Rocks in the Bay LLC v. Camden et al

Filing 7

ORDER granting plaintiff's 4 Motion to Remand; denying as moot 6 Report and Recommendations. Plaintiff awarded $1,284.95 in attorney fees; Per LCR 3(h), case will be remanded 14 days from date of this Order, on 5/25/2017 by U.S. District Judge John C Coughenour.(RS) cc defendants

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THE HONORABLE JOHN C. COUGHENOUR 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 7 8 9 ROCKS IN THE BAY L.L.C., 10 Plaintiff, v. 11 12 ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO REMAND CHERIE V. CAMDEN, et al., 13 CASE NO. C17-0418-JCC Defendants. 14 15 This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Rocks in the Bay L.L.C.’s motion to 16 remand (Dkt. No. 4). Having thoroughly considered the parties’ briefing and the relevant record, 17 the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the motion for the reasons 18 explained herein. 19 On February 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed this unlawful detainer action against Defendants 20 Cherie V. Camden, Joseph A. Camden, and all other occupants of the property at issue in King 21 County Superior Court. (Dkt. No. 1-2.) Defendants removed the action to federal court on March 22 17, 2017, asserting this Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 23 § 1441(a), § 1441(b), and 12 U.S.C. § 5220. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at 2.) Plaintiff asks this Court to 24 remand the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (See generally Dkt. No. 4.) Plaintiff also 25 asks this Court to authorize attorney fees in the amount of $1,284.95 for the 5.1 hours expended 26 in bringing this motion. (Dkt. No. 5 at 2; Dkt. No. 5-1 at 4.) ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO REMAND PAGE - 1 1 Once removed, a case can be remanded back to state court for either improper removal 2 procedure or lack of subject matter jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). The Court has subject 3 matter jurisdiction where the matter (1) arises under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the 4 United States, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, or (2) has an amount in controversy exceeding $75,000 and 5 there is complete diversity between the parties, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Subject matter jurisdiction 6 arises from a plaintiff’s complaint; this Court does not have federal question jurisdiction where 7 the only federal issues are federal defenses raised by the defendant. Merrell Dow Pharm. Inc. v. 8 Thompson, 478 U.S. 804, 808 (1986); Provincial Gov’t of Marinduque v. Placer Dome, Inc., 582 9 F.3d 1083, 1086 (9th Cir. 2009). 10 This Court concludes that removal is improper because it lacks subject matter jurisdiction 11 over this matter. Diversity jurisdiction does not exist because the parties are not completely 12 diverse—both parties are residents of Washington State. (Dkt. No. 1 ¶¶ 1–2.) Moreover, 13 Defendants incorrectly assert federal question jurisdiction. Plaintiff’s complaint asserts two 14 claims: unlawful detainer and forceful detainer. Each claim arises under Washington state law, 15 not under “the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States,” and as such, federal question 16 jurisdiction is not present. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. 17 Defendants also inaccurately assert this Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 12 18 U.S.C. § 5220, the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (PFTA). PFTA merely 19 provides a defense to eviction claims. See Logan v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 772 F.3d 1163, 1164 20 (9th Cir. 2013). As noted above, a federal defense cannot confer federal jurisdiction; thus this 21 Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear this case under PFTA. See Merrell Dow 22 Pharm. Inc., 478 U.S. at 808; Provincial Gov’t of Marinduque, 582 F.3d at 1086. 23 Concerning fees, attorney fees are recoverable pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) where the 24 removing party “lacked an objectively reasonable basis for seeking removal.” Martin v. Franklin 25 Capitol Corp., 546 U.S. 132, 141 (2005). Here, removal was improper because this Court lacks 26 subject matter jurisdiction on the face of the complaint. Therefore, the Court GRANTS ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO REMAND PAGE - 2 1 Plaintiff’s request for $1,284.95 for attorney fees. (Dkt. No. 5-1 at 4–5.) 2 For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s motion to remand (Dkt. No. 4) is GRANTED. 3 Plaintiff is AWARDED $1,284.95 for attorney fees incurred in preparation of its motion to 4 remand. Further, Judge Tsuchida’s Report and Recommendation (Dkt. No. 6) is DENIED as 5 moot. 6 7 DATED this 11th day of May 2017. A 8 9 10 John C. Coughenour UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO REMAND PAGE - 3

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