(KSC)

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