Full House Investment Properties LLC v. Vician
Memorandum of Opinion and Order Because the Court does not have jurisdiction over the matter, this action is remanded to the Struthers Municipal Court. As the Court has lacked subject-matter jurisdiction from the date of removal, the Court also lacks the jurisdiction to consider the pending Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis. ECF No. 2 . Judge Benita Y. Pearson on 3/3/2017. (JLG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
FULL HOUSE INVESTMENT
CASE NO. 4:17CV387
JUDGE BENITA Y. PEARSON
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND
ORDER [Resolving ECF No. 2]
Plaintiff Full House Investment Properties, LLC brought this eviction action against pro
se Defendant Paul Vician in Struthers Municipal Court. ECF No. 1-1. Defendant removed the
case to federal court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction because the “[p]leadings
intentionally fail[ed] to allege compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1968.” ECF No. 1 at
PageID #: 2, ¶ 6. He contends that the resolution of his eviction necessarily depends on the
resolution of a substantial question of federal law. Id. at PageID #: 2, ¶ 7. Defendant does not
argue that the Court has diversity jurisdiction, nor is there any evidence that the Court has such
A defendant may remove “any civil action brought in a state court of which the district
courts of the United States have original jurisdiction.” 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). District courts have
original jurisdiction over civil actions that arise under federal law, see 28 U.S.C. § 1331, or that
involve parties of diverse citizenship and exceed $75,000 in controversy, see 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
The party seeking removal bears the burden of demonstrating that the district court has original
jurisdiction. Williamson v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 481 F.3d 369, 375 (6th Cir. 2007). “[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 resolved in
favor of remand.” Eastman v. Marine Mech. Corp., 438 F.3d 544, 549–50 (6th Cir. 2006)
(alteration in original) (quoting Brown v. Francis, 75 F.3d 860, 864–65 (3d Cir. 1996)).
Federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 is present only when a federal
question appears “on the face of the plaintiff’s properly pleaded Complaint.” Caterpillar Inc. v.
Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). Federal counterclaims and defenses are “inadequate to
confer federal jurisdiction,” and do not provide a basis for removal. Beneficial Nat’l Bank v.
Anderson, 539 U.S. 1, 6 (2003) (“To determine whether the claim arises under federal law, we
examine the “well pleaded” allegations of the complaint and ignore potential defenses . . . .”); see
also Holmes Grp., Inc. v. Vornado Air Circulation Sys., Inc., 535 U.S. 826, 831–32 (2002)
(finding that, pursuant to the well-pleaded-complaint rule, a counterclaim cannot serve as the
basis for a federal court’s “arising under” jurisdiction).
Removal of this eviction action to federal court is not proper. Plaintiff’s eviction claim
relies exclusively upon state law and does not contain a federal cause of action. ECF No. 1-1;
see Ohio Rev. Code § 1923 et seq.. Evictions do not necessitate the resolution of an “actually
disputed and substantial” federal question. See Chase Manhattan Mortg. Corp. v. Smith, 507
F.3d 910, 914 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Grable & Sons Metal Products, Inc. v. Darue Eng’g &
Mfg., 545 U.S. 308, 314 (2005)). Although Defendant attempts to characterize the eviction as a
violation of his federal civil rights, a civil rights violation would be either a defense to the
Complaint or a counterclaim, neither of which would provide a basis for removal. Holmes
Group, Inc., 535 U.S. at 831. Nor has Defendant demonstrated that Plaintiff artfully pleaded its
Complaint to avoid federal jurisdiction. See Mikulski v. Centerior Energy Corp., 501 F.3d 555,
563 (6th Cir. 2007) (en banc) (finding no artful pleading when plaintiffs would not have had a
federal, statutory cause of action).
Because the Court does not have jurisdiction over the matter, this action is remanded to
the Struthers Municipal Court. As the Court has lacked subject-matter jurisdiction from the date
of removal, the Court also lacks the jurisdiction to consider the pending Motion to Proceed in
forma pauperis. ECF No. 2.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
March 3, 2017
/s/ Benita Y. Pearson
Benita Y. Pearson
United States District Judge
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