COUNTRY LAKE TOWNHOMES v. CARTWRIGHT
Entry Granting Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperisand Remanding Action to State Court - 2 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis is granted. This action is dismissed without prejudice in this Court and the matter remanded to th e state court. As required by 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), the Clerk shall mail a certified copy of this remand order to the Clerk of the Warren Township of Marion County Small Claims Court. See entry for details. Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 10/25/2017. (Copy mailed to Defendant and Warren Township of Marion County Small Claims Court) (MEJ)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
COUNTRY LAKE TOWNHOMES,
Entry Granting Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
and Remanding Action to State Court
I. Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
The defendant’s request to proceed in forma pauperis, dkt.  is granted. No payment
of a fee is required at this time. Notwithstanding the foregoing ruling, the plaintiff should be
aware that he owes the filing fee. “All [28 U.S.C.] § 1915 has ever done is excuse pre-payment
of the docket fees; a litigant remains liable for them, and for other costs, although poverty may
make collection impossible.” Abdul-Wadood v. Nathan, 91 F.3d 1023, 1025 (7th Cir. 1996).
II. Propriety of Removal
This action began as a state court eviction and late rent proceeding in Marion County,
Indiana, on September 21, 2017. The state court complaint sought possession of the apartment
and damages for accrued rent. There is no federal claim contained in or implicated in the
complaint or other state court papers submitted with defendant’s removal documents. Dkt. -2.
In his notice of removal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, defendant asserts federal question
jurisdiction because the plaintiff’s right to relief depends on the resolution of a substantial
question of federal law. The defendant states that he is a member of a protected class under the
Civil Rights Act of 1968.
Removal is improper because there is no federal question present and no diversity of
citizenship alleged. “[A]ny civil action brought in a State court of which the district courts of the
United States have original jurisdiction, may be removed . . . to the district court of the United
States . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). The federal courts have no original jurisdiction of state court
landlord-tenant disputes, eviction actions, or rent contract questions. Defendant’s bare assertions
that he is a member of a protected class does not convert an ordinary eviction action into a
federal question simply because the tenant is in a protected class.
“The party seeking removal has the burden of establishing federal jurisdiction, and
federal courts should interpret the removal statute narrowly, resolving any doubt in favor of the
plaintiff’s choice of forum in state court.” Schur v. L.A. Weight Loss Ctrs., Inc., 577 F.3d 752,
758 (7th Cir. 2009). A defendant meets this burden by supporting his jurisdictional allegations
with “competent proof,” which “requires the defendant to offer evidence which proves to a
reasonable probability that jurisdiction exists.” Chase v. Shop ‘N Save Warehouse Foods, Inc.,
110 F.3d 424, 427 (7th Cir. 1997) (internal quotation and citations omitted). Defendant
Cartwright has not met this burden, and this action must be dismissed and the matter remanded
to state court.
Accordingly, this action is dismissed. A final judgment shall enter.
III. Order to Remand
This action is dismissed without prejudice in this Court and the matter remanded to the
state court. As required by 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), the Clerk shall mail a certified copy of this
remand order to the Clerk of the Warren Township of Marion County Small Claims Court.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
2742-A White Knight Bl. 070
Indianapolis, IN 46229
All electronically registered counsel
Warren Township of Marion County
Small Claims Court
501 N. Post Road
Indianapolis, IN 46219
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