RUTTER v. WRIGHT et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER granting application by Deft to proceed IFP; ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to file the Notice of Removal without prepayment of the filing fee; ORDERED that this case shall be REMANDED to the Superior court of New Jersey, Gloucester County for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, etc. Signed by Judge Renee Marie Bumb on 6/29/2015. (dmr)(n.m.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civil No. 15-cv-4418 (RMB/KMW)
On June 25, 2015, Defendant, Richard Wright, (the
“Defendant”) removed the above-captioned action to this Court,
relying upon federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
Defendant also filed an Application to Proceed Without
Prepayment of Fees.
While Defendant’s form appears to lack some
of the information typically supplied, based on his affidavit of
indigence, the Court will grant this application pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a) and order the Clerk of the Court to open this
matter and file the Notice of Removal.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court must
preliminarily screen in forma pauperis filings and must dismiss
any filing that is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
the Notice of Removal, [Docket No. 1], the Defendant contends
that “Plaintiff’s right to relief necessarily depends on
resolution of a substantial question of Federal Law.”
No. 1 at ¶7].
Defendant further avers that “[t]he Federal Cause
of Action in ejectment/eviction is the basis for this action . .
[Id. at ¶11].
The underlying state court Complaint (the “Complaint”) is a
landlord/tenant dispute related to nonpayment.
[Id. at 1-2].
There is no mention of any federal law whatsoever, and the
underlying claim clearly relates to a purely state law matter –
i.e., a landlord/tenant dispute for nonpayment. Eubanks v. YWCA,
No. 13- 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126852, at *21 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 7,
2013)(“It is well settled law that federal courts typically
‘[lack] subject matter jurisdiction over state eviction actions
or other landlord-tenant matters.’" (quoting Senior v.
University Towers Associates, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18274, 2008
WL 649713, *3 (E.D.N.Y. March 10, 2008)).
states that he feels like he is being discriminated against
based on his race by his landlord, there is no indication that
the landlord is a state actor as would be required to impose
liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
See Graham v. Rawley, No. 14-
6743, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76084, at *8 (D.N.J. June 11,
2015)(discussing necessity of state action to impose § 1983
“[S]ubject matter jurisdiction cannot be waived or
consented to, and ‘subject-matter delineations must be policed
by the courts on their own initiative. . . .’”
Careone, No. 13-3992, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164964, at * 4
(D.N.J. Nov. 19, 2013)(quoting Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co.,
526 U.S. 574, 583 (1999)).
“[T]he party asserting federal
jurisdiction in a removal case bears the burden of showing, at
all stages of the litigation, that the case is properly before
the federal court.”
(3d Cir. 2007).
Frederico v. Home Depot, 507 F.3d 188, 193
Moreover, “[b]ecause lack of jurisdiction would
make any decree in the case void and the continuation of the
litigation in federal court futile, the removal statute should
be strictly construed and all doubts should be resolved in favor
Abels v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 770 F.2d 26,
29 (3d Cir. 1985) (internal citations omitted); see also Steel
Valley Authority v. Union Switch & Signal Div., 809 F.2d 1006,
1010 (3d Cir. 1987) (“It is settled that the removal statutes
are to be strictly construed against removal and all doubts
should be resolved in favor of remand.”) (citing Abels).
A district court has original jurisdiction over cases that
"arise under" federal law.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 1441(a).
Pursuant to the "well-pleaded complaint" rule, a plaintiff
ordinarily may remain in state court so long as his or her
complaint does not allege a federal claim on its face.
Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Contr. Laborers Vac. Tr. for S.
Ca., 463 U.S. 1, 10 (1983).
Moreover, to establish “arising
under” jurisdiction, “the federal law must be in the forefront
of the case and not collateral, peripheral, or remote.”
v. Univ. of Medicine and Dentistry, 605 F. Supp. 2d 624, 627
Federal jurisdiction cannot be established by a
federal defense or by challenging the merits of a claim. See
Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392, (1987).
In the instant matter, Plaintiff’s Complaint only mentions
a landlord/tenant dispute for nonpayment.
This is clearly
insufficient to confer jurisdiction and, as it appears that both
Plaintiff and Defendant are citizens of New Jersey, there is no
basis for diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Therefore, this Court finds that this matter does not contain
claims arising under federal law and, as such, remand is proper.
ACCORDINGLY, IT IS on this, the 29th day of June 2015,
ORDERED that, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), the
application by Defendant to proceed in forma pauperis is
GRANTED; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court is directed to file the
Notice of Removal without prepayment of the filing fee; and it
ORDERED that this case shall be REMANDED to the Superior
Court of New Jersey, Gloucester County for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction; and it is further
ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court shall CLOSE this file
in this matter.
s/Renée Marie Bumb
RENÉE MARIE BUMB
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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